Happiness Exercises — Writing Your Happiness Down
I have been doing quite a lot of thinking about my happiness blog…
Actually I was doubting myself a little because there is so much information out there about living a happy life, there are hundreds of websites with happiness exercises…
I thought that I couldn’t add anything to that — it felt a little like everything I have to say has been said already.
Then I went back to my passions and inner values. What I found there were two things
And all of a sudden they fit together so well, I couldn’t believe it!
Quite a lot of research has been done on the affects of writing on happiness. The results are astonishing — not only does writing (what and how I will tell you later, just keep calm for a second) boost happiness but it improves our life results in the short and long term!
When I say results, I mean college grades, income, sports results, relationships…
So, the point here is that writing can have very tangible effect on our life quality and happiness.
I won’t dwell on the scientific research here because other authors have spoken about it quite extensively and I just want to give a big shout out to Tara Parker-Pope and her fantastic work on the article Writing Your Way to Happiness. If you are interested in the scientific research and need it to believe that writing affects happiness, fine by me — go and read her examples.
In here, I just want to explain you plain and simple why writing affects our happiness and results.
The stories we tell ourselves
We all tell ourselves the stories that we need to believe to justify the results or efforts we put in our lives.
A few examples (cliche but, hey, who didn’t say those?)
I can never go out with a girl like that, she won’t even notice me.
I am bad at sports so I don’t exercise.
I am gonna get that job.
I am never gonna loose weight.
I can never make a million $$$.
My boyfriend is irresponsible, but otherwise my relationship is okay.
It’s my parent’s fault!
I am never gonna find a parking spot.
I don’t have any time for the photography course I want to take.
Yes, most of my examples are negative. But, the fact is that most of the stories we tell ourselves are negative.
Some of those stories we make up as excuses for our lives being less than great.
Some of them are deeply rooted and start in our childhood.
Some are suggestions from outside, some are auto-suggestions.
These stories aren’t something bad that we have to get rid of — just the other way around. These stories are the narrative of who we are.
We need these stories in our minds so we can have an identity, values and personality. Most importantly, we need these stories to reflect on ourselves and cope with life.
BUT we can make them better
Change Your Story For Happiness
The research I mentioned above suggests that by changing our stories or even just by writing them down we can change our perspective, mood, happiness and results.
Mind me, writing will not solve your problems but it is a great way to improve your life’s quality and cope with many issues that come along.
Even just describing the situation can improve it and give you the long-term ability to handle it and improve your long-term life management skills.
I have always found happiness in writing — in the act of writing and in the act of reading what I have written.
One of my favorite reads is my collection of philosophical essays from high school. I guess I had writing in me from the start.
But that’s not the case with everyone, I understand.
The good news is that you don’t even need to be good at writing to use it to boost your happiness!
All you need to do is actually write something down.
Oh, my, where do I get started.
There is a lot that you can write about and it will directly affect your story, your brain, your happiness, your behaviour and your life results.
As a first, let’s use writing as a way of coping with unpleasant situations.
One of the reasons for unhappiness (or let’s just say negative emotions that make us feel upset) are every day situations that we consider important.
So, for example, someone steals your parking spot and that upsets you (I get you brother, those are quite annoying)
According to the writing and happiness experts, just writing about a situation that upset you can help you feel better about it.
We are going a step further — as a first happiness exercise in writing you can focus on something negative (only this time!). Take a piece of paper and write down what upset you. Then re-write the story as it should have been so that you enjoyed the outcome. Sounds very possible as well, right? Better luck next time :☺
Have you completed the happiness exercise?
Please share in the comments how it went and if you liked it! I am so curious to know what you think aboutwriting and happiness
Writing is a reflective and empowering act. When you write something down you give it life, you put it in existence. That’s why we are so much more careful with the words we write than with those we speak. Consultants and life coaches often use writing as a starting point in their practices.
Writing is POWERFUL!
Happiness exercises in writing will be a series….I think I have finally found the exact way I can use my skills to help you create a happy (or happier) life!
Keep calm and write your happiness down!
Need some happiness exercises right this moment?
Download the 22 Happiness Exercises Workbook right here.