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October 4, 2013
by Dr. Anthony Centore, Ph.D.

How a Prosperity List Can Improve Your Mental Health

October 4, 2013 04:55 by Dr. Anthony Centore, Ph.D.

Do you have difficulty finding the positives in life? I've talked to plenty of clients who will come in and admit that it's not always comfortable for them to reflect on their own achievements. This happens when we find ourselves dwelling on the negatives of life as we go through our days. 

Now, you may be thinking you have little to worry about, but researchers assure us that at least 26% of Americans will suffer from a mental disorder, such as depression, every year. These things don't happen overnight, however, and there are preventative measures you can take.

A possible solution to this phenomenon is to start creating what I call Prosperity List. It is my contention that this strategy will help you start thriving in every area of your life. So, what is it?

A Prosperity List is your personal inventory of everything positive that happened to you this week, both trivial and significant. To make one, simply acknowledge these things each day and keep track of them. Write them down in a journal or small notepad and review them at the end of the week.

This simple, but therapeutic exercise helps trick your brain into thinking more positively. When you are filling your mind with genuinely happy occurrences that relate to your job, family or friends, you're naturally becoming happier. 

Okay, so what if you're uncertain that enough good things will happen to you this week? To ensure that your list is full and bulging by Friday, record the good that is happening to others, as well. Recognize the achievements of your friends and appreciate the positives that are benefiting them alongside you. Start admiring other people and give them credit where it's due.

Why does this work? On the surface, you may be inclined to believe this won't make much of a difference in your life. What you need to remember, however, is how fleeting good thoughts can be compared to worrisome ones. We often hang on to the bad longer and let it sink in. Conversely, a good thing that happens to us is typically forgotten within a day. The point of this list is to ensure that this happens the other way around.

Maybe you're fortunate enough to have so many good things happening to you that you can't keep track! If this is the case, focus on the events and stories that affected you the most. What thought or inspiration really made you smile today? Don't just write down what happened. You should also write down what you were thinking and how it made you feel.

It is my hope that some of you will make this list for the first time and realize that more good happens in your life than not. There's value even in the little things that put a smile on your face, and that's reason enough to save these moments for later. 

If you're unsure of what will work well for your list, consider these options:

  • You went on a run or walk today, and you felt amazing afterward.
  • You had time to spend with your friends today.
  • You heard a hilarious story that really made you laugh.
  • A deadline you were about to miss for work was extended.
  • A random person lended you a compliment.
  • You told someone you love them, and they said the same thing in return.

The sky is the limit when it comes to your Prosperity List! Practice this in a way that is unique to your personality and temperament. You may even want to experiment with different methods of writing everything down. Someone I know who tried this actually wrote their moments down on slips of paper and put them in a jar. He then began to draw the slips from the jar routinely. 

If you have your own idea for a Prosperity List, be sure to let me know in the comments!

About the Author

Dr. Anthony Centore Dr. Anthony Centore

Anthony Centore PhD is Founder of Thriveworks; a company that provides healthcare practices across the United States with Medical Credentialing, Medical Billing, and Business Consulting services.

Dr. Anthony Centore can be found at
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