The Local Optimist Digest #37
The psychology behind feeling sad when you’re sick, how to break the cycle of self-gaslighting, and ways to make gratitude feel less like a chore.
Welcome to The Local Optimist Digest, your crib sheet for the latest news in mental health. Whether you want to know how the government is (or is not) investing in our well-being, discover the latest research on how the mind impacts the body, or find out which celebrities are helping continue the conversation by opening up about their own mental health struggles, we’ll be covering it all here every week. This week, we’re looking at ways to make gratitude feel less like a chore, the psychology behind feeling sad when sick, and how to break the cycle of self-gaslighting.
How To Practice Gratitude Without It Feeling Like An Obligation
Do you ever find yourself wanting to enjoy the benefits of gratitude but find the habit difficult to adopt? Well, you are not alone. Many people find it challenging to practice gratitude. Some common mental barriers to gratitude include feeling impatient, having high expectations, and thinking that the subject might be too sentimental. However, research has shown that practicing gratitude can lead to a wide range of benefits, fostering more positivity, better coping with adversity, and even better physical health. So how can we make practicing gratitude feel less like a chore? READ.
Obligation The Psychology Behind Feeling Sad When You're Sick
Being sick and feeling sad often go hand-in-hand, as feeling ill can negatively impact your mood, energy level, and cognitive function. Research has found that mood changes when you are sick are a symptom of a syndrome known as “sickness behaviors”, a set of behavioral changes that sometimes arise during infections like COVID-19, the flu, and the common cold. Experts investigate why sickness behaviors happen and if there is anything you can do to feel less sad or grouchy when you’re stuck in bed. READ.
How Seeing Body Positivity Online Can Improve Self-Esteem
Good news. A recent study found that following body-positive or appearance-neutral accounts on social media can improve young women's body image and mood. While it has simultaneously been found that scrolling online can lead to negative thoughts about body image, this new study shows that it’s not actually all bad. Even just seeing one post of a diverse body online, was found to work as an effective method for improving self-esteem. READ.
4 Research-Backed Strategies To Manage Productivity Guilt
- Set realistic expectations for the day. The first step towards managing productivity guilt is to organize and break down your tasks in order of priority.
- Try out “behavioral experiments.” Behavioral experiments are practices in which people plan to try new things, make mistakes, and do things imperfectly.
- Understand the difference between being busy and being productive. Busyness is when our day is filled with tasks. Productivity is the state of doing something that helps us move closer to our goals.
- Celebrate small wins and achievements. Remember that not every day is going to be your most productive day ever. Celebrate all of your forward movement, no matter how small it seems.
Self-Gaslighting: What It Means & Ways To Combat It
Between the endless infographics, TikToks and memes telling us all about what it means to ‘gaslight,’ it’s clear that gaslighting is something that many of us have experienced at one point or another. Gaslighting is most commonly known as a manipulative behavior that comes from others, but it can also be self-inflicted. This behavior, referred to as our ‘inner gaslighter mode,’ has the potential to be harmful based on the fact that how we talk to ourselves greatly affects our emotions and how others perceive us. Experts weigh in on the matter and examine how to recognize if you have a tendency to gaslight yourself and methods to address it. READ.
This week, we’re excited to highlight Uncommon Good, a Southern California non-profit that delivers mental health care in innovative ways through Low Intensity Cognitive Behavioral Therapy (LICBT). Created in response to a growing demand for mental health services during the pandemic, LICBT challenges the assumption that the upkeep of mental health needs to be expensive and time-consuming. Using highly trained community members, Uncommon Good offers effective, affordable, linguistically and culturally relevant therapy to low-income populations who would otherwise go without access to such high-quality care. To learn more about Uncommon Good, head HERE.
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