Sharing happy news: the quick, easy way to boost your mood
Under normal circumstances, it's estimated that people have about three times as many positive experiences as negative ones1.
Do you make time in your day to not only pay attention to those positive events and feel grateful for them, but also to share the details with those close to you?
If not, it's time to start, because doing so could increase the level of joy that your positive experiences bring you.
Start by getting grateful
Gratitude journals are all the rage these days (thanks in part to Oprah, who has single-handedly helped to drive their popularity), and have been shown to improve mood and boost feelings of happiness and life satisfaction2.
Actively practising gratitude may also help you maintain your relationships and even sleep better!2
So, if you're not already in the habit, start to elevate your feelings of positivity by taking time to note down what you're grateful for each day.
Then share your positivity with someone special
In a series of five studies1, psychology researchers monitored what happened when people spent five minutes each day writing down what they were grateful for.
Some of the participants in the research just kept written records, while others not only kept the gratitude journal, but also took time to share their experiences with a significant other like a life partner or close friend every few days.
The results showed that over time, those who shared their positive experiences experienced greater improvements in their happiness, vitality and life satisfaction than the participants who journaled without sharing their positivity with others or who only shared neutral events.
So, don't bottle it up! Tell someone special what's made you feel happy, grateful or excited - and do it regularly!
Next return the favour: how to respond to good news from others1
In the same research1, it was noted that the way a listener responds to good news has an impact on the level of positivity and beneficial effects that the speaker experiences.
So, choose your confidante wisely, because the way they respond to you could help to either magnify or dampen your uplifted mood.
And when it's your turn to listen, try these tips to help dial up your buddy's level of joy:
- Respond in an enthusiastic and active way, rather than a quiet, understated one
- Be constructive and positive in your feedback, and avoid passive or destructive comments
- Expand on the context of the positive event and its implications for the speaker
Your goal as a listener is to validate your conversation partner's experience, expand their awareness of its positive implications in their life, boost their self-esteem, and make sure they know that their happy news has brought joy to you too.
With that in mind, do say:
That's wonderful that you did so well on your project after all your effort. I'm so thrilled for you! You deserve that glowing praise from your boss, and it'll increase your chances of being considered for the promotion. Awesome job!
I'm glad your boss appreciated you for once. You don't put yourself in the spotlight enough, so he really undervalues you.
Getting it right may help to make your partner's happy experiences feel even more joyful - perhaps even doubling the level of positivity they feel1.
And over time, consistently responding to your partner's good news with active, positive responses may even lead to deeper levels of trust, intimacy and commitment in your relationship1.
We call that very good news!
- Lambert, N.M. et al. J Soc Pers Relat, 2013;30(1):24-43.
- Cunha, L.F. et al. Frontiers in Psychology, 2019;10