Writing down a 'happy list' at the start of each working day can help stressed out workers relax and improve their problem solving skills, a new study reveals.
Researchers from Carnegie Mellon University in Pittsburg, US, asked 73 students to write a short essay on subjects such as the importance of friends and family.
AdvertisementA group of students rated their levels of stress over last month, and half the group then performed the self-affirmation exercise.
While the stressed-out students had been found to have performed nearly 50 percent worse on a problem-solving test, after writing the essay their scores caught up.
David Creswell, assistant Professor in psychology at the university said: "A brief self-affirmation activity is sufficient to buffer the negative effects of chronic stress on task performance and can improve the ability to solve problems in a flexible manner during high stress periods."
"Our study suggests that self-affirmation may increase creativity and insight in stressed individuals."
Earlier studies had shown how self-affirmation exercises could reduce acute stress. But the link between these improvements and chronic stress-related effects was unknown.