The Local Optimist Digest #52

The Surgeon General's advisory on the loneliness epidemic, how to stop a worry spiral, and the benefits of forgiving someone.

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 Surgeon General's advisory on the loneliness epidemic, the emotional benefits of forgiveness, and what is causing a rise in discomfort with intimacy across America.

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Surgeon General's Advisory On The Epidemic Of Loneliness And Isolation

The Surgeon General of the United States, Dr. Vivek Murthy, has released a new advisory addressing the public health crisis of loneliness, isolation, and lack of connection in the country. The advisory stresses the importance of connection, speaking to the potential consequences that feelings of disconnection may have on mental, physical, and societal health. The Surgeon General provides recommendations for individuals, governments, workplaces, health systems, and community organizations to improve social connections across the United States. READ.

The Emotional Benefits Of Forgiveness

To resent or to forgive is an age-old question. But which is better for your mental health? Researchers explore the impacts both decisions have on our happiness levels and overall perceived quality of life. Through interviews with psychologists and people who have experienced the transformative effects of forgiveness, experts highlight why it is better for our stress levels, relationships, and emotional resilience to live and let live. READ.

The Mental Health Impacts Of Smartphone Addiction

There is no doubt that smartphones have revolutionized the way we live, work, and communicate. While they offer numerous benefits, the increasing use of these devices has raised concerns about addiction and the potential mental health impacts associated with overuse. Experts explore how excessive smartphone use compares to generalized internet addiction, with the hope of understanding how their symptoms, causes, and links to possible mental health problems such as anxiety, depression, and sleep disorders differ from each other in our rapidly evolving world. READ.

3 Ways To Stop A Worry Spiral

  1. Schedule a "worry time" for just 5-10 minutes to address your worries. Write them down and focus on finding solutions. This helps contain your anxious thoughts and prevents them from consuming your entire day.

  2. Do something sensory like going for a walk or practicing the 5-4-3-2-1 exercise (look at 5 things, touch 4 surfaces, listen to 3 sounds, smell 2 things, and notice the taste in your mouth). This helps reduce stress hormones that contribute to worry spirals.

  3. Check-in with yourself by asking what you need in the present moment, what you may need later on, and who can help ground your thoughts and emotions. This helps you take action to address your worries and prevent them from spiraling out of your control.

Read MORE.

Armstrong Roberts / Getty

Understanding The Rise Of Discomfort With Intimacy

Although unclear as to exactly why, psychologists have noticed a rise in discomfort with intimacy among Americans in recent years. Given the rise of digital communication and the decline of face-to-face interaction, some experts believe this discomfort stems from our underlying attachment styles. Social psychologists explore the four different types of attachment styles outlined in the attachment theory, drawing on research in psychology and neuroscience to examine the repercussions of insecure attachment and understand ways to cultivate more secure attachment styles. READ.

American Association Of Suicidology

This week, we are excited to highlight the American Association of Suicidology (AAS), an organization created with a mission to understand and prevent suicide. AAS conducts research, provides education and training, promotes evidence-based treatment and interventions, and advocates for policies and legislation that support suicide prevention efforts. To learn more about AAS and ways to support, head HERE.

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