Here's How to Boost Your Daily Happiness in Only 3 Minutes
Use this research-backed ritual to boost your happiness today.
Alison DeNisco RayomeManaging Editor
Managing Editor Alison DeNisco Rayome joined CNET in 2019, and is a member of the Home team. She is a co-lead of the CNET Tips and We Do the Math series, and manages the Home Tips series, testing out new hacks for cooking, cleaning and tinkering with all of the gadgets and appliances in your house. Alison was previously an editor at TechRepublic.
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National Silver Azbee Award for Impact/Investigative Journalism; National Gold Azbee Award for Online Single Topic Coverage by a Team; National Bronze Azbee Award for Web Feature Series
What if I told you that elevating your happiness only takes three minutes of your day? And it doesn't require a meditation app or buying anything at all.
A common misconception about happiness is that it's fixed and we can't change it. In reality, at least part of it is within your control. Sure, your circumstances (your job, your health, your family and your material possessions) matter, but not as much as you may think. Several science-backed methods can help you boost your own feelings of contentment. (If you have clinical anxiety or depression, these aren't a replacement for professional help, though research suggests they can be a beneficial supplement.)
Here's one of the easiest ways to make yourself happier in just a few minutes a day.
Write down 3 things you're grateful for
It's that easy.
Writing down three good things that happened to you -- and why those things happened -- at the end of each day leads to long-term increases in happiness and decreases in depressive symptoms, according to a 2005 study from Martin Seligman, director of the Positive Psychology Center at the University of Pennsylvania.
The things you write down can be major, simple or somewhere in the middle -- whether you got a job promotion or just saw a cute dog on your walk. You can write them on a piece of paper, in a note-taking app, in a journal or wherever you like.
Your list might look something like this: "Finished a project at work, because I worked hard on it. Had a nice conversation on the phone with a friend, because she called me. Went for a walk and saw some beautiful flowers, because it was a nice day."
In the 2005 study, participants who were assigned to write down three good things and their causes each night started to see beneficial effects quickly. After one month, they reported feeling happier and less depressed than when they started, and they stayed that way through follow-ups at three months and six months, when the study concluded.
The information contained in this article is for educational and informational purposes only and is not intended as health or medical advice. Always consult a physician or other qualified health provider regarding any questions you may have about a medical condition or health objectives.