Want to be happier? Grab a pen and let it all out
And I don’t mean journaling.
What I’m talking about here is a ‘20-minute replay’ where you write about a positive experience in your life.
It could be about your friends, your family, a loved one. Or it could be about something that filled you with excitement and joy.
Either way, it’s about reliving the good that’s happened to you.
In a study titled “How Do I Love Thee? Let Me Count The Words,” Psychology Professor James Pennebaker and graduate student Richard Slatcher analyzed writing samples from 86 couples.
They split the couples in two groups, and then instructed one person from each couple to write 20 minutes a day for three consecutive days. One group wrote about their daily activities. The other wrote about positive feelings or experiences associated with their relationship.
Can you guess what happened?
The group who wrote about their relationship exceeded expectations. Not only were they more likely to stay together, but they also felt happier, more loved, and more fulfilled.
And both researchers believe this can extend beyond romantic relationships.
As Pennebaker notes:
“That people may enhance their romantic relationships by simply writing down their thoughts and feelings about those relationships has clear implications. The use of expressive writing as a tool for relationship enhancement could be applied to those in families, circles of friends and even work groups.”
Why does this work?
Think about it. Writing about positive feelings or experiences helps you relive those feelings and experiences. Your brain literally sends you back to those moments and the emotions associated with them.
It’s like happiness time-travel — and you can do it whenever you want.
Write about a positive experience in your life 20 minutes a day for three consecutive days. Take a day off, rinse and repeat.
If you do this for two consecutive weeks, I’m confident you’ll begin tapping into an inner well of happiness you didn’t even know was there.
Happy writing ← see what I did there ;)
Halt right there!
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