Here is a short list of activities that can boost your mental health. Take 20 minutes out of your day to fuel your imagination, calm your mind, and invigorate your soul.
1. Take a short walk in nature
3. Organize one closet or one drawer
5. Sing out loud
6. Dance while you are singing
7. Drink hot tea
8. Soak in some sun--get that Vitamin D
9. Arrange some flowers, taking time to smell each one
11. Read a book
12. Do yoga
13. Journal with your favorite pen
14. Learn a new dance move
15. Call a friend
16. Eat one piece of chocolate, slowly
17. Vacuum your house
18. Moisturize your face and body
19. Watch a sitcom or a comedy show
20. Play an instrument
According to a 2017 Harvard study published in the Journal of Personality and Social Psychology, asking a question and then asking at least two follow-up questions will dramatically increase how likable you are.
We converse with others to learn what they know, their information, stories, preferences, ideas, thoughts, and feelings, as well as what we know while managing others' perceptions of us. When we ask more questions, we are perceived as higher in responsiveness, an interpersonal construct that captures listening, understanding, validation, and care.
Asking a few questions, and actually listening to the answers, and people will like you more. It sounds too good to be true, but it is.
Around 40% of our everyday speech is spent telling other people about our subjective experiences. Not facts or instructions or outcome-based conversations, which account for another chunk of our everyday speech, but what we think or feel. Talking about ourselves, whether in person or on social media, increases activity in brain regions associated with the sense of reward and satisfaction gained from food, money, or sex.
We want and need to talk about ourselves. Therefore, when you actively help other people talk about themselves, they will see you as a great conversationalist. They will feel better about themselves, because they will feel like you care about them.
Say you meet someone new. As soon as you learn a little about them, ask how they did or do it? How they felt? Or what they like about it, learned from it, or what advice they might have? Asking at least two follow-up questions shows you respect the other person's experiences, knowledge, opinions, etc. You respect them as a person. This makes you a more likable person and helps to build the foundation for a genuine relationship.
Friendship is hard: finding new friends, maintaining relationships, and navigating conflict are all difficult tasks. There’s no way around this fact.
Especially as a 20-something, making friends seems harder and harder as responsibilities grow and free time shrinks. But another thing is undeniably true: friendship is worth the struggle. We are made for connection.
I think the quality of our friendships can often be traced to the quality of the time we spend together. As we get older, friendship can sometimes be crammed into the space of lunch breaks or evening dinner plans. While there’s nothing wrong with these things, they don’t really build the kind of memories that lead to rich connections.
As kids, we inherently knew this. We rode bikes with our friends, became mini entrepreneurs with thriving lemonade stands, and went on long adventures in our neighborhoods. As adults, our relationships center more around good conversation than the activities we do together. We need people we can discuss ideas with and people that can join us on active adventures. The richest friendships contain both ingredients.
Here are some ideas to bring creativity to your friendships:
TOUR YOUR OWN CITY
Instead of going to your favorite lunch spot, look up popular activities in your town. No matter where you live, chances are there is a tourist attraction within a day’s drive that you (or your friend) may have never visited.
When friends share fundamental values, they share a common bond that’s deeper than gossip or mutual friends. Google nonprofits in your town and choose one whose mission resonates with you.
FIND AN EVENT OR CLASS TO DO TOGETHER
Maybe you want to learn how to cook, have been dying to try goat yoga, or have been thinking of renting a plot in your local community garden. Learning a new skill or laughing your way through a yoga class might be the ticket to forging a lasting relationship.
PLAN A TRIP SOMEWHERE NEW
A friend of mine says that the best way to fast-track a friendship is to travel together. Travel not only forms beautiful memories, but it brings together the good and the bad: being stuck in a car together, learning who is a morning person and who is not, and trying not to get lost on the way to your Airbnb. Trips don’t have to be extravagant to be wonderful.
Even in friendship, we can get stuck in a rut and start to feel the relationship become mundane. Rich connections are formed when we build them on adventure, on shared values, and on vulnerability. Have the courage to try something new with a friend. Even if you find that it’s not your cup of tea, at the end of the day, you’ll have a great story to tell.
Life can be hectic with never-ending to-do lists, stressful working conditions, and a feeling of always being on the go, especially during the pandemic.
Even though the modern world is fast-paced, you can still learn to live a mindful life. Mindfulness is a skill that can be learned with some practice.
The first step towards being mindful throughout the day is to bring mindfulness into everything you do.
If you find this hard, try to put "mindfulness reminders" throughout the day to remind you where to bring your awareness. For example, you can put a note at your workspace to remind you to do some mindful stretching.
Now for the specific tips to mindful living:
The following information is meant for reflection. It is not meant to serve as a comprehensive list of everything that may help a child following a divorce.
For further information, consult with a trusted mental health professional.
Hurtful To The Child
Helpful To The Child
We are 11 months into the pandemic, and your child is feeling the effects. Social distancing, virtual school, the loss of sports, choir, band, and connections to friends are overwhelming your child or teen. His energy level is down. She hardly sees friends. All of their "free" time is on screens. They likely need of a few ways to find joy. Here are some tips to cultivate more joy with your child right now.
Do you remember what school was like when you were a kid? Were you more concerned with grades, friends, parties, dances, sports, or popularity? Yes, your teen might be acting as if COVID-19 was introduced only to ruin their life, but don't overreact. Take a moment to put yourself in her proverbial shoes. It really is a tough time, and she doesn't have the life experience you have. Whatever means you use, meditation, yoga, deep breathing, walks or runs, eating Oreos , try to get your emotions back into check. This balance will enable you to manage your own emotions and be empathetic to your child.
If you are okay, they'll be okay.
As parents, we are our children's social and emotional coping models. You, too, are tired of COVID-19, and you miss your friends. Don't try to pretend that all is well in the world. Holiday festivities were just cancelled or virtual. It is hard! Show your children you are human too. Share your frustrations. Commiserate. Hold a mini pity party with your child. Eat popcorn, dance, laugh, and try to embrace this time together.
Promote a respectful tone and banter.
We all have times when our tone does not reflect our intentions. Chances are you have used that sharp tone of voice with your children. Model using a tone that communicates respect, when humanly possible. Start by asking the whole family, including you, to pay attention to words and tone. This way the child who struggles the most is not singled out. The whole family can try to be more considerate. Be sure to share with your children what respectful looks like, and admit to them when you struggle with showing them respect. Consider a code word or reminder that family members can use when that sharp tone is used. Eventually, you will catch it before you will need to be told.
Continue to emphasize your child's interests and strengths.
Part of your teen's grief process is that the activities, social connections, and past infrastructure that she adored are not available right now. Now is the time to put on your creative hat. What did your son enjoy about hockey? Why was there a spark when your daughter steps on stage? How can you tap into those sources of happiness? Identifying and harnessing strengths is invaluable and produces positive energy while reducing the feelings of being trapped.
Collaborate and pick a daily activity to cope with frustrations and emotions.
Each day that is unproductive or spent in solitary can potentially be a day that brings disappointment. Teens are notorious for rejecting advice, but if shrouded in fun, they may be amenable. When your teen is in an environment and in a mood to chat, jot down some ideas together. What activities can they do each day of the week or the month? Perhaps an athletic kid can do more outdoor activities. A trip to the craft store can foster some much-deserved creativity. The point here is to build on strengths, develop new interests, and strengthen relationships.
Parenting in a pandemic is not easy. Breaking the mold of same-old, same-old may be just the ticket to getting over the hump and creating the family ties that nurture each family member.
This time of year we usually gather with family and friends far and wide to enjoy the holidays. The coronavirus pandemic has altered some of those traditional rituals we usually engage in around the holidays.
2020 forced most of us to look around and consider all the little blessings in our lives, (sometimes hiding in plain sight,) but in relative abundance once we paid attention to them.
I hope you make your own gratitude list for the tiny miracles that bring you joy each day. It’s a practice worth doing and can improve your mood during a typically difficult time. What are you grateful for this year?
Nine in 10 adults derive happiness from small wonders such as a short line at the grocery store, a thoughtful text from a loved one, or a nice gesture from a stranger. Pay kindness forward to a passerby and you’ll find the benefits can be exponential.
The Top 50 Little Joys of 2020
1. Seeing your family
2. Seeing your friends
3. A hug
4. Receiving an unexpected money rebate or refund
5. Getting into bed with fresh sheets
6. Receiving a compliment
7. Getting a great bargain
8. A smile from a stranger
9. Seeing a great sunset or sunrise
10. Receiving an unexpected gift
11. Finding money in your pocket that you forgot about
12. Feeling the sun on your face in autumn
13. Birds singing in the morning
14. The smell of freshly cut grass
15. Receiving a call or text from a friend or family member
16. Ticking off something which has been on your to-do list for a while
17. Seeing a rainbow
18. Your favorite song coming on the radio
19. Crunching autumn leaves on a walk
20. A long weekend
21. Great customer service
22. No line at your favorite store
23. Finishing a good book
24. Putting on comfy clothes at the end of the day
25. An unexpected ‘buy one get one free’ offer
26. When someone compliments you
27. Someone holding a door open for you
28. That smell just after it has rained
29. Waking up early and realizing you have hours left to sleep
30. Receiving a card or letter rather than a text
31. Waking up and realizing it’s the weekend when you thought it was a weekday
32. The feeling after sorting a drawer or cupboard
33. Getting a quick reply to a customer service query
34. The satisfaction of eating a homegrown vegetable / home-baked bread
35. Keeping on top of your bills
36. Getting a better deal on your energy and saving money
37. Finding a forgotten stash of chocolate
38. A moment of peace in the bath
39. A quick chat with your neighbor
40. Paying off an outstanding bill
41. The satisfaction of clearing out your wardrobe
42. Taking a nap
43. Getting the last item before it sold out
44. Having all the right ingredients for a recipe in the cupboard already
45. Your hair looking good when you wake up
46. Completing a grocery run without forgetting anything
47. Discovering a new series on Netflix
48. Relief of knowing your bills won’t increase
49. Free WiFi
50. The smell of soil when gardening
I am certain that, like me, you probably have a journal or two or ten lying around your place with pristine spines and pages. You probably bought the notebook with great intentions or perhaps it was gifted to you by a friend or family member. As the shelter-in-place continues and the weather gets colder, grab that journal, some colorful pens and a hot cup of cocoa. Hopefully, one or more of these ideas might tickle your fancy and promote your creativity!
Here we are six months into the shelter-in-place due to the COVID-19 pandemic. Here are some fun and stimulating ways to get those mental gears moving during the Fall of 2020.
1. Study a new language
Now is an excellent time to focus your attention on learning a new language. With today's technology, learning a new language is easier than ever! There are several free apps, like Duolingo and Babbel, that help you to learn a new language. All you need to do is select the app, download it, select the language you are most interested in learning, and dedicate some time each day to learning it.
2. Start a new workout routine
Believe it or not, a great daily workout can help stimulate the mind. Not only will you keep your brain active, but you will keep your body healthy and moving while sheltering at home. Yoga, sprints, learning new dance moves, walking, biking, kayaking, tennis are all great options. Make it fun!
3. Make some tea or hot chocolate
and work on a puzzle
Whether you prefer a rousing game of Sudoku or you are a master chess player, playing games helps to keep your mind stimulated and active. Doing different puzzles will encourage you to use your brain in new ways.
4. Get outside
As we all know, fresh air and communing in nature is healthy for our minds, bodies, and souls. Go for a nature walk and photograph interesting plants, explore a new nearby trail, do some gardening, or plant some new flowers or vegetables.
5. Give yourself permission to relax
While this may not seem like a way to stimulate your mind, rest is essential to mental stimulation and creativity. Take a soothing bath, an afternoon nap, meditate for 10-15 minutes, or listen to relaxing acoustic music and find your mind and body rejuvenated.
Miranda J. Gabriel, Psy.D.
A licensed clinical psychologist providing psychotherapy to children, teens, and adults in the San Francisco Bay Area.
Information and opinions found on this website
are not substitutes for
medical or psychological advice. Dr. Gabriel can't answer questions about someone's specific situation or give
personal advice. Please see the Disclaimer section under the Contact Page for more information.