New research has found that teaching people to focus on positive emotions helped them deal with stress. The researchers focused on 170 caregivers for people with dementia. People were taught classic positive psychology exercises such as keeping a gratitude journal, recognising positive events each day and doing small acts of kindness. The training helped reduce people’s anxiety and depression over the six weeks of the study.
People were taught eight skills:
- Practice a small act of kindness each day and recognise the power it has to increase positive emotions.
- Set a simple and attainable goal for each day and note down progress.
- Savour a positive event through journaling or discussing it with someone.
- Spot at least one positive event each day.
- List a personal strength and how you have used it recently.
- Use mindfulness to pay attention to daily experiences.
- Identify a daily stressor and reframe it as a positive event.
- Keep a gratitude journal.
The caregivers who learned the skills had less depression, better self-reported physical health, more feelings of happiness and other positive emotions. The results showed that those who learned the positive psychology exercises experienced a 7 percent drop in depression scores and 9 percent drop in anxiety.
Try to incorporate the above eight exercises in your daily life for developing serenity and calm.