I’ve written many posts about scientific studies, supplements, and other information relating to bone health, but relatively few posts deal with the psychological aspects of building bone.
This doesn’t mean that “bone psychology” is invalid or irrelevant; it’s just that there have been few studies actually conducted on this topic.
But today I have breakthrough information on this that is simply amazing. It has to do with positive psychotherapy (PPT), which in contrast to standard therapy, focuses on positive emotions instead of negative emotions.
Recent research has shown that positive psychotherapy can have a profound effect on your mood and your sense of well-being. By extension, it can also have a significant effect on your bone health, since bone density loss can be triggered by stress and depression.
What’s so astounding is that all it takes is a simple and quick do-it-yourself procedure that anyone can do. It’s called Three Blessings, and it’s been scientifically proven to work.
The best part is that it only takes five minutes, so it’s perfect for extremely busy times of the year such as the holiday season. I’ve been doing this myself for the past couple of weeks, and I can tell you that it’s incredibly helpful.
So I’m truly thrilled to share this information with you today.
The Science of Happiness: Why Three Blessings Works
Researchers were astonished when they discovered how well this mental exercise works. In a 2006 study published in American Psychologist, many of the participants described the effect of positive psychotherapy exercises, which included the Three Blessings, as “life-changing.” 1
Dr. Martin Seligman, who spearheaded this study, is a professor of psychology at the University of Pennsylvania. He holds multiple PhDs, and is highly respected among academics and scientists. In 2006, his focus shifted to promoting Positive Psychology, and that same year he conducted the randomly-assigned, placebo-controlled study referred to above. His research showed just how effective certain positive psychotherapy (PPT) exercises are.
This is how the study was set up: 500 thoroughly-tested participants received interventions for mild to moderate depression for one week: three PPT exercises or three placebo exercises. All three PPT exercises worked well, and among them was the Three Blessings exercise.
In an interview describing the study, Dr. Seligman remarked, “I do not think I ever heard the word ‘life-changing’ more often in my 40 years of teaching.” 2
The Three Blessings Exercise in Just Three Simple Steps
This is so simple that you may wonder how it can possibly work. But experience and science tell us that it’s highly effective at relieving depression and stress, both of which are bad for your bones.
Just follow these easy steps:
- In the evening, take a moment to think about your day.
- Find the three most positive things that occurred that day that made you feel happy. They do not have to be big things – maybe someone smiled at you or gave you a compliment. (Of course, big things count too!)
- Write the three things down.
These are the instructions to practice the Three Blessings, and no doubt you’ll find them if you just take a few minutes to reflect.
A Happier, More Relaxed You Means You’ll Have Healthier and Stronger Bones
In the Osteoporosis Reversal Program, I write about the negative effects of cortisol – the “stress hormone” – on your bones. Research has shown that the higher the cortisol levels, the lower the bone density.
So promoting happiness and less stress in your life is a perfect holiday “gift” for your bones. That’s why I want to share the Three Blessings exercise with you today.
I encourage you to take five minutes in the evening to reflect on your three blessings…and who knows? You may find far more than three!
Wishing you a warm and happy holiday season, and a Merry Christmas!
1 Seligman, Martin E. P., Rashid, Tayyab, and Parks, Acacia C. “Positive Psychotherapy.” American Psychologist. November 2006. http://www.ppc.sas.upenn.edu/positivepsychotherapyarticle.pdf
2 Seligman, Martin. “Staying happier for longer.” BBC News. May 9, 2006. Web. http://news.bbc.co.uk/2/hi/programmes/happiness_formula/4903464.stm