By Dr John Barletta, Clinical Psychologist
If you stay close to your values whilst working on your goals, it will provide a compass for life’s journey and you can adjust the choices you make accordingly. Examine your values to ensure that they are your end values and not means to an end.
Here’s an easy way to see what’s important to you: Imagine you are 100 years old and looking back at your life. Ask yourself: What did I do that made me happy? What did I do that defined me as a person? What did I spend too much time worrying about? What did I spend too little time doing? What would I do differently? Ask yourself whether your values are true, bone-deep beliefs, or if any are external shoulds. We often don’t recognise that conditioning sometimes leaves us with other people’s values.
As a positive Psychologist I don’t smile 24/7 and I don’t believe others should either. That’d be creepy. Rather than trying to eliminate negative aspects of your life, positive psychology deliberately builds a flourishing life via P.E.R.M.A.H.
P – POSITIVE EMOTIONS: Generate productive emotions like gratitude, satisfaction, pleasure, fun, hope, and curiosity, and enjoy each moment.
E – ENGAGEMENT: When you’re engaged with study, work or hobbies you are in flow. Time seems to stop; you lose a sense of self as you concentrate.
R – RELATIONSHIPS: As social animals, relationships are core to wellbeing. Quality connections have a significant impact on contentment.
M – MEANING: Purpose comes from serving a cause bigger than yourself. This may be helping other students, family, friends, or the community.
A – ACCOMPLISHMENT: Strive to better yourself by using your strengths, mastering skills and goals.
H – HEALTH: Managing sleep, good nutrition, regular movement, and minimizing alcohol are critical.
Go ahead, develop the flourishing life you want!
Time without devices, either a holiday away from home without any high-tech devices, or digital-free time every day or weekend is known as a data fast. This digital vacation means getting away from our screens and phones so we don’t have the constant flow of communication, information, alerts, and updates, even if it’s only for short periods of time.
When we don’t access our phones, tablets, computers, and televisions, we get to spend time doing other things like connecting face-to-face, better sleep, slow cooking, listening to music, reading and studying, spending time outside, exploring the community, exercising, all those things we used to enjoy before smartphones, tablets, and streaming TV services invaded our lives.
Take a digital break from the hyper-connectivity information and entertainment overload; your brain, body, and relationships will significantly benefit.
BEAT THE BLUES
DEPRESSION is a leading cause of ill-health along with cancer and cardiovascular disease. Serious psychological distress is at an all-time high, and it has a significant effect on quality of life and life expectancy.
Psychologists help people to change thinking patterns and improve coping skills to equip individuals to deal with stressors and conflicts. As well as supporting recovery, counselling helps one remain well by identifying and changing unhelpful thoughts and behaviours, and building a quality balanced and satisfying life.
There are many effective psychological treatments for depression, as well as different delivery options. Most people prefer to work one on one with a Psychologist, while some prefer a group. Online programs and apps are also useful.
Research is clear; psychological counselling and lifestyle choices help reduce symptoms and improve wellbeing, and counselling’s effectiveness is at least equivalent to the average medical intervention.