Raising Your Mood Will Improve Your Health

>> Sunday

From Science Daily earlier this month, in an article entitled Happiness Improves Health and Lengthens Life, Review Finds, we find more evidence that can help you increase your motivation to take your own mood seriously. This latest review is known as a meta-study. Here's a quote from the article:

The study, in the journal Applied Psychology: Health and Well-Being, is the most comprehensive review so far of the evidence linking happiness to health outcomes. Its lead author, University of Illinois professor emeritus of psychology Ed Diener, who also is a senior scientist for the Gallup Organization, of Princeton, N.J., analyzed long-term studies of human subjects, experimental human and animal trials, and studies that evaluate the health status of people stressed by natural events.

"We reviewed eight different types of studies," Diener said. "And the general conclusion from each type of study is that your subjective well-being — that is, feeling positive about your life, not stressed out, not depressed — contributes to both longevity and better health among healthy populations."

Do something today that will help you feel less depressed, less stressed, or more positive about your life. Here are some ideas to get you started: The Top Ten Ways To Raise Your Mood.

Adam Khan is the author of Slotralogy and co-author with Klassy Evans of What Difference Does It Make?: How the Sexes Differ and What You Can Do About It.

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How to Reframe What Seems to be a Negative Event

>> Thursday

On Amazon.com, there are 38 reviews of my first book. Most of them are positive, but a few are negative. And of course, because of my brain’s negative bias, at first the negative ones stuck out in my mind and had more emotional impact than all the other positive reviews combined.

I used three reframes for this and they worked so well I'm not bothered by the negative reviews. In fact, I’m actually glad they are there.

There is a difference between “trying to think positive” or “putting a positive spin” on something and actually reframing it. You can tell if you have a genuine reframe if your feelings change. I really, honestly do not feel any negative feelings from these critical reviews. If I still did, then I would know I’m just trying to talk myself into something I really don’t believe. Here are my three reframes:

1. I get to find out what is not good about my book, and since I plan on writing more books, it could be useful information.

2. A few bad reviews helps people make a better decision about buying my book, which should in theory prevent people who wouldn’t like it from buying it.

3. The few bad reviews keep a buyer’s expectations from soaring too high. If a potential customer only read the positive reviews, she might think Self-Help Stuff That Works is the answer to all the world’s problems, and it isn’t. Not only that, but the bad reviews all criticize the same thing, and it is one of the things that the positive reviews almost all praise: That the chapters are short. The people who criticized it wanted something more in-depth. The ones who praised it like the fact that the chapters are brief, to the point, and practical. By having both kinds of reviews, a potential buyer can make a better, more informed decision.

In other words, about the bad reviews, I can genuinely say: “That’s good!”

I created these reframes deliberately. When I first read those reviews, I felt bad. It was kind of upsetting. My feelings were hurt.

So I sat down and wrote as many reframes as I could in a half hour. I set a timer and made myself continue to come up with reframes until the timer went off.

Then I looked through them. Most of them were not very good and some of them were downright stupid, but the three above made sense to me and changed the way I felt about the reviews.

That's a good method for reframing. Make a long list. In your effort to come up with reframes, you'll come up with good ones and bad ones, but some of the bad ones will give you ideas that will help you come up with good ones. How's that for a reframe of the dumb ideas?

Don't judge your reframes until you're done coming up with them. Then look through them and see if any seem like sensible ways to look at the situation. Circle the ones that make sense, or write them on a separate piece of paper and post them somewhere. Let the new ways of thinking sink in and see if they make a difference.

Read more: Seeing The Same Thing a Different Way

Adam Khan is the author of Antivirus For Your Mind: How to Strengthen Your Persistence and Determination and Feel Good More Often and co-author with Klassy Evans of Viewfinder: How to Change the Way You Look at Things.

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Improve Your Mood With T5

>> Monday

One of the things I've done over the years that consistently improves my mood over many days is what I've come to call "T5." It stands for "take the time to think." I have never read anything about it. No books seem to exist on the subject. The practice has grown out of the writing exercises from Undemoralize Yourself.

To T5, all you have to do is sit still without doing anything. How often do you do that? For me, I always have lots to do, and if I'm not doing something, I'm watching a movie or listening to music. My mind is almost continually engaged.

When I sit still, after about fifteen minutes, my mind seems to go into a defrag mode. Unresolved issues bubble up and get resolved. My mind seems to naturally sort itself out. It feels almost as if I had things I needed to think about that were pushed to the back of my mind, waiting for an opportunity.

I always have a paper and pen handy when I T5 because I always get solutions to problems or things I want to remember to do later, and it interferes with the process to try to remember something. So I write it down. Then I can take my mind off it.

After a half hour or an hour, I feel so much better, and I feel better for days afterwards. But every time I do it, I always have to make myself do it. I always do it reluctantly. I don't like to sit still. I don't want to think. But I do it anyway because the rewards are so great. And I've gotten into the habit of setting a timer, usually for an hour, sometimes for less, and I stay put until the timer goes off. Then I am not waffling about how much longer I should sit there. My mind can settle in and do its thing.

You can also T5 while walking if you have a place to walk where you won't run into people you know. You can read more about that here: Constitutional Right.

If you want a clear, peaceful mind, if you want to raise your mood, try T5. I think you'll be surprised at how well it works.

Read more: Take the Time to Think.

Adam Khan is the author of Antivirus For Your Mind: How to Strengthen Your Persistence and Determination and Feel Good More Often and co-author with Klassy Evans of Viewfinder: How to Change the Way You Look at Things.

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Feel good more often and become more effective with your actions. Check it out on Amazon: Self-Help Stuff That Works.

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