The Local Optimist Digest #46

The negative impacts of overusing “gaslighting” and other psychological terms, how a 12-minute phone call can benefit our health, and the neuroscience of motivation explored.

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 consequences of misusing terms such as “gaslighting,” “toxic,” and “narcissist,” why we often feel compelled to break rules, and the surprising mental health benefits of a 12-minute phone call.

Getty Images / TIME

The Negative Impacts Of Misusing Psychological Buzzwords

Psychological terms such as “gaslighting,” “toxic”, “love-bombing,” and “triggered,” have picked up popularity and use in conversations, both online and in-person, over the past few years. Many times, these words are justified in the context of the discussion. However, mental health experts warn that the buzzwords are also becoming increasingly overused and misused in casual conversations. Psychologists provide valuable insights into the intersection of psychology and language, by outlining the meanings of these terms, exploring the nuances of gaslighting, and recognizing the harmful effects of toxic behavior. READ

The Psychology Behind Our Urge To Break The Rules

Have you ever felt tempted to break a rule for no real reason or prior motivation? In the TED Talk “The surprising psychology behind your urge to break the rules,” psychologist Paul Bloom explores the psychology behind our natural yearning to break the rules present in our everyday lives. Sharing intriguing insights from scientific research, Bloom reveals that our motivations for rule-breaking are more complex than we may think. From the thrill of the forbidden to our desire for autonomy, Bloom sheds light on why we often find ourselves pushing against the boundaries set by society. WATCH

How A Daily 12-Minute Phone Call Can Benefit Your Health

According to recent research, a 12-minute phone call a day can significantly improve your health and well-being. It’s been found that regular phone calls with loved ones or friends can help reduce stress levels, lower blood pressure, and even boost your immune system. The habit has also proven to help foster feelings of connectivity with the people you dial. So, if you’ve been meaning to pick up the phone and call a friend or family member, consider this your sign. It could be the first step towards a healthier, happier you. READ.

5 Ways To Spring Clean With Mental Wellness In Mind

  1. Use the "ski slope" method: If you feel overwhelmed by a particular space, start in one spot and zig-zag through the room as if you're skiing down a mountain. This will help you create a streamlined plan of attack and develop momentum.

  2. Don't be afraid to declutter using boundaries: Baskets can be useful in creating helpful boundaries between you and your things. They are not only a stylish way to organize clutter, but they also help you visually feel contained.

  3. Stimulate your senses: A simple way to give your home a mindful-focused refresh is through scents. Aromatherapy diffusers or air purifiers can excite your olfactory system and renew you in a quick and easy way. 

  4. Set up a holding box: When cleaning up or letting things go, people often become one of two things: a tosser or a saver. To avoid falling into one of these buckets, set up a box or bin where you can place items you're unsure of for a set amount of time. If you haven't used that item within a designated time frame, you can be more secure in deciding whether to keep or let it go.

  5. Be kind to yourself: When you feel overwhelmed by your home, check in with your expectations of yourself and your space. Avoid personalizing things and instead be kind to yourself, recognizing that you're doing the best you can.

Read MORE.

Shira Inbar / NYT

Unpacking The Neuroscience Of Motivation

Sometimes it’s hard to stay motivated. The pressures to achieve our goals can become overbearing and the brain has a crucial role in determining what is prioritized to keep us moving forward. Researchers have extensively studied the intricate relationship between the brain's reward centers, motivation, and behavior, examining topics ranging from dopamine pathways to the effects of stress and anxiety on the brain. Whether you're an athlete, entrepreneur, or simply someone looking to make positive changes in your life, understanding the neuroscience of motivation could be the key to unlocking your full potential. READ.

Dress For Success

This week, we are excited to highlight Dress for Success, a global non-profit organization that empowers women to achieve economic independence by providing professional attire, a network of support, and career development tools. Founded in 1997, Dress for Success provides a range of services to help women achieve their goals, including professional attire and accessories, interview coaching, resume building, and job search support. To learn more about Dress for Success and how you can support their mission, head HERE.

Get Rewarded for Sharing the Digest

Welcome to our new referral program, in which we give you some goodies for sharing the Digest with people who might enjoy this mental health news recap (and its bad jokes) as much as you do. 

Here's how it works:1: Use the 'Click To Share' button below to access your personal link.2: Send this unique referral link to friends or family through email or text.3: Earn rewards like Local Optimist stickers, The Madhappy Journal, and Madhappy hats when they subscribe to the digest. Must be based in the U.S.