Hey Friends,


I know a lot of you are probably stressed with schoolwork and midterm exams. However, I hope the demands of school aren’t getting you too down. If you are feeling a bit low or unhappy these days that is OK, we all go through this at one point or another. I want to pass on one tip that hopefully can promote positive well-being. 


Research has now shown that one of the strongest contributors to your happiness is the amount of gratitude you show. Soul Pancake performed a study where they had volunteers come in and write about one positive, influential person in their lives. They then asked volunteers to call this important person and read what they wrote about them in their letters. The results showed that those who followed through and called the important person to read their letter improved their happiness between 4-19%.


Wow!! who knew that improving happiness could be as easy as showing a little gratitude to the people around us? After reading this research study and watching the Soul Pancake video (see below), I have decided to keep a gratitude journal. I know, I know, you are all too busy to add another activity to your busy lives, I really do understand. So start small, just do it once or twice a week and just jot down 5 simple sentences or bullet points expressing what you are grateful for. Research actually shows that doing it once or twice a week is more beneficial rather than journaling gratitude every single day. 


Robert Emmons, widely considered the leading gratitude expert shared these following tips to maximize the effectiveness of expressing gratitude in order to improve happiness:


1. Do not make it a mundane activity, make a conscious effort to WANT to improve your happiness and well-being before you start this activity. 

2. Sometimes depth can be better than breadth. It can be better to focus on one person, place or thing and go into depth about that rather than jotting down 10 superficial things. 

3. It can be more beneficial to focus on people you are grateful for rather than objects or things. 

4. Focus on subtraction and not just addition. Try to imagine how your life would be if you didn’t have that roof over your head or that best friend who helped you through that difficult time. 

5. Write about surprises. Research has shown that positive surprises and unexpected events lead to stronger levels of gratitude. 

6. Don’t go overboard. One study showed that those who journaled about gratitude once or twice a week boosted their happiness, whereas those who wrote about it 3 times a week did not. Keep it simple and do it once a week!


Try it out! I really feel that writing things out like this can help you add meaning and purpose to your lives and boost happiness. Let me know if this activity benefits your positive well-being!


Talk to you next time! 


The views expressed in this blog are my own, and do not necessarily reflect the policies or views of the University of Victoria. I monitor posts and comments to ensure all content complies with the University of Victoria Guidelines on Blogging.