Satisfaction with life as well as overall happiness can sometimes feel like fleeting concepts. But there are a few strategies that people can follow in order to stay happier and maintain a sense of good mental health.
There are nearly always days when individuals feel like the world is out to get them. Work issues, family dynamics and depressing news headlines can all feel like a weight on a person’s happiness. A human brain’s thoughts and emotions are complex with problems sometimes being equally complex. Yet there are some practical steps that people can take which can help to lift their mood and start them down the right path.
These are not magical cures or intended as a replacement for visiting a medical center or psychiatric practice. These hints are simply a collection of coping mechanisms and thought processes to help people see their world in a different light.
Pitfalls to the Pursuit of Happiness:
Individuals should understand the difference between feeling a little down and severe depression or major depressive disorder (MDD). For diagnosed cases of depression, roughly 6 to 7 percent of the U.S. population receives clinical treatment for depression. Depression, as a behavioral health concern, is a condition that requires treatment from a trained mental health professional.
Individuals with MDD usually experience a loss of interest in hobbies and other regular activities. People with this undiagnosed condition will find it difficult to perform many daily activities, and in the long-term may start to experience physical health issues. Anyone who believes they may be suffering from MDD should seek help from an experienced behavioral health professional.
The use of substances to treat feeling of sadness is more common than people think. Some individuals may engage in a behavior that psychiatrist call emotional or stress eating. The consumption of food is used as a replacement or way to ignore an underlying mental health issue.
In other situations, people may turn to substances to numb or mask the feelings. Drugs and alcohol are used as a way to self-regulate mood and thoughts. This behavior is destructive on the human body and can create other mental health concern such as addiction.
Strategies for Happiness & Good Mental Health:
Sometimes people are presented with general advice for better mental health such as play a favorite song and or call a friend. But, there are strategies that people can follow which can help. As with most things, people should start with small changes and be patient. With this in mind, here are some strategies for better mental health.
 Count the Positives in Your Life:
It may be overstated at times, but when people count the things in their life that they are thankful for. For example, Individuals can create simple lists that contain 5 or 7 things that they are grateful to have in their life. Studies have found that a sense of gratitude is linked to more positive emotions such as happiness and contentment. Doing this activity once a week is a good start. Overtime, people can increase how often they perform this activity.
 Limit Social Media Consumption:
Social media is a great way to stay up to date on events and connect with other individuals and groups. However, many negative feelings are linked to and appear to originate from social media posts, tweets and videos. An increasing amount of research is suggesting that heavy social media consumption is correlated with some mental health conditions. In addition, engaging in social media activity at bedtime may create sleep problems.
The excessive viewing idealized images may create long-term negative consequence. Additional research is needed on this topic as social media usage invades more and more aspects of modern society. People should control how many hours a day they spend on various social media platforms.
 Mindfulness and Meditative Activities:
Some people may not feel as inspired to practice mindfulness activity. For some people who practice quietly sitting, they may feel unwelcomed thoughts (rumination) entering their mind. Yet, for some individuals, this activity can help. Regular mindfulness practice can produce benefits and lower a person’s stress levels. Studies have shown that roughly 80 percent of Americans have a difficult time relaxing. The regular activity of practicing controlled and focused breathing, maintaining good posture and inflating their diaphragm can create positive results.
 Problem-solving and Reframing:
Individuals should find ways to problem solve issues in their life. It is much easier to complain and use negative emotions to vent frustrations and hopelessness. This is not always easy to do, so people should be patient with themselves and not overly critical.
By gradually working to reframe stressful circumstances individuals can gain some control of a stressful situation. The focus should be on what can be controlled versus what can not be controlled. With time and practice, a problem-solving and reframing approach can decrease feelings of anxiety.
These strategies are only intended to be used as general advice. They are not a replacement for licensed medical treatments. If individuals are struggling with severe feelings of depression or other mental health issues, they should seek professional psychiatric help.
About the author:
Emerald Psychiatry & TMS Center provides experienced and compassionate mental health services in Dublin, Ohio. They treat a wide variety of conditions ranging from depression and anxiety disorders to substance abuse and PTSD. For questions about this topic or to schedule an appointment, contact them by email or by phone. Their direct office number is (614) 580-6917.
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Contributor: ABCS RCM