“Now and then it’s good to pause in our pursuit of happiness and just be happy.”
Whenever I turn around, I see an article or news item that confirms what we all know: Writing can be life-changing — and a helpful, healing tool. Here’s proof positive:
Craft a happy ending: If you’re feeling stuck and unsure because of a difficult circumstance, taking time to pick up a pen and write out a positive outcome can make you feel better about your situation and even lead to a better conclusion. According to University of Virginia researchers, the very act of writing opens up creativity boosting channels in your brain, expanding your ability to find smart solutions and happier, more fruitful ways of looking at whatever life throws your way.
Scribble away your stress: Taking 15 minutes or so three times a week to vent by putting your pent-up feelings down on paper reduces worry, anxiety, insomnia and other stress-related problems by 30% according to recent studies.
Relax by reading: When you feel tension rising, cracking open a favorite novel or an inspiring holiday story like a Christmas Carol can lower your stress level by 70% within six minutes according to U.K. research. When we immerse ourselves in a fictional world we distract ourselves so effectively from our real-life worries that just the act of reading slows our heart rate and melts tension away!
Read aloud to calm yourself: Reading spiritual writings aloud, like psalms or chants, can slow your breathing to six breaths a minute, according to the British Medical Journal. This lowers your heart rate and blood pressure, creating a sense of calm within minutes.
Power your diet with a pen: If you’re in the mood to slim down, then pick up your pen: Keeping a food diary can help you lose twice as much weight according to a major study of people who dropped an average of 18 pounds in six months. Why? Researchers say just the act of writing down everything you eat will encourage you to consume less.
Boost your brainpower with poetry: Reciting poetry is a brain booster! The enjoyable, ear-pleasing rhythms and turns of phrase found in poetry spark activity in the right side of your brain, sharpening your memory, focus, and reasoning skills. Rhyming poems work best: The brain’s memory centers get an extra charge from recognizing rhyming patterns.
Feel happier fast: Want to give yourself a boost all day long? Just send a quick email praising or thanking a friend. According to recent Harvard research, people who wrote a grateful note via email daily for three weeks felt significantly happier. Even a brief online exchange helps you bond with others and offers happiness-enhancing social support.
Our pens, pencils, and pecking have power! So, boost your brain, feel happier, relax — and write on!