The power of positive thinking is not to be underestimated. The growth in wellness and happiness campaigns in the last decade have been astronomical. Scientists have gotten on board to study brain patterns in order to discover what makes us happy. Yoga studios and wellness centers are booming businesses. Positivity is on the menu for a lot of people. Everyone wants to find out the secret to becoming a more positive and happy person.
Though there are many roads to happiness, a powerful tool in this quest has to do with writing. Positive thinking is great, but it’s actually quite hard to accomplish when you’re used to thinking negatively most of the time. Writing things down, on the other hand, is a much easier first step for most people. By keeping a journal with positive writing and affirmations, you’re forcing yourself to formulate concrete positive thoughts and ideas and put them on paper. This process helps you to actually incorporate those thoughts and ideas into your life.
Here are some positive writing exercises to help you become a happier person:
Make a list of the things that you’re grateful for. Being grateful for everything you’ve got, whether it’s just the shirt on your back or the will to fight another day, is an incredibly powerful attribute. In fact, gratitude is one of the most important characteristics of happy people. Those who are appreciative of life’s gifts tend to bear hardship with greater equanimity, experience less anxiety, have healthier relationships and overall happier lives. Whether it’s the presence of a dear friend in your life, your good health, or the fact that you have enough money to pay your bills that month.
Whatever you can notice that makes you feel grateful, that makes your life better, richer, more beautiful and happier, write it down. You may even write down that you’re grateful for certain challenges you’re facing because they’re teaching you valuable lessons about yourself and other people.
Write down positive things that happened during your day. This can be challenging especially when you’re going through a difficult time. But that’s precisely when you need it the most. There are times when it seems that the world is totally against you. Whether you’re dealing with illness, financial strain or the heartbreak of a failed relationship, it’s important not to get swallowed by these difficulties. If you practice writing down 3 positive things that happened each day, your ability to perceive and to appreciate the good things in your life increases.
It can be a cup of delicious coffee from a new cafe down the street, a beautiful sunset or someone complimenting your smile. Somewhere in your day there has been something positive. The very act of looking for it takes your focus off the negative and gets you more accustomed to looking at the bright side of things. People who cultivate this skill begin to see positivity more easily and have happier dispositions. As your list grows, you can look back over the positive things you’ve noticed and gain a deeper understanding of life’s richness, even in times of struggle.
Write down a list of positive things about yourself. Maybe you’re a great writer, a fantastic cook, a loyal friend. Maybe you’re an athlete or a musician or you always pay your bills on time. Whatever it is about yourself that you like, write it down. Affirm your own beauty, talent, kindness or greatness. Part of becoming a happier person is learning to love and support yourself, rather than criticize. Your own inner voice can be much more harsh than any outside judgment. Learning to cultivate self-appreciation leads to a great deal more peace and happiness.
Write down nice things people have done or said to you. As important as it is to learn to cultivate your own self-esteem, it’s also nice when someone else recognizes how great you are. If other people have seen something wonderful inside you and complimented you for it, write it down. These affirmations let you know that you’re appreciated by others. Writing down these positive words or actions can be a balm on the soul during difficult days.
Write something nice to someone else. You can write a letter to someone you’ve had conflict with. It could be someone you’ve been holding a grudge against or someone who’s been holding a grudge against you. In either case, try writing them a letter, recognizing your part in the conflict and honoring them as a human being with their own set of suffering and problems. Letting go of negative feelings of hurt, resentment, hatred and anger makes room for positive feelings like love, acceptance, kindness and friendship.
You don’t have to actually become friends with that person, sometimes it’s best not to have contact with certain people anymore. But writing a letter to them helps you to get rid of negativity and open yourself to new positive relationships. It doesn’t matter whether or not you send it. What matters is how you feel after writing it.
Another way you can practice writing positively is to write encouraging words to another person. Whether it’s sharing a friend’s blog post on your Facebook page and telling everyone what a great writer they are or sending a cheering up email or text message to make their day better. These small steps of spreading positivity through written expression could mean the world to someone else and will make you feel good, too.
Learning to write down positive thoughts helps you to train your brain to think more positively. It’s like training a muscle: the more you exercise it, the stronger it becomes. The more you write down positive thoughts, the more you reinforce that there are positive things in your life and the happier you become.