I wanted to share with you a simple 15-minute writing exercise that is scientifically proven to increase happiness. It’s called the Best Possible Self exercise and I think you’ll love it.
The Best Possible Self exercise was developed by happiness psychologists Kennon Sheldon and Sonja Lyubomirsky. You can read their research study on the exercise here. They determined that this exercise demonstrably increases happiness as well as assisting people in moving towards their best possible lives.
Here are my short instructions for the exercise (you can find their longer version of the instructions here):
- For a few moments, actively imagine your best possible future life. Think of all the areas of life from career to family to health to hobbies, etc. Think of the best outcomes in these areas in your best possible future.
- Now write about this for 15 minutes, being as specific as possible. Where would you be? Who would you be with? What tasks would you be performing, etc?
- Don’t give into temptations to consider past failures in these areas. Just envision a bright future where circumstances change just enough to allow it to happen.
- Repeat the exercise every few days for a while.
- Extra credit: If you hope to have a meaningful impact on our world, include in your vision for the sort of impact you will have.
Here’s why it will make you happier: “By thinking about your best possible future self, you can learn about yourself and what you want in life. This way of thinking can help you restructure your priorities in life in order to reach your goals. Additionally, it can help you increase your sense of control over your life by highlighting what you need to do to achieve your dreams.”
I do this exercise myself and love it. Let me know what you think.