Positive psychology techniques to improve your mental health during the COVID-19 pandemic
Victoria, 21, explains what positive psychology is and shares some practical techniques you can use to improve your mental health during the coronavirus pandemic and beyond.
During this second lockdown, lots of young people have been struggling with being stuck inside again, away from friends and family, worried for their physical health or the health of their family and friends too. This is a worrying and anxiety-provoking time for many of us.
If this is how you are feeling, one thing that may help during this pandemic is to practise positive psychology.
Research has shown that gratitude can have all sorts of benefits for our wellbeing, from improved sleep, to more enjoyment of school, and even more body satisfaction. Practising gratitude is not just a case of having a positive view of life, but a way of putting life into perspective. By thinking of what we are grateful for, it helps to shift our perspective from negative to positive.
Here is one way you could put gratitude into practice to help boost your wellbeing during this uncertain time.
A gratitude diary is a great way to incorporate gratitude into your daily routine. It is good to fill in your gratitude diary at night in order to end the day on a positive note and be relaxed before you sleep. Try to make filling in your gratitude diary a part of your daily routine.
A simple way to complete a gratitude diary is to use a journal or notebook every evening and write down everything that you are grateful for. It’s also great to read on days when you might be feeling particularly down or anxious; you can read back through to help remind you what you have to be positive about.
Mindfulness is another helpful way to use positive psychology in everyday life. Mindfulness is when you are attentive to and aware of what is taking place around you; the aim is to allow you to observe your thoughts, feelings, and emotions without criticism. Research shows that mindfulness can have a number of benefits for young people, including reduced sensitivity to pain, reduced depression, reduced stress and reduced anxiety.
54321 Mindfulness technique
The 54321 mindfulness technique is a great way to observe what is going on around you in the present moment, and useful to use if you are experiencing a moment of anxiety. The technique relies on awareness of what your different senses are experiencing and is rooted in mindfulness; it can help with anxiety, depression, addiction disorders and stress.
The first step of this technique is for you to look around at your surroundings and identify five things you can see. Next, identify four things you can hear, three things you can feel and then two things you can smell. And finally, one thing you can taste.
If you are struggling, give these a try. Do not forget you are not alone in how you feel. The negative feelings will pass, and hopefully these techniques can help that happen. Remember you can talk to an adult that you trust about how you’re feeling or use helplines too. You can do this.
Author: Victoria, 21
Where to get help
We have lots of tips, advice and guidance on where you can get support for your mental health during the COVID-19 pandemic on our coronavirus and mental health page.