Appreciating the (3) good things

Internet Connection By Ashley Pugh, PharmD, BCACP

How do you reflect on all the good that happens in your daily life?

Improving mental health among professionals through burnout prevention is a current hot topic in the pharmacy profession. I appreciate the efforts of APhA and other professional organizations in facilitating conversations regarding the issue. I think New Practitioners can be particularly susceptible to experiencing professional burnout due to balancing many professional and personal life changes that occur early in their careers. I have heard New Practitioner colleagues articulate how self-perceived pressure to be involved in and do everything in the years immediately following graduation can sometimes lead to professional exhaustion, as they learn to balance multiple new professional opportunities during this period.

At Day of NP LIFE 2018, New Practitioner Advisory Committee Chair Sara Wettergreen led an excellent session on burnout prevention. During her session, she shared a variety of strategies for stress reduction, time management, and improving mental resiliency. At the end of her session, she challenged attendees to commit to a personal action plan of selecting at least one strategy for burnout prevention. One of the stress reduction strategies she discussed included employing the “3 Good Things” method of positive thinking.

The 3 Good Things method encourages individuals to positively reflect at the end of each day and focus on three good things that occurred during the day. The positive things can be related to any aspect of a person’s day. While I was previously familiar with the 3 Good Things reflection strategy, I learned during her session that there is an app for that! The availability of the user-friendly app led me to accept Sara’s challenge and select using the 3 Good Things app as my personal stress reduction strategy.

“What went well today?”
Upon download, the 3 Good Things app is encouraging at first look. The app’s icon is actually a smiley face; therefore, simply seeing the smiling face on one’s home screen can be encouraging. The app itself is very easy to use. The current day’s log is displayed once the app is opened. The user is immediately met by the question, “What went well today?,” followed by three boxes to journal three positive things. Journaling three good things via this app takes only a couple of minutes on average, and I appreciate the intentional method of reflecting on and documenting positive things.

Another great feature of the app is the availability to review one’s history of positive things. From one screen, you can easily scroll through all good things documented in the past week, month, year, or all time. I have found briefly reviewing this history to be such a positive reminder of multiple great things that happen that I might otherwise forget because they feel small at the time. The app also allows the user to receive daily reminder notifications to log one’s three good things.

Time for self-reflection
I would encourage you to also consider using the 3 Good Things app to positively reflect on the good that is happening in your life. Many pharmacists tend to be very task-oriented while also striving to care well for those around them. This drive to take care of those around you while also accomplishing everything on to-do lists can sometimes leave little time for personal reflection. I found this app to be an excellent way to easily document daily good things.