Tuesday, December 9, 2014

Why Writing About Happiness Increases Happiness

I have the ultimate weapon to defeat others when they try to pull you out of your happy place.  It's something I learned at the beginning of my writing career and it's really simple.  Take out a blank piece of paper and make a list of five things you are thankful for.  Do this once a week.  Don't throw the paper away.  Keep each sheet of paper in a folder and read your notes during the week.  These notes are your heart speaking to you.  Something special happens when you take the time to hand write your list of things you are thankful for.  You sleep better.  Your number of sick days decline.  You feel better.  It's like taking a happy pill.

Some people who practice writing their thoughts down about what they're thankful for have a name for their weekly ritual.  It's called a gratitude journal.  I'm not really sold on the name because I think most people reading today's story may look at this as some kind of extra chore they don't have time for.  Most people don't have time to start new projects, especially during this time of year when tension levels seem to increase during the Holidays.  They don't swallow the happy pill because they're too busy.  That's why I recommend grabbing a blank sheet of paper and writing five things down you're thankful for.  Just do it one time.  Do it right now.  Try it.  And then keep that sheet of paper in a place where you can read it every day for a week.  If you notice an improvement in your attitude, do it again next week.

Keep it simple.  Your list can be about things or about people in your life you are thankful for.  Without naming names, here's my list for this week.  I'm sharing this to show you how easy it is...
  1. H.M. Thank you God for giving me such an incredible person to share my highs and lows with. Now I know what true love is.
  2. G.M.  Thank you God for sending me the right person to coach me, mentor me and support me.  She is an angel in a human body and she always knows what to say and do in every situation.
  3. J.M.  Thank you God for giving me someone who is not only a great role model and friend, but someone who reaches out and keeps in touch no matter how much is on his plate.
  4. J.R.  Thank you God for placing someone in my life who is willing to be refined in the fire by my side, no matter what the personal cost of that decision may be.
  5. A.M, T.M. and L.W.  Thank you God for giving me three people who are a living reflection of you on this earth.  I am who I am today because these three are in my life.
 I can't tell you why writing about happiness increases happiness.  All I can offer is that when I made my list today of the seven people (I cheated on number five and squeezed in two more names – that's okay, there really aren't any rules about your list) I felt an incredible sense of peace inside my heart.  Remember, when your heart is speaking, take good notes.  Make your own list of people and/or things you are thankful for and do this once a week.  And if you want to know why writing about happiness increases happiness, ask your doctor.   I'm no expert but I do know one thing – I'm happy.  And I'm thankful.  Have a great day.

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