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Alexander Residence: Can blogging make you happier?

Sunday, 24 October 2010

Can blogging make you happier?

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.

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At 25 October 2010 at 10:57 , Blogger Sian Mummy-Tips said...

Thanks for saying hi on Twitter. What a great post - one that I think should be taken on board by a lot more bloggers.
Yes, blogging does change the way you feel about a lot of things - and yes it can make you happy. We all just need to remember that!

At 25 October 2010 at 11:15 , Blogger Penny said...

Thanks for making me feel welcome, I still need Twitter L plates so its so lovely when people give me a warm welcome. Glad you liked the post, yep I need to keep myself reminding myself too!

At 25 October 2010 at 12:06 , Blogger liveotherwise said...

fab post! Very thought provoking.

At 25 October 2010 at 12:19 , Blogger Penny said...

Hello liveotherwise and thank you :) I really do think these little things make a big difference.

At 25 October 2010 at 17:20 , Blogger Emma said...

Great post, blogging does make me happy, it took me a while to get into it and I didn't even know why it was making me happy, I think you've just worked it out for me now!

At 25 October 2010 at 20:40 , Blogger Penny said...

Hi Emma
Oh good! Its taken me a while to get into it too and I have nearly quit a couple of times. But I am beginning to understand the huge positives :)

At 25 October 2010 at 20:59 , Blogger What She Said said...

I think it's very cathartic, and it maybe gives us chance to get things out in the open which we'd otherwise bottle up. What really makes me happy today is reading your blog, which is why it's featured in my "What I've Loved This Week" feature, so do feel free to come along and take your applause!

Much love,

At 25 October 2010 at 21:05 , Blogger Penny said...

Hello Tina
It is sooooo carthartic, that's exactly what I love. And to meet so many lovely people who hold what you do - raise kids - in such high regard! I'm popping over now. Thank you, that's made my day!

At 26 October 2010 at 08:22 , Blogger This Mid 30s Life said...

Enjoyed that post, thanks. I think blogging can certainly make you happy in much the same way that any new hobby can. You can throw yourself into it, read incredible blogs and interact with others, or you can just dip your toe into it to see what you think. I recommend it to anyone who loves to read and wants to try out something new.

Plus writing so regularly is a real tonic!

At 26 October 2010 at 11:40 , Blogger Insomniac Mummy said...

I think blogging can be very theraputic and extremely cathartic.

My advice would be not to obsess over the stats and league tables, followers etc. In the grand scheme of things they mean nothing. The best way to gain readers/make new connections is to just be yourself. I think the key happy blogging is being genuine.


P.S Lovely to meet you, and I'll be back! x

At 26 October 2010 at 20:30 , Blogger Kerryonliving said...

Great post, great tips! I totally agree that one way to happiness is to have a hobby/creative outlet which is how I see my little blog. I very much like reading yours so it's nice to hear that it brings you happiness too! x

At 26 October 2010 at 21:00 , Blogger @poorparenting said...

What a fabby post. I just loved it. I'm so keen to hear what all twelve tips are but can't quite read the print in the photo even though I have a screen the size of the moon!

At 26 October 2010 at 21:53 , Blogger Penny said...

Thanks guys, glad there are so many happy bloggers out there. Yep its def a great hobby and creative outlet and really good tip there about being yourself.
I have emailed the article to you pooky as an adobe doc, if anyone else wants a copy or has any better ideas how to display it on here let me know!

At 26 October 2010 at 22:51 , Anonymous Debbie said...

I'm loving the whole blogging and running a website thing, which I took over in September of this year. Its a steep learning curve but very challenging and I guess it does make me happy.

At 27 October 2010 at 08:14 , Anonymous Sarah said...

This is a wonderful post and I totally agree. I have come across this post via a blog carnival BMB. I started writing a blog when my first daughter was born, 7 years ago! At first it was just to share her milestones with all my extended family, living on the other side of the world. More recently I've got more into the blogging community and made some great connections and friendships. I mostly write positively and find it self perpetuating - when I celebrate the good in my day and record it, I tend to look at everything more positively. I love looking back on my blog and all the wonderful things my family and I have done - it makes mr excited about the memories we have yet to make and to live on the moment and embrace the magic.

At 27 October 2010 at 09:32 , Blogger Penny said...

Debbie - Its such a steep learning curve and yours looks much more complex than mine.
Sarah - Thank you. Your blog is a beautiful record of your family's adventures - gorgeous pics! Definitley agree about the self-perpetuating element.
Thanks for popping in!

At 27 October 2010 at 14:51 , Blogger Tilly said...

Love this post. Blogging definitely makes me happy. It's a great source of information, inspiration and support. I've especially noticed that with my new blog at
Nipper's autism has been difficult to deal with but people have been so supportive and helpful and a couple of people in particular have been a lifesaver.

At 28 October 2010 at 10:56 , Blogger Penny said...

Hi Tilly
Glad it makes you happy too, it's great to think there are so many great people ready to reach out and offer support.

At 31 October 2010 at 19:20 , Anonymous Lucy Quick said...

Fab post!

I think we all need an outlet of some sort; whatever form that might take.

Lovely to meet you via Twitter :)

At 31 October 2010 at 20:45 , Blogger Penny said...

Lovely to meet you too Lucy. Noticed you are a drama teacher too. Will keep in touch :)

At 5 December 2010 at 16:10 , Blogger Kate Davies said...

Hello penny - I have entered the blogsphere and aiming to boldly go. Have you checked out plant an Iris on twitter? Your output is most impressive I will be keeping an eye on your blogs:) This was why I liked working with you on the look out for something fresh and thought provoking.

At 26 December 2010 at 22:17 , Anonymous @jencull (jen) said...

Funny, now that you mention it I do feel happier for blogging. For me I think it is because it gives me adult 'conversation' and 'friends' that I just can't do IRL at the moment. I didn't realise you were new to blogging, you write like you have been around a long time (thats a good thing!!). I was also v interested to read about 80% of blogs being abandoned after a month, it takes a lot longer than that to get a blog moving, you did it super fast:D

Thanks for joining in Blog Gems. #ESP


At 27 December 2010 at 07:28 , Blogger Sublime Dream said...

I love this post!!!! =) Bloggin has made me sooo much happier! Less stressed, in turn, happier. I've always got so much on my mind about my son's autism. With out the blogosphere, I'd literally have no one to talk to who knows what I'm living and loving like. None of my friends or family have had first hand experiences with it before.

At 8 May 2011 at 21:22 , Blogger Kelly Simmonds said...

I'm not sure how I came across this post but it has inspired me to start my own! I've been thinking about it for a while but reading this uplifting blog finally given me the motivation I needed. Thank you!

At 10 November 2011 at 15:16 , Blogger Here come the girls said...

I think it's having the opportunity to share what is happening with like minded people that makes me feel happier with blogging. Also getting praise, it's so nice to get a lovely comment from someone about something you have written. They're the two things I miss about being a SAHM.


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