We all know there are some positive extra benefits of learning English, like better brain power and better job opportunities.
But can we use our English learning to make us happier?
The answer is “yes!” Recently I learned one simple trick that can improve your writing and make you happier.
This isn’t some crazy hippy thing. This advice comes from Professor Martin Seligman at the University of Pennsylvania, one of the world experts in positive psychology.
Get happier and better at writing in English with this simple trick, a trick that studies have shown improves life satisfaction and depression levels.
How does it work?
According to Professor Seligman, we spend too much time thinking about the negative things in our lives and not enough time thinking about the positive things.
This type of negative thinking was useful to people 30,000 years ago, when they needed to avoid dangerous animals and prepare for weather changes. But now, it only leads to depression and stress.
So how do we stop thinking negatively?
Professor Seligman recommends a simple technique you can do every day. He calls it the three blessings:
● Every evening make sure you have 10 minutes free.
● Write down 3 good things that happened to you today (on paper, a laptop, your phone — it doesn’t matter).
● Write down one sentence about why each good thing happened.
Do this for at least a week.
This technique works!
Seligman’s team at the University of Pennsylvania has been doing experiments on this technique since 2001. All of the studies confirmed that it reduces depression.
OK. That sounds great, but how is this good for my English writing?
Other studies1,2 about how people learn show that the way to remember most effectively is a little every day… not a lot once a week.
10 minutes a day is more effective than an hour on Saturday afternoon.
This is also true for everything you do with learning English. Writing a little every day is going to improve your English writing much more than writing a lot once a week.
If you follow the “three blessings” technique, you’ll improve your English writing faster AND you’ll be happier.
1. Bahrick, H. P., Bahrick, L. E., Bahrick, A. S., Bahrick, P. E. (1993). Maintenance of foreign language vocabulary and the spacing effect. Psychological Science, 4(5). 316-321.
2. Bloom, K. C., & Shuell, T. J. (1981). Effects of massed and distributed practice on the learning and retention of second-language vocabulary. The Journal of Educational Research, 74(4). 245-248.