Hey Gang! Another entry here:
There was an interesting study published in Martin Seligman's book Authentic Happiness (2002). Seligman, along with his colleague Jeffy Levy, conducted a study looking at ways of enhancing happiness at the University of Pennsylvania. They took a group (n=50) of severely depressed individuals -- those who were diagnosed on the extreme end of depression (mild, moderate or extreme). At the end of the experiment, 94% of the participants experienced relief, with their diagnoses changing from extreme to either mild or moderate depression.
Here's the catch: the study on lasted for only 15 days and he only taught them one simple happiness-enhancing exercise. He instructed each of them to log onto a website where they would recall and write down three positive things that happened to them that day. That's it! Examples could be "Went to lunch with Mark today" or "Someone held the door open for me."
Relief was found by simply remembering three positive things. No psycho-babble or freudian analysis. And Seligman hypothesized that these increases in happiness could benefit anyone, not just depressed individuals! So, if you are in need of a pick up, try remembering three positive things a day for 2 week and see what happens.