In-depth: How to Turn Happiness Into a Science
Considering the overwhelming mental health issues and physical exhaustion Americans suffer from every day, it’s nice to get a moment to just take a breather. One of the best things to give yourself in this time of year is time and away to reflect on what’s important in your life.
And while we’ve all heard and seen studies that have shown how recaps can help us improve our happiness, now there’s a science to it. Written down what we’re thankful for can be beneficial to our mental health, physical health, and even social relationships.
Having trouble coping or processing your thoughts? Let’s take a moment to try and talk yourself through it
One in four Americans are going through some type of mental health issue, and as our busy work and social lives are crammed with holiday social engagements and family gatherings that for some are already impacting our mental health, writing down what you’re thankful for can go a long way.
“Research has shown that when people write things down to express their gratitude, the best result is a boost in happiness, positive affect, and feelings of well-being. The mid-day review session may be another stress-release technique that’s beneficial for people with attention deficit disorder, depression, insomnia, and anxiety disorders,” a recent study by University of Connecticut said.
So why do writing down what you’re thankful for feel so good? It sounds a little cheesy to say that writing down our good thoughts helps with life, but it’s true! In addition to helping us feel better physically and mentally, writing down good things helps to process the emotions that accompany those thoughts.
“This can help people concentrate and meaningfully focus on what they are grateful for,” the University of Connecticut study said. “Readers are probably familiar with the expression ‘log that you said/sent that’ when you do a physical exercise to help it process, but what is the same is the process of writing this moment in your own memoir.”
Writing down your gratitude gives you a chance to process the past and move on
Let’s be honest, how often do you ever write down your wish-lists of things you hope to do, that you want to own, or that you need or want? That’s probably why you don’t write down what you’re thankful for, isn’t it? As you try to process and sort through the week’s long list of goals, “good vibrations” can be hard to find.
It’s easy to label those thoughts as “work” that you don’t have time for but they’re actually good ideas. If you ever catch yourself thinking of things you want or that you’re grateful for, that can help you to re-frame what your “good vibrations” are about, and also make you feel like you’re not “working” on your own wants and needs.
Even though your mind is in overdrive trying to chase all the wonderful and wonderful things you’re thinking about at all times, being aware that you have the freedom to choose what you want and when you want it, really helps to consolidate your thoughts and ideas.
And don’t forget, feeling grateful for what you have can really increase your sense of well-being
Countless studies have shown how simply the mere act of writing down what you’re thankful for can lead to increased positivity, happiness, and well-being. And whether that’s filling your cup with gratitude over tea or you write it all down in a scrapbook with a scrapbooker, just writing down and expressing what you’re thankful for brings you that much closer to having a better mental and physical health.
Let’s all continue to try and count our blessings and write down our biggest gratitude statements, so that in a few weeks time, we don’t have to face what we truly don’t have.