This week I have been wondering if blogging can make people happier. This has all been triggered by a tiny scrap of paper above my desk, torn from a Sunday supplement, which outlines 12 happiness enhancing activities. I don’t think it is a coincidence that since I turned my desk to face this scrap of paper and took some notice of it, my happiness has grown. I’m not running round with a manic grin all day, but I am definitely chirpier about my lot. It’s also happened in the time in which I started my blog.
Psychologists reckon 40% of our happiness is within our control. Step 6 of the twelve activities, which I reckon applies most to blogging, is ‘writing down your feelings’, which either directly, or in a roundabout way, most bloggers do. Like many bloggers I have come across, I started blogging to blog myself out of a rut, after three years as a full time mum I suddenly got very itchy feet.
Three other activities from the list relevant to blogging are ‘ step four, practising acts of kindness’, ‘step five, making time for friends’ and step one expressing ‘gratutude’ something you definitely do by wholeheartedly following other blogs, making supportive comments and replying to comments on your own blog. It’s very early days for me, but it’s great to meet interesting new people, I hope they become friendships. Blogging can also make you vulnerable, I read Rosie Scribble’s post last week about getting scared by a nasty comment, but the lovely comments that followed were reassuring. (Step seven controversially, is is to ‘forgive’, hmm not sure that’s such an easy one).
Step 8 suggests you to ‘immerse yourself in new activities’. One little blog is a whole lot of new activity. Last week I tackled Twitter and got a lovely warm welcome, a few weeks back I learnt how to make a header from tutorial at Violet Posy. Every time I look at someone else’s blog I am filled with new ideas either for things to do with my kids or things to do with my blog. I am learning new things with my kids all the time, but they don’t always stretch my brain at the level it was used to being stretched before kids. I feel like I am on a steep learning curve again and I love it.
Step 9, reccomends you ‘Savour life’s joys’. Parent blogging encourages you to take time to record children’s milestones or misdemeanours, to enjoy a cup of tea and a chance to reflect. Raising kids, especially compared to the full time careers many parents leave behind, postpone or juggle, can feel like a series of very small things in a sea of mess and frustration. I have discovered how much I like to unpick these small things.
Blogging has huge happiness pitfalls too. Step 3 explains that happy people ‘avoid obsessing and don’t pay too much attention to what others are doing’. I think this has huge implications for blogging. It’s easy to be blown away by other bloggers’ amazing achievements, (especially as a newbie), and to start comparing lifestyles, stats, traffic, layouts, writing, photography, followers, comments, and feeling inferior. This week I also read 80% of blogs are abandoned after less than a month. Crystal Jigsaw’s post on competitive blogging throws some lovely perspective onto these issues.
So I moved a desk, found a scrap of paper, started a blog and found happiness. Not so simple. There are still rubbish days, phone my husband and beg him to come home early and give me a break from the kids days. But the scrap of paper reminded me that in life there are little things you can do to make a huge difference to your happiness. Blogging seems to be one of them.
What do you reckon? Has blogging had an impact on your happiness?
P.S. Step 2 is to ‘Cultivate optimism. Visualise a future where everything has turned out the way you want it and write it down.’ Now that’s got to be an entertaining blog post…
Credit: The article was from The Guardian. The research was by Sonja Lyubomirsky, Professor of Psychology at the University of California.