Improve Your Mood: Jot it Down!

Those small, subtle goals you accomplish daily, do you tend to acknowledge them, or overlook them? How about the positive moments? Perhaps not, but that’s understandable. Our brains are wired to look for the negative, so focusing on the positive can take some practice. What if you were to write down those small achievements and positive moments on a daily basis?

Writing down small wins and positive moments can actually have a lasting impact on your mood. Through research, Teresa Amabile, from the Harvard Business School and Steven Kramer found what is called “the progress principle,” the idea that progress is not only about achieving long-term goals and big breakthroughs. The smaller things we achieve on a daily basis can provide us with a sense of accomplishment as well. The practice of recording our progress can help us appreciate our small wins, which can actually help boost our confidence.

Not convinced? Let’s take a further look.

Accomplishments, no matter what magnitude, activate the reward system within our brains. The neurotransmitter, dopamine is released during this process. Dopamine is associated with feelings of achievement and pride. This chemical also motivates us to repeat what we did to trigger its release in the first place. So, the more we write down these accomplishments, the better we may end up feeling.

In a similar regard, writing down moments of joy or gratitude can also elevate your mood. Acknowledging bright spots throughout your day can have a lasting impact, even when going through a rough patch in life. The key is appreciating these positive moments, even if they’re small or brief.

So, try it out for yourself! Take a few minutes each day to think about your achievements and positive experiences. Write them down and pay attention to how you feel as you do it. Try this routine and see if you notice any improvements in your daily mood.

By: Gina Pellrine, LMSW

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