Have you ever played the game Tetris for long periods of time?  If so, it’s possible you’ve experienced what is known as the Tetris Effect.  In studies where gamers were asked to play the game Tetris for hours on end, they started seeing shapes everywhere, both in their sleep and while awake.

This will be my last post on Shawn Achor’s book, The Happiness Advantage, so I wanted to share with you my favorite happiness strategy from the book.  Our brains get easily stuck in patterns of viewing the world, and what we look for, we find.

If we get stuck in the pattern of looking for the negative (like accountants proofreading for errors or attorneys finding flawed logic in arguments), we get stuck in that pattern, always looking for and picking up on the negative.  Interestingly both accountants and attorneys have been found to have higher rates of depression because of their inherent need to focus on the negative.  Basically, the more we look for the negative, the more we miss out on the positive.

The good news?  You can train your brain to scan for the positives and see those as well.

Try this.  Watch this video before you continue reading.

Ok, now that you’ve watched the video, did you see the moonwalking bear the first time?  If you’re like 46% of people that were studied who watched the video, you didn’t.  Why?  You were scanning for the number of passes and not focused on the bear.

Our brain scans our environment much the same way.  It is a phenomenon known as inattentional blindness, our inability to see what is often right in front of us if we’re not focusing directly on it.

So what can you do to find the positives?  Look for them.  Every night at dinner in our family, we go around the table and share at least 3 things we are grateful for or that happened good during the day.  Research has proven keeping a gratitude journal or thinking of 3 good things that happened each day forces you to scan for the positives.

Those that did this repeatedly for a week were found to be happier, more grateful, and had higher levels of optimism than those that didn’t, even after they stopped the exercise.

Achor explains that the easiest way to do this is to start making a daily list of the good things in your job, with your friends and family, and your life.

So this week, start looking for positives.  Write them down, share them, or just focus on them and watch what happens!

Don’t forget to Like us on Facebook and share your happiness strategies!


  1. Great post! Makes a lot of sense. I will do my best to remember to do this every night and possible, it will give me a good feeling to sleep easier. Thank you for sharing the video.

  2. Hey – the good news – I got the correct # of passes the first time I watched it. The not as good news – I had to watch it 3 times to catch the other item mentioned. 3 times! not 2 – 3! Aye yie yie!
    I keep a gratitude journal and will vouch that it makes you look for the positive! 🙂

    • Hi Tracy,

      Great to hear from you! I had to watch it a few times too 😉 Glad the gratitude journal is working! Thanks for taking the time to comment 🙂

  3. Who knew I could miss a moon walking bear just because I was counting passes from the team in white. You wouldn’t think that was possible even if it wasn’t a real bear you would think our survival instincts would take over even if he didn’t look threatening. No wonder cops have such a hard time finding good witnesses, whatever kind of event it was.
    Great suggestion to find at least three positive things each day, it would be a great way to improve our attitudes. I think one of the Disney movies had a song about looking for the positive. Thank you Anne.

  4. Wow! I totlally missed that one. I am so surprised that I was able to count and get that right though. What is funny is I know positive thinking will make me happier, but have trouble with that sometimes. I’m getting better at it. Now if I could just get my husband (the cop) to do the same. LOL

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