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Images & Voices of Hope | December 2, 2020

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Research finds that we may be able to write our way to happiness

Research finds that we may be able to write our way to happiness

New research suggests that writing — and then rewriting — your personal story can increase happiness.

“The concept is based on the idea that we all have a personal narrative that shapes our view of the world and ourselves,” The New York Times’ Tara Parker-Pope writes. “But sometimes our inner voice doesn’t get it completely right. Some researchers believe that by writing and then editing our own stories, we can change our perceptions of ourselves and identify obstacles that stand in the way of better health. It may sound like self-help nonsense, but research suggests the effects are real.”

The New York Times quoted Timothy D. Wilson, a University of Virginia psychology professor, whose research suggest that when people write and rewrite their own narratives, they can become more optimistic about the future.

“These writing interventions can really nudge people from a self-defeating way of thinking into a more optimistic cycle that reinforces itself,” said Wilson, author of  “Redirect: Changing the Stories We Live By. “Writing forces people to reconstrue whatever is troubling them and find new meaning in it.”

The full New York Times story about the research is well worth the read.

Related: We’ve curated a list of research that explores how media and writing affect people.