|Researchers have found that writing one's self a "feel-good letter" can give a long-term boost to emotional well-being. (Shutterstock)
If self-doubt and depression have got you down, you may want to try writing yourself a letter of compassion and encouragement.
Researchers at York University have found that writing one's self a "feel-good letter" can give a long-term boost to emotional well-being.
Every night for seven days, the study's more than 200 participants logged on to a website to complete an exercise that varied depending on whether they were in the study's optimist, self-compassion or control group.
"Interestingly, we noted significant improvements in mood for all participants except those who exhibited extreme neediness," said Myriam Mongrain, the study's co-author and an associate professor of psychology at York.
Participants in the self-compassion group were asked to write themselves a note about an upsetting event and comfort themselves as they would a friend.
Participants in the optimism group were asked to imagine a future where their current issues were resolved and give themselves advice on how to get there.
In the control group, participants were asked to write freely about an early memory.
The researchers found that self-critics benefited most from the optimism exercises, while those with more dependent personalities got more out of the self-compassion notes.