You can train your mind to be unhappy and you can train it to be happy.
Training your mind to look for errors and problems (as happens in careers like accounting and law) can lead you toward a pervasive pessimism that carries over into your personal life.
Why are lawyers 3.6 times more likely to suffer from depression and more likely to end up divorced?
Is there a way to get your mind out of these negative loops? Yes.
You must teach your brain to seek out the good things in life. Research shows merely listing three things you are thankful for each day can make a big difference.
People probably encourage you to not compare yourself to others. Research shows it’s not necessarily harmful — but only compare yourself to those worse off than you:
Tell Yourself the Right Stories
When your vision of your life story is inadequate, depression can result. Psychotherapists actually help “rewrite” that story and this process is as, if not more, effective than medication.
“Retrospective judgment” means reevaluating events and putting a positive spin on them. Naturally happy people do it automatically, but it’s something you can teach yourself.
Timothy Wilson, author of Redirect: The Surprising New Science of Psychological Change, has talked about how the process of “story-editing” can help us improve our lives:
So, to sum up:
What else can make you happier? The things proven to help are here.
This piece originally appeared on Barking Up the Wrong Tree.
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