You’ve undoubtably heard the adage, “the pen is mightier than the sword.” Ongoing research is finding that the pen is indeed a mighty weapon that can cultivate happiness. According to Dr. Steven Toepfer at Kent State University, we all possesses an amazing resource — gratitude — that can be used to improve our quality of life .
How much of our happiness can we nurture ourselves?
To address this question, Toepfer designed the “Letters of Gratitude” study to assess whether an extended writing campaign would improve happiness, life satisfaction and gratitude. Toepfer evaluated the effects of expressing thankfulness by enlisting 85 students on three Kent State University campuses to write three letters of gratitude to people who had positively impacted their lives. The letters had to be nontrivial, insightful and reflective, and contain a high level of appreciation or gratitude expressed in a positive manner. Instead of writing letters, a control group filled out questionnaires.