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3 Overlooked Ways To Boost Mental Health

overlooked ways to boost mental health

Further, this new research found that tolerating, and even embracing, the unpredictable nature of life stimulates a greater appreciation for simply being alive; for enjoying what is, in this moment of time. As we’ve learned during the pandemic, that time may indeed be brief and end without notice.

The researchers found that savoring the “small things” in life pulls you out of immersion in daily ups and downs, the fears and worries about things that you’re trying to control—and inevitably are unable to. That understanding adds to a healthy, whole-person recognition of just how impermanent things are. It helps you appreciate this moment that you occupy, in your brief lifetime.

Your entire being—that integrated entity of mind, emotions, spirit, and physical structure—then grows and expands. And that expansion helps free you from blind adherence to your social conditioning—the beliefs and life goals shaped by your social, cultural, and ethnic milieu that can impede the growth of your whole being.

Related: 6 Things You Can Do To Reduce Mental Stress

3. Talking And Listening To Others

Another overlooked way to grow the “health” part of mental health sounds simple, but research finds it has particular benefit for your essential cognitive and mental capacities as you age: engaging in small talk with people and listening to them in return. It might be an encounter with a grocery-store clerk or passing the time for a few moments with a neighbor. 

This study of over 1,800 participants found that, according to co-author Nicholas Epley, “connecting with others in meaningful ways tends to make people happier,” and that connecting with others in deep and meaningful ways increased well-being. That, in turn, contributes to the realm of your whole-person mental health. The study, from the University of Chicago, was published in the Journal of Personality and Social Psychology.

Similarly, an NYU study published in JAMA Network Open found that engaging with people on whom you can count to simply listen to you when you need to talk and connect with others is associated with greater cognitive resilience as you age; it’s a buffer to the effects of brain aging and disease.

And new findings from Georgetown University reveal that age does not automatically lead to declining mental abilities. Contrary to prevailing thinking, this large-scale research found that those capacities—especially the ability to focus and orient yourself to whatever you’re engaging with—actually improve with age, as you use them.

These findings add to evidence of the interconnectedness of all dimensions of your being, as your healthy cognitive capacities stimulate the other facets of yourself.

All of these findings underscore the overall mental health implications of engaging fully with life—appreciating it within this brief moment of time we occupy—and staying mindful of how transitory and impermanent everything is.

Douglas LaBier can be contacted via his website labier.com or email douglas@labier.com.


Written By Douglas LaBier 
Originally Appeared On Psychology Today 
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3 Overlooked Ways To Boost Mental Health
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3 Overlooked Ways To Boost Mental Health
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Douglas LaBier, Ph.D.

Douglas LaBier, Ph.D., is a business psychologist, psychoanalytic psychotherapist, and writer. He has a long-standing interest in the psychology of the career culture, life challenges in our interconnected world, and the interplay between work and mental health – which he first wrote about in his book, Modern Madness. As a psychotherapist, he treats men and women, individuals and couples, with a particular focus on adult/midlife developmental issues. As a business psychologist, Dr. LaBier consults with senior executives, leaders, and career professionals on ways to create greater alignment between personal development and a positive leadership/management culture. He's published frequently in The Washington Post and other national publications and has appeared on national and local TV and radio. Dr. LaBier is currently developing a new book project about building psychological health and emotional resilience within today's interconnected, unpredictable world.View Author posts