Category : Mental Health and Addictions
7 Ways to Get Psychologically Healthier, Quickly
When the stress and wear and tear of everyday life gets us down, there are small things that we can do that will allow us to take a break and improve our well-being. Here are some research-supported practices that can help us feel better and less stressed or troubled:
- Express Gratitude. Research in positive psychology has discovered the benefits of expressing gratitude—appreciating what we have, or thanking someone for something positive they have done for or given us. Not only can gratitude make us feel better and more optimistic, but it increases empathy, and, if expressed to a friend or loved one, makes them feel better, too.
- Laugh and Be Happy. Laughter may not be the best medicine, but it certainly can make us feel better. Laughter can increase energy, and it’s hard to feel stressed when you are laughing. Even smiling can have an effect. Research on the facial feedback effect found that when participants were made to smile (by holding a pencil between their teeth), it increased their feelings of happiness. In addition, laughter is infectious and can lighten a tense situation, or make another person feel better.
- Take a Break. Taking a break from the everyday grind—a weekend getaway, a round of golf, a good workout, a shopping spree—can provide welcome stress relief. The critical element, however, is to truly “take a break,” and not sit ruminating on what you are not getting done. Rewarding yourself with a break is a quick way to get some relief.
- Count Your Blessings. Related to gratitude, this is actually taking inventory of the good things in your life. Focusing too much on the negatives, leads to pessimism and, in extremes, can make us feel hopeless and helpless. Focus on the positives—good friends, good times, your talents and strengths—and you should feel better.
- Visit Someone Who Needs You. Being a support to friends or loved ones in their time of sickness or trouble not only makes them feel better, but can improve your well-being, both through the shared camaraderie, and from knowing that you are helping them get through a difficult time.
- Spend Quality Time With a Loved One. Nothing is more rewarding than spending focused, positive time with someone you love. Whether it is a romantic dinner, an outing with a child, reminiscing with parents, or an enjoyable activity with a sibling or best friend, these intense, focused interactions lead to the positive memories that will get us through future hard times.
- Volunteer or Help Someone. Many people engage in volunteer work simply because it makes them feel good to know that they are helping others. And it's an easy thing to do because there are so many structured volunteer organizations.
You may notice connections between these positive practices – helping others, positive emotions, sharing. These are the elements that lead to a positive and psychologically healthy life.