Hunting for the good stuff

By nature, we notice what is wrong more frequently than what is right; this is called negativity bias. It takes specific intentionality to notice what did not go wrong today.

In the military’s resiliency training, there is an exercise “Hunting the good stuff” with the objective of learning to recognize positive things that happen throughout your day on a regular basis. This helps you create positive emotions, optimism, hope and resilience, and overall better physical health and greater life satisfaction.

1. Identify three things that went well during your day. Or at the very least things that did not go wrong today. They can be big or even very small (beautiful sunset, a few quiet minutes with a refreshing glass of lemonade, closing a fantastic deal).

2. Write them down (it is better to write than type).

3. Reflect on why each of those happened – what your role was, what environment you were in, who was with you, your mood when it happened. Also think about what each of those mean to you. Lastly, think about what you can do tomorrow and, in the future, to enable more of that good thing.

Make this a nightly ritual. As possible, share your three things and your reflections with your spouse. Together, try to make those good things happen again and frequently.

The theory is that it takes three positive experiences to counteract one negative. It is not enough to have had those positive experiences, you must actually notice them and be grateful for them.

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