You’re exhausted. Depleted. You always feel negative or cynical about your job and you don’t work as efficiently anymore. These words may sound familiar to some people. According to the World Health Organization these are all signs of occupational burnout. Burnout is especially common in healthcare workers, and they have been even more at risk since the COVID-19 pandemic started. But what can we do about this?
Interestingly, a study conducted by J. Sexton and K. Adair may have an answer to this question. The researchers measured the level of well-being–including burnout levels–of 228 healthcare workers via various questionnaires. These questionnaires were filled out before the intervention, and then 1 month, 6 months, and 12 months after the intervention. But what intervention? They asked the healthcare workers to report three good things that they experienced that day. Each day for 15 consecutive days.
And their findings are promising: The well-being of the healthcare workers increased and stayed at a higher level even 12 months after the intervention, including lower levels of burnout. All by simply reporting three good things. However, one should keep in mind that this study is a pilot-study and has its limitations, such as no active control group.
But if you work in healthcare, know somebody who works in healthcare, if you or somebody else is struggling with potential burnout, or you just want to improve your own well-being: Three good things a day may make the difference. Who knew happiness could be that powerful?
[Positivity Journal]. (n.d.). Mama Journals. https://mamajournals.com/shop/positivity-journal
Sexton, J. B., & Adair, K. C. (2019). Forty-five good things: a prospective pilot study of the Three Good Things well-being intervention in the USA for healthcare worker emotional exhaustion, depression, work–life balance and happiness. BMJ Open, 9(3), 1–11. https://doi.org/10.1136/bmjopen-2018-022695
Sultana, A., Sharma, R., Hossain, M. M., Bhattacharya, S., & Purohit, N. (2020). Burnout among healthcare providers during COVID-19: Challenges and evidence-based interventions. Indian Journal of Medical Ethics, 05(04), 308–311. https://doi.org/10.20529/ijme.2020.73
World Health Organization. (2019, May 28). Burn-out an ‘occupational phenomenon’: International Classification of Diseases. www.who.int. Retrieved 13 January 2022, from https://www.who.int/news/item/28-05-2019-burn-out-an-occupational-phenomenon-international-classification-of-diseases