The time of year and the events of the day sometimes seem to conspire to sink our spirits, and it is hard to be creative when our spirits are low. Therefore, I am dedicating this article to some tips for helping us to see the glass as half full!
1. Nothing Fishy about Unhappiness
Two studies, one from Finland, one from Japan, suggest that eating fish contributes to a positive state of mind. The Finish study showed that people who eat fish at least twice a week have a 37% lower risk of depression and a 43 % lower risk of suicidal thoughts than those who don't. The long-term, large-group Japanese study also found that those who ate fish daily had a decreased risk of suicide.
TIP: If you do not like eating fish, take supplements that contain fish oil supplements (they have no taste or smell).
2. Positive Thinking Works - Part One
A Chinese study reveals that women who were taught to focus on positive thoughts about upcoming surgery (for example, how much less pain they would have once their problem was corrected) experienced less pain and anxiety than woman who were merely educated about the surgical procedure itself.
TIP: If you are anxious about an upcoming event, take time to consider the positive aspects and focus on those regularly.
3. Positive Thinking Works - Part Two
A study of 586 Americans with a family history of heart disease revealed that optimists in the group were only half as likely to develop heart disease as the others. The study, done by the Johns Hopkins Center for Health Promotion, took into account variables such as cholesterol levels, body fat, diet, smoking, etc.
TIP: We now know that optimism can be learned (see the book, Learned Optimism by Martin Seligman) so if you tend to see the cloud rather than the silver lining, it might be worth devoting some time to developing this skill.
4. New Information on St John's Wort
You may already know that the herbal supplement St. Johns Wort has been used in Europe for years as a treatment for depression. Now the American Council for Responsible Nutrition has declared it as "safe and beneficial for mild to moderate depression, stress, and anxiety."
TIP: If you are on any kind of medication, check with your doctor before taking St. Johns Wort, because it can render some drugs less effective.
5. Make Your Own Luck
Why do some people always seem to land on their feet? Is it luck, fate, or something else? Steve Nowicki, a psychologist who has been studying this for 30 years was quoted in a Sunday Times article as saying the key is to be an internalist. He says internalists analyse, act, and learn from whatever the outcome. Another study showed that people who consider themselves to be lucky tend to be optimists, extroverts, and risk-takers. Therefore they may place themselves in positions where they have more chances of meeting people who might help them.
TIP: Whether things go right or wrong, take time to analyse why they went the way they did, and whether there are any lessons you can draw from the experience. If you already keep a journal daily or weekly, consider adding a section for this kind of analysis.
6. And a Final Thought A quote from H. T. Leslie: The game of life is not so much holding a good hand as playing a poor hand well.