Order my new book by 5/16 for exclusive bonuses. Click here.

What should you write about if you want to increase your happiness?

.

Writing about goals or one’s best possible self produced notable improvements in happiness.

In a variation on Pennebaker’s writing paradigm, a sample of 81 undergraduates wrote about one of four topics for 20 minutes each day for 4 consecutive days. Participants were randomly assigned to write about their most traumatic life event, their best possible future self, both of these topics, or a nonemotional control topic. Mood was measured before and after writing and health center data for illness were obtained with participant consent. Three weeks later, measures of subjective well-being were obtained. Writing about life goals was significantly less upsetting than writing about trauma and was associated with a significant increase in subjective well-being. Five months after writing, a significant interaction emerged such that writing about trauma, one’s best possible self, or both were associated with decreased illness compared with controls. Results indicate that writing about self-regulatory topics can be associated with the same health benefits as writing about trauma.

Source: “The Health Benefits of Writing about Life Goals” from Personality and Social Psychology Bulletin

Join 25K+ readers. Get a free weekly update via email here.

Related posts:

Things you didn’t know about happiness

How to make yourself happier in just a few seconds

Do happy people love their jobs or do good jobs make people happy?

Share

Subscribe to the newsletter

Over 500,000 people have subscribed to my newsletter. Join now and get the beginning of my new book free:

I want to subscribe!