Talk, Think and Write
Since the quarantine, I was doing my first ever online course on 'Science of Well-being' from Yale University which I found intense and engaging. The course demanded to go through some papers and videos, mostly ted talks. Thereafter, I came to know there had been tremendous research on what makes us happy in our lives. All these readings led me to focus upon our habits of talking, thinking and writing about our happy and sad moments.
Whether small or large gatherings, in a coffee house to social events, we tend to talk. But is it so that we prefer writing, reading or just being self when we are just by ourselves at the home? At least for me, it is true but what about others? I wondered, what do people mostly talk about among friends or soulmates or anyone around, do they talk more about joyful moments or upon the unpleasant ones? Also, are people inclined more toward writing or sharing the positive aspects?
Moving on to some psychological research, which explains that when we talk about bad or unpleasant moments, it helps us in our well-being. Participants were allocated to write, think and talk to their friends about the unpleasant moments and the results were eye-opening which showed the better/progressed state of mind creating pleasant feelings among those who were asked to write. However, those asked to think about such moments came out to be more depressed and unpleasant than before. The patterns of thinking caused recurring sad events in mind time and again. I found it similar to my own experience as well and maybe others will too. Because, thinking of unpleasant moments, the visualisation becomes so powerful within us forming a specific pattern in our brains. On the contrary, either putting those moments into words or sharing it among friends releases our emotions where we tend to seek. Writing in itself is a reflective process providing a space in our brains liberating it from such disturbing patterns.
Similarly, thinking over the happy moments gives a boost to our immune system and the mood both. It basically refreshes the state of mind making an impact on our well -being. But, since writing about these moments makes us focus upon the reason behind happiness, is not considered healthy. Happiness is just to be enjoyed rather than digging into the events. Rather than allowing us to enjoy our good moments, we might instead start suspecting our better fortune. That is why, it is advised not to write in the good moments, especially not digging into the why's and how's.
On a positive note, talking about either good or bad moments is beneficial to both sides. While we talk about our miseries, those sadness gets released and opening up on our successful moments adds joy. I assume this is the reason most people choose to talk rather than write.
So, let us enjoy talking either happy or sad. And maybe not write when we are happy, but if one wishes to, simply writing without going into the depth could be an option. Obviously, thinking of sadness is not entertaining.
(This is a reflective piece after going through the papers. If you wish to explore more about please visit Lyubomirsky et al. (2006) )