Any minor shift in outlook can make you less gloomy.
Susan Nolen-Hoeksema, a Yale psychology professor specializing in depression, has studied people’s tendency to brood when facing a problem. She found that a simple, 10-minute diversion can turn self-punishing thoughts into action.
“The quality of your problem-solving markedly improves,” she says. “When you’re ruminating, the negative thoughts are so strong that it’s hard to inhibit them. But even after a moment of distraction, those thoughts aren’t activated anymore. It’s like pressing the restart button when your computer is acting up.”
Tricking your mind into doing what it perceives as a logical, cerebral task—even something as simple as updating your calendar—can stop you from mentally spinning your wheels.
— Adapted from “Your Happiness Plan: What Really Makes People Happy,” Jessica Winter, O, the Oprah Magazine.