Alex O'Brien


Doing this one thing every day will make you happier

Doing this one thing every day will make you happier

Writing a one-sentence journal entry every day could make you happier, recent research published in the journal Psychological Science suggests.

Harvard Business School lead researcher, Ting Zhang, asked study participants to write about a conversation they'd recently had, score it as ordinary or extraordinary, and then guess how much they would appreciate reading their account in the future. Several months later, the participants read the memory they’d documented.

The findings indicated we are not very good at predicting what will make us happy in the future. Re-reading past conversations not only made the participants feel happy, but those who had labelled their conversations as “ordinary” found when they revisited them it brought more happiness than originally expected.

As one participant in Zhang’s study said, “Re-reading this event of doing mundane stuff with my daughter has certainly brightened my day. I’m glad I chose that event to write about because of the incredible joy it gives me at this moment.” So what seems ordinary today could be a source of unexpected happiness in the future – if you remember it.

So why not give writing a journal a go again? There’s no need to write pages, a line or two will do!

Related links:

10 ways to bring good vibes in your life

Inspiring quotes from the world’s most successful people

10 questions to work out what really make you happy

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