- The Local Optimist Digest
- The Local Optimist Digest #45
The Local Optimist Digest #45
The power and danger of obsession, how the pandemic affected our memory, and the benefits of nostalgic thinking.
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 the gratitude practices to reduce stress, how the pandemic affected our memory, and the power of nostalgia.
The Power And Danger Of Obsession
Obsession is a complex phenomenon. In some moments, it is a powerful force that can drive us to great heights. In other instances, it may lead us down a destructive path. While harmless obsessions can be enjoyable and enriching, some people struggle with obsessions that interfere with daily life. But why do some thoughts become obsessions while others do not? Experts share insights, exploring the role of dopamine in obsession, the influence of our genes on obsessive behavior, and the distinction between normal obsession and obsessive-compulsive disorder (OCD). READ.
The Science Of Forgetting Pandemic Memories
Did you know that the COVID-19 pandemic may be affecting your memory? Researchers have been investigating the relationship between the pandemic and our brain's ability to retain information. Their findings highlight that factors such as stress, isolation, and grief can all play a role in how well we remember things. In addition, researchers are actively exploring how information overload and monotony interfere with memory. Experts in psychology and neuroscience share their insights and provide strategies for coping with memory loss in the wake of the pandemic. READ.
The 988 Suicide Lifeline Is Expanding Its LGBTQ+ Services
The 988 Suicide & Crisis Lifeline has taken a critical step towards addressing mental health disparities among the LGBTQ+ community by expanding its services to offer better support to individuals in crisis. The lifeline's LGBTQ-specific pilot program launched in September after an initial $7.2 million investment from the U.S. Substance Abuse and Mental Health Services Administration (SAMHSA). According to the chief lifeline officer, LGBTQIA youth are one of the most vulnerable groups at risk of suicide. By offering inclusive and accessible support through its expanded services, 988 is breaking down barriers and providing affirming care for the LGBTQ+ community. READ.
4 Gratitude Practices To Reduce Stress And Boost Happiness
Fill a gratitude photo album on your phone. Add at least one photo a day of something that makes you feel grateful or reminds you of a happy moment.
Take a breath to restore your patience. Take breathing breaks to cultivate patience and calmness.
Share your attitude of gratitude with others. Push yourself to express gratitude and compassion to someone every day.
Conclude your day with gratitude. Every night, reflect and write down three things you are grateful for.
The Benefits Of Nostalgia: Why We Turn To Happy Memories In Times Of Distress
Defined as a self-conscious, social emotion, bittersweet but predominantly positive, nostalgia develops out of a combination of happy memories and a yearning for past experiences. Psychologists have found that nostalgia serves as a defense response to unhappiness, as the feeling can boost people’s sense of life’s meaning, raise optimism, and lower an existential reaction to the idea of death. It is crucial, however, to balance past, present and future thinking to avoid using nostalgic memories as a coping mechanism to escape current issues. Experts explore the benefits of nostalgia and provide practical tips for harnessing its power to improve mental health and build stronger social connections. READ.
Girls on the Run
This week, we're excited to highlight Girls on the Run, a nonprofit organization devoted to empowering young girls at pivotal stages in their lives. Their mission is to inspire girls to lead joyful, healthy, and self-assured lives through an exciting, experiential curriculum. By recognizing the crucial link between physical and emotional well-being, Girls on the Run’s extensive network of local councils delivers engaging programming to schools and community sites throughout the United States and Canada. To learn more about Girls on the Run and how you can support their mission, head HERE.
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