If you're unhappy because you can't seem to get over a traumatic or stressful event, you may have trouble sleeping, working, and relating to others as well as you'd like to. If that's the case, try expressive writing.
As recounted in Richard Wiseman's excellent book, :59 Seconds, a number of studies have shown that people who spent a few minutes each day writing about their thoughts and deep feelings about the traumatic event experienced a "remarkable boost in their psychological and physical well-being." They had fewer health issues than a similar control group and increased their happiness and self-esteem.
Typically, the participants wrote about things like losing their job, the end of a relationship, or a major mistake they made that had negative consequences, but you can write about anything that is causing you distress and keeping you from moving on.
YOUR ACTION PLAN:
At the start, rate your happiness from 1 to 10, one being totally unhappy, 10 being joyful most of the time. This is a totally subjective scale, but that doesn't matter; you'll only be comparing yourself with yourself.
Every day for a week, spend a few minutes writing, ideally by hand, about whatever you want to get over. This is not for anybody' else's eyes, so don't worry about making neatness or mistakes. If you like, you can throw it away as soon as you've written it or at the end of the week.
At the end of the week, rate your happiness again. If your score has improved but you feel you might get additional value by repeating the exercise for another week, do so.
If you feel this method has taken you as far as it can, move on to the exercise in the next post. Of course, you can do more than one type of exercise per day if you have the time.
Note for writers: If you're suffering from a writing block or want to get over rejections, this is an ideal tool.
If you missed the post on what doesn't work, you'll find it here.