The majority of the studies I have shared with you over the past few weeks have been conducted in Western countries, especially the United States. This week, we will explore interventions and research from other regions and countries.
Like many subfields of psychology, positive psychology research has historically been dominated by findings from WEIRD (Western Educated Industrialized Rich Democratic) countries. However, non-Western countries were among the earliest to recognize the importance of understanding and promoting well-being. For example, in 1972, the King of Bhutan committed to promoting “Gross National Happiness,” which led to the development of the “Gross National Happiness Index” and policies that enhance the well-being of the Bhutanese population.
Today’s exercise integrates the first well-being activity I shared with you, Three Good Things, with Naikan meditation – a Japanese reflective practice build around three key questions:
- What have I received?
- What have I given?
- What troubles and difficulties have I caused?
Although these exercises might not be sufficient to change Gross National Happiness, I hope you are finding that they help your personal well-being! I look forward to sharing more of them with you later this week.
Adapted from Chan (2010)
There are many things, both large and small, that happen to you each day. At the end of the day, think back over the past week and write down up to three things you are grateful or thankful for. Set aside at least 15 minutes to think about why these good things happen to you. Specifically, reflect on each of the three good things by asking yourself three questions.
What did I receive?
What did I give?
What more could I do?
Stay with the feeling of appreciation and gratitude.
Chan, D. W. (2010). Gratitude, gratitude intervention and subjective well-being among Chinese school teachers in Hong Kong. Educational Psychology, 30(2), 139-153. https://doi.org/10.1080/01443410903493934
Abstract: This study assessed the dispositional gratitude and its relationships with orientations to happiness and burnout in a sample of 96 Chinese school teachers in Hong Kong and investigated the effectiveness of an eight‐week gratitude intervention programme using a pre‐test/post‐test design with outcome measures of subjective well‐being in the same sample of teachers. The results indicated that the dispositional gratitude of teachers correlated substantially and positively with a meaningful life orientation to happiness and with personal accomplishment, and correlated substantially and negatively with the two negative components of burnout: emotional exhaustion and depersonalisation. The effects of the gratitude intervention were evident in the increase in scores on satisfaction with life and on positive affect, especially for teachers in the low‐gratitude group. Implications of the findings on the relationships between gratitude and burnout and the effectiveness of gratitude intervention for teachers of different levels of dispositional gratitude are discussed.