A Psychiatrist Reveals the 10 Best Pieces of Advice to Improve Mental Health and Happiness

A Psychiatrist Reveals the 10 Best Pieces of Advice to Improve Mental Health and Happiness

Experience, they say, is the best teacher and for good reason too. Psychiatrists are trained to analyze their patients and help them get over unresolved issues, and throughout their careers, they notice human traits that may hold the keys to true happiness.

It is impossible not to learn a few things over the course of your career that are not strictly taught in school textbooks. Dr. Max Pemberton, a British medical doctor, journalist, and author, has been a psychiatrist for a long time.

Over the years, Pemberton has noticed several similar aspects about his patients that have remained with him over the course of his career. Particularly about the recurring traits related to his patient’s happiness level.

Pemberton noticed that while many of his patients struggled to find happiness in their lives, there were many people out there facing more tribulations and adversity who managed to remain happy despite what may be happening in their lives. [1]

He believes that the trick lies in remaining positive, even when faced with negative situations. Armed with experience gathered over the course of his career, Pemberton has put together a list of the ten things that can help people improve their mental health and become happier.

These ten things have been working for Pemberton’s patients, and he believes that they may work for you too.

1. Stop worrying. Most of what you worry about will never come to pass.

A famous Baz Luhrmann song titled “Everybody’s Free (To Wear Sunscreen)” has this to say about worry:

“Don’t worry about the future, or worry, but know that worrying is as effective as trying to solve an algebra equation by chewing bubblegum.

“The real troubles in your life are apt to be things that never crossed your worried mind, the kind that blindside you at four p.m. on some idle Tuesday.”

Worrying does nothing to help your situation and everything to deter you from finding an appropriate solution. For instance, Pemberton had a patient who worried all the time. To help her out, he drafted a list of all the complaints his patient had ever told him.

After going through the list together, they both discovered that none of her fears had come to pass.

2. You’re mad at the wrong things — the thing you’re angry about isn’t what is making you angry.

Pemberton shared a story of one of his patients who was mad at her husband because he always failed to wash the dishes. They had many sessions where she would express her frustrations about the fact that he wouldn’t do this chore.

However, when he suggested that she get a dishwasher to resolve her problem, she replied that they would both argue about something else. It immediately became apparent that the fact that her husband was not doing the dishes represented something more profound than was immediately visible.

3. Be nice to yourself

People can be unkind to themselves and conjure unfavorable images about themselves. It is essential to be kind to yourself as it doesn’t take any more energy than being mean to yourself.

4. Be nice to others

Remember the old saying that goes “if you can’t beat them, join them”? Well, this rings true in real life. Being kind is not hard. You have to stop worrying about what other people are saying, doing, or wearing. [2]

Learn to stop yourself from judging people too harshly, and instead, try exchanging those negative thoughts for positive ones and watch as your mood improves.

5. Get a job you love

Your job will be a large part of your life, a place where you spend most of your time and worries. However, if you end up doing something you don’t like, your work can also be the thing that kills you slowly.

Pemberton has found that people who don’t enjoy their work are suffering, and this stress spreads to other areas of their lives. Although it is necessary to work to make a living, you shouldn’t miserably work yourself to death.

6. Accept people or move on

It is impossible — or in the best-case scenario, extremely difficult — to change other people, but yet we spend a great deal of our time and energy trying to do just that. If you find yourself getting angry or upset at other people for things you can’t control, you need to move on so these feelings don’t make you unhappy.

7. Stop saying you’re fine

Too often, when asked how we are, we tend to hide our problems in life by saying we are fine. But it is okay not to be fine, if things are bad, admit that they are bad. People are willing to listen and help in any way they can more often than not. Avoid bottling up your emotions since you’ll feel better when you let them out. [3]

8. Say no

Try saying no without apologies and without recanting it. Saying no can save you a lot of stress and unnecessary headaches and free you to do the things you want to. 

9. Talk it out

The more you hide your feelings, the more they fester until they explode. Whether you speak to a therapist, friend, or other companion, or confide in a trusty journal, use this outlet on a regular basis to keep you out of a negative state of mind.

10. Tell others that you love them

If you love someone, tell them because hearts are broken by the words left unspoken. Don’t be afraid to open up to people; you’ll be glad you did, and it will make you feel happier in the end.

Reference:

  1. “A psychiatrist reveals his 10 best pieces of advice to improve your mental health and happiness”, Hack Spirit.
  2. “A psychiatrist reveals his 10 best pieces of advice to improve your mental health and happiness”, Ideapod.
  3. “Psychiatrist Reveals His 10 Best Tips To Improve Your Mental Health And Happiness”, Steven Aitchison.
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