A list of ways you can improve your emotional health:
- Banish negative people – a sad fact about the world we live in is there will always be negative people. These are people who are hurt or scared and are not handling their emotions in a productive way. They typically redirect negative emotions in nonproductive ways, including towards you. You need to not allow this and have a strong emotional barrier to not allow their emotional state affect you negatively. It’s hard, but necessary.
- Honor positive people. Give attention and spend time with people in your life who you recognize as good for you. We are social animals. Find and make new friends. Say ‘hi’ to strangers on the street, but don’t be weird about it.
- Stop complaining – your words feed your thoughts which feed your actions. Be aware of when you are complaining and how it affects you and the situation you’re in. Is it helping? Great post about this and how to change a bad complaining habit here: http://www.fourhourworkweek.com/blog/2007/09/18/real-mind-control-the-21-day-no-complaint-experiment/. Order the bracelets here.
- Be present – anguishing about past injustices or fretting about the future doesn’t help you. Be present.
- Be grateful – one of the easiest ways for me to improve my mood is to just take a second and think about all the good things I’ve had and have in my life. I think about some of the great experiences I had, people in my past that I’ve loved, and the abundance I have today, ignoring for a minute the constant internal push for more. You can also think about people who probably have bigger obstacles than you, but still add light to the world, like Nick Vujicic.
- Stop worrying – constant worry is a completely unproductive emotion. Recognize worry, acknowledge it, understand what is causing it, and then take concrete steps to resolve the issue, even if it is just a plan. But know if you make a plan you have to be able to trust yourself enough that you’ll complete the plan. If the worry is unfounded, or is due to an issue beyond your control (omg she doesn’t like me or oh no we’re all going to die someday), just knock it off. There’s nothing you can do about it so there’s no sense in worrying.
- Limit/filter media consumption – man oh man what the media has become. The fact of the matter is much of traditional (print, TV, advertising) and new (“social”, e.g. facebook, twitter, instagram, etc.) is manipulative, sensationalist, and negative. Why it’s that way is a complicated question. Suffice it to say you should limit your regular media intake and seek out unbiased, non-sensationalist, honest media. It’s hard. People are clever and they will trick you. You must be ever vigilant. Maybe even take a media fast?
- Meditate – I’m no meditation expert, but like the concept of quieting the constant chatter in one’s head to simply “get some peace and quiet.”
- Get out in nature – like meditation, getting out in nature can give you perspective. You’ve heard the phase “don’t sweat the small stuff” and “it’s all small stuff.” In the grander scene of things that is undeniability true. Humans have existed for a infinitesimally small amount time in the history of the universe, and we won’t last forever. In that context doesn’t that mean thing Joe muttered seem comically trivial?
- Study science – another way to gain perspective. I’ve a bachelor’s degree in science, so I’m used to studying science, but these days there are so many accessible ways to experience science (e.g. www.youtube.com/user/scishow) that will just blow your mind.
- Perform a random act of kindness – there’s plenty of examples of what to do online. Performing a random act of kindness to benefit someone you know or even a complete stranger will have a remarkable affect on your emotional state.
- Give – money, material things may make you feel lighter, but the most impactful thing you can give is your time. Make someone you care about know you care about them.
- And probably the most important: ACT! – do something, get something done, no matter how small, getting something done that you want to do is what will make you happy.