Can you write your way to happiness?

https://www.theguardian.com/lifeandstyle/2017/jun/11/bullet-journalling-can-you-write-your-way-to-happiness

To reduce stress and anxiety, write your happy thoughts down

https://theconversation.com/to-reduce-stress-and-anxiety-write-your-happy-thoughts-down-99349

A pilot study on the effects and feasibility of compassion-focused expressive writing in Day Hospice patients.

Palliat Support Care. 2012 Jun;10(2):115-22. doi: 10.1017/S1478951512000181.

Imrie S1, Troop NA1.

Research has found that writing about stress can confer physical and psychological health benefits on participants and that adopting a self-compassionate stance may have additional benefits. This pilot study evaluated a self-compassionate expressive writing intervention in a Day Hospice setting.

METHOD:

Thirteen patients with life-limiting illnesses wrote on two occasions about recent stressful experiences. Half also received a self-compassion instruction for their writing. Outcome measures were taken at baseline and one week after the second writing session, and text analysis was used to identify changes in the types of words used, reflecting changes in psychological processes.

RESULTS:

Patients given the self-compassion instruction increased in their self-soothing and self-esteem in contrast to patients in the stress-only condition. Happiness broadly increased in both groups although reported levels of stress generally increased in patients given the self-compassion instruction but decreased in patients in the stress-only condition. Those given the self-compassion instruction also increased in their use of causal reasoning words across the two writing sessions compared with those in the stress-only condition.

SIGNIFICANCE OF RESULTS:

Expressive writing appears to be beneficial in patients at a hospice and was viewed as valuable by participants. The inclusion of a self-compassion instruction may have additional benefits and a discussion of the feasibility of implementing expressive writing sessions in a Day Hospice is offered.

Finding happiness in negative emotions: An experimental test of a novel expressive writing paradigm

The Journal of Positive Psychology

Dedicated to furthering research and promoting good practice

Volume 6, 2011 – Issue 3

 

Using an experimental writing design, this study pitted a novel emotion regulation strategy, integrating psychological acceptance and positive reappraisal, against two established strategies for increasing psychological well-being: emotional disclosure (Pennebaker, 1997Pennebaker, JW. 1997. Writing about emotional experiences as a therapeutic process. Psychological Science, 8: 162166. [Crossref], [Web of Science ®][Google Scholar]) and positive reappraisal (DeNeve & Cooper, 1998; Gross & John, 2003). 315 undergraduate students wrote on four consecutive days about the biggest problem in their lives and were randomly assigned to use one of the three strategies: (1) emotional disclosure, (2) positive reappraisal, or (3) acceptance + positive reappraisal. Results indicated that the integrative condition led to optimal emotional well-being outcomes at post-intervention, including: greater happiness and positive emotions, marginally fewer negative emotions, and greater overall psychological acceptance. Findings indicate that accepting one’s negative emotions and then trying to seek out positives might be an optimal strategy for building happiness.