Start writing your way to happiness

Start writing your way to happiness

by Sarah Hampson for the Globe and Mail

Anyone can write a love note to himself to help create lasting happiness. The only caveat is that it doesn_ã_t work as well if you_ã_re too self-critical, needy and oversensitive to potential abandonment. That_ã_s the finding of a research paper out of York University in Toronto, published recently in The Journal of Positive Psychology.

As part of a large study called Project Hope, conducted via the Internet and involving 4,500 people across Canada, nearly 200 individuals participated in three exercises designed to test whether daily doses of self-compassion and optimism had the power to lift mood. (Reports on other exercises conducted in the project will be published in the coming months.)

_ã–It was an effort to create a tool for when things don_ã_t go as well as you wanted,_㝠says Myriam Mongrain, associate professor of psychology at York_ã_s faculty of medicine, who worked as project leader on the study along with lead author and graduate student Leah Shapira.

Some participants were instructed to write feel-good notes to themselves every day for a week. Asked to address an upsetting event, they had to attempt to comfort themselves as they might a friend.

Others were told to envision themselves five years in the future, when all the issues that were bothering them had been positively resolved. From that happy, imagined place, they had to write to themselves every day for a week with advice on how to get to that rosy future…

CLICK HERE to read more about writing your way to happiness!