How a simple 10-minute exercise can boost your happiness
Stresses and pressures can often be inevitable in our daily lives. There is no shortage of strategies to ease a sour mood and get yourself out of a rut – spending time outdoors, listening to music and performing acts of kindness for others are just some of them.
But if you’re looking for a more reflective and personal exercise, this technique might just help.
Sandi Mann, psychology lecturer at the University of Central Lancashire wrote on her book Ten Minutes to Happiness that writing a daily journal could help us re-orient our memory and shift our mindset to better cope with difficult situations.
In her book, Mann outlined the six questions to use in your daily journal:
- What experiences, however mundane, gave you pleasure?
- What praise and feedback did you receive?
- What were the moments of pure good fortune?
- What were your achievements, however small?
- What made you feel grateful?
- How did you express kindness?
One of the prominent themes from these questions is gratitude, which plays an important part in lifting our mood. Writing about things we are grateful for has been found to improve mental health as it turns our attention away from negative emotions.
Mann said the benefits of this 10-minute review are not just limited to the writing time. Re-reading previous entries can also help us override our selective memories, which tend to be fixated on sources of unhappiness.
While this method could help those who are having low mood or stress without clinical symptoms, Mann said people who may suffer from depression should consult with a GP for further treatment.