Here are 5 skills to develop to improve your mental health and increase your happiness.
- Learn to ask for what you need. Getting your needs met plays an important role in your happiness. It is too important to leave to chance. And waiting around for someone to read your mind doesn’t get your needs met, but it will make you feel unloved and harm your mental health. Ask for what you need. A hug, help with the house cleaning, maybe company while you bake cookies. Don’t hint, ask directly. If the person you ask responds favorably, it does indeed count.
- Learn to ask, not assume. Assuming just leads to big trouble. You end up acting on things that may not be real. An example I have heard over and over again as a therapist is women assuming their husbands don’t want them to talk to their mother, sister, or friends because he gives them dirty looks when they do. When asked about it, the truth is usually that your are being too loud and he can’t hear the TV. There is a huge difference between him wanting you to take the phone in the next room and him trying to control you. Ask what the look is about, what was said again and what did they mean, why they did what ever they did. Don’t assume.
- Learn to communicate well with others. Tell them what you are thinking and feeling. Tell the whole story. Share your life verbally. Say what you mean. Don’t leave hints or beat around the bushes. Don’t leave others in a position to assume what you thinking, doing, or what your motives are. Tell them.
- Learn self- soothing. Don’t depend on others to calm you down and take care of you every time something upsets you. Have your own tool box for self care. Just a few ideas: go outside, take a walk, take a bubble bath, listen to music, or snuggle with your pet. This bog is filled with tons of ideas to help you take care of you.
- Develop a daily practice. It might be a spiritual practice: meditation, prayer, or attending religious meetings. It might be a daily routine: exercise, reading, walking the dog, doing the dishes. It might be doing one thing every day: taking a photo, sharing an uplifting quote on facebook, or doing a kind act for another. Daily practices give us something to keep us going and make our world feel normal through the worst of times. They help us ride the emotional waves.