Writing can make you happier

Last month the BBC reported the launch of Action for Happiness, a social movement encouraging people to get happy by doing simple things.

And because everyone loves a list, they came up with 40 things you could do to make yourself happier. It’s pretty standard fare: ‘Give up your seat’, ‘Pick up litter as you walk’, ‘Help someone in need’. All undoubtedly good suggestions. But there was one thing missing – writing.

Us Writer folk are understandably biased, but research has shown that writing down your thoughts every day can genuinely make you happier.

In 59 Seconds, psychologist Richard Wiseman argues that writing beats talking hands down in the happiness stakes – even though 90 percent of the public believe talking will do the job. He says talking can be unstructured, whereas writing creates a storyline, helping the writer make sense of what’s happened.

His research claims people who write things down end up ‘happier, much more optimistic about the future, and even exercised significantly more’.

The obvious way to get started is with a daily dose of ‘dear diary’, but even scribbling down some random thoughts on the bus to work can clear your mind of clutter and brighten your mood.

Plus, it’s easier than looking after your friends’ kids and less painful than giving blood (two of the other happiness suggestions).


3 minutes, 46 seconds read

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on May 10, 2011

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