Four writing exercises that can make you happier

Everyone knows that the pen is mightier than the sword, but it can also help improve your wellbeing, too. Psychologists have spent decades trying to develop exercises that they can give to clients to improve their happiness, or to help them deal with difficult states of mind. You can harness the power of these exercises in your own home, all you need is a pen and paper, or if you prefer, a keyboard and word processing program.

Your best possible self

Take yourself forward in time five years. In this version of the future, everything has gone according to plan. Your career, finances, relationships, health, character, personal development – everything. Allow your mind to fantasise about your best possible outcome. Then, write about this life for 20 minutes. This will help you clarify your goals and give you a positive vision to aim for.

Three good things

Every day, good things happen. But it’s all too easy to overlook these and focus on the negative. So, every evening, write down three good things from your day. If this is difficult, start with the basics. Do you have access to clean water? Do you have a shelter from the elements? Did you hear a song you liked today? You know the exercise is working when you start thinking “Oh, that can be one of my good things tonight.”

The gratitude letter

Psychologists have found that regularly expressing gratitude can improve the number of positive emotions we feel in our daily lives. Once a week, write a gratitude letter to someone who has helped you this past week. Try to really swell up the feeling of gratitude and thankfulness as you write your letter. You don’t have to send it to them – just writing it is enough to see benefits.


The key to these exercises is consistency. If you keep them up regularly over time, you’ll see improvements in your happiness. If you’re interested in other ways to improve your well-being and your life, have a look through our directory where you’ll find excellent life coaches, psychologists and counsellors in your area.

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