Interventions, Tips and Tools
There are many different causes of distress, and many different ways to get happy. In order to start becoming happy, you need to:
- Understand what is causing your distress
- Explore what happiness looks like for you? (What needs to change? What do you already have going for you?)
- Create a plan by effectively setting goals
- Get (and stay) motivated to work toward those goals
- Identify different tools that can help YOU feel better. Some people will choose to start with sleep, others might choose to start by addressing low self-esteem, and others might choose to start by banishing the internal critic or learning how to stop acting impulsively and start choosing to react with behaviors and feelings that help them feel happier and achieve their goals.
Each week we will explore different tools that can help you along your journey. In the first 6 months, I will be laying out the basic tools and information that I provide to my clients, and build from there.
Setting SMART goals is the first step to getting where you want to be. SMART goals are Specific, Measurable, Achievable, Realistic and Time limited. When your goals are SMART, you are setting yourself up for success. You can also adjust course more easily if you are not meeting a short term goal. Set daily goals: What can you accomplish today? Then set weekly goals: What can you accomplish this week? Maybe even set a monthly goal, but try not to go out much further than that. At the end of the month, reassess. If you are on track, repeat the process. If you have not met your goals, figure out why, and adjust.
For example, if you were going to go on a diet
- Today Goals: Eat under 2000 calories. Eat at least 3 servings of green vegetables. Drink at least 8 glasses of water.
- This Weeks Goals: Lose 1 pound. Have eaten at least 3 servings of green vegetables at least 5 out of 7 days. Drank 8 glasses of water or more at least 5 out of 7 days.
Setting good goals is only part of the process. You are likely motivated when you start, but when it starts to get uncomfortable or take too much time or energy, you may lose motivation.
- What are the benefits to achieving your goal and the drawbacks of giving up? These are your motivators. Enhance those. Keep them present in your mind. Post your cholesterol report on your bathroom mirror if you need to get it down.
- What are the benefits to giving up and the drawbacks to your current goal? (This will give you insight into why you are losing motivation. For example, if you aren't getting all of your green vegetables each day because the kids hate them and you are tired of eating the same thing each day, look for ways to sneak in veggies such as smoothies or meatloaf.)
There are a ton of tools you will learn to help you set goals, stay motivated, and address unhelpful thoughts and feelings. Some of these include Acceptance and Commitment Therapy tools, Behavior Modification, Cognitive Behavioral Tools, and Dialectical Behavior Therapy Tools. It sounds complicated, but I will break down each tools and help you apply it. Some will work well for you, some won't be a good fit. That is okay. Every person is different. Learn More
You would be surprised how much your nutrition, sleep, activity level and pain issues impact your mood and whether you see things through the eyes of Negative Nelly/Ned or Suzie/Sammy Sunshine. Most physical interventions are pretty simple, and no, meditation and yoga are not required—suggested, but not required. Remember how I said, every person is different. I encourage you to try things, but if it doesn't work for you, then try something else.