28 May Health and happiness go hand in hand
You’ve probably heard the quote, “An ounce of prevention is worth a pound of cure.” And when it comes to physical health, I think most doctors would agree. This is why primary-care providers spend so much time talking about things like exercising and quitting smoking.
On the other hand, prevention is a radical new idea when it comes to our emotional and mental health. In conventional medicine, we seem to focus on “mental health” only when there is a problem – depression, anxiety and addiction, for example. But we spend precious little time talking to people about emotional wellness.
The irony is that, in the end, most of us want to be happy. And I think medicine has made the assumption that if you aren’t depressed, you must be happy – or at least “fine,” whatever that is.
But the road to happiness is very different than the road to “not depressed.”
Read more of Dr. Astrid Pujari’s article in which she recommends the following useful happiness strategies:
Every night, write down three good things that happened during the day, and then write why you think they happened. Gratitude is a powerful way to help people move from focusing on the negative to the positive. In one small study, doing this daily for one week helped people feel less depressed up to three months later.
Share good news as often as possible. Encourage others when they tell you good news. One researcher found that every time we share good news, we reinforce those feelings in ourselves and in others. Our relationships also tend to be stronger and more positive.
Focus on cultivating one of the five following qualities: love, hope, gratitude, curiosity or vitality. The field of positive psychology lists 24 qualities described as character strengths. These five were found in one study to have the closest link to life satisfaction.
Don’t go for best. Go for satisfactory. Instead of thinking that we need to get the latest and greatest new dishwasher – or whatever the item is – decide what the basic criteria are that you want to meet, and get the first option that meets those criteria. This approach saves emotional energy, time and “buyer’s remorse.”