Pleasant emotions – Mental health vitamin

HOW TO SUPPORT YOUSELF WITH PLEASANT EMOTIONS?

Emotions are an inseparable part of our daily lives. It would be difficult to imagine living without any emotions at all. We wouldn’t feel happiness for receiving an expected gift for our birthdays, we wouldn’t feel sadness for the loss of a close one, we wouldn’t feel disappointment for the cancellation of an expected trip, nor would we feel shame for being caught doing something inappropriate. Not to mention the surprise we’d feel when a good friend unexpectedly appeared at our doorstep. You could say that it’s largely the emotions that give our days their unique and memorable flavour. It’s undoubtedly best for our mental health to allow ourselves to feel and experience different emotions. However, sometimes it’s good to try and knowingly focus on experiencing more pleasant emotions to keep your mental health in balance. Pleasant emotions are the following: happiness, gratitude, sincerity, interest, hope, amusement, inspiration, admiration, love, surprise, peace.

We have brought out various tips and tricks below that you can try either on yourself or with a group at work, school or home. We have also designed conversation cards that help you discuss pleasant emotions with others and added additional tasks for teachers to try with their students. Find out more below!

Balance is the main thing!

  • Start your day with something fun: read the comics in a newspaper first or watch some funny videos on Youtube. Did you know that it has been scientifically proven that humour decreases stress, increases psychological wellbeing, and helps cope with stressful events? Truly, laughing is healthy!
  • This week, try to only share or look for funny or wholesome posts in social media. How hard can it be?
  • Change up your morning routine! Do you usually eat your breakfast in a hurry? Try eating breakfast at another location instead. Maybe at the terrace? On the living room carpet? In the kitchen, but while you’re dancing at the same time? In front of the house accompanied by birdsong?
  • Every day, try to take at least one moment for yourself to just dance like nobody’s looking. Let out all of your happiness, sadness, excitement or anger with dance. How does it make you feel?
  • Find something new to learn this week from Youtube. How about dancing, drawing or yodelling?
  • Help someone! Studies show that doing favours for others also boosts our own wellbeing. So, help someone out! Be it a compliment to a friend or a donation to a charity. See if you can help someone out as a volunteer for Vabatahtlikud. Or maybe see if you can help out with scientific research at your local university.
  • Organise a nice spa night at home. If you’ve run out of body scrub, rub yourself with a coffee and honey mix – it’s very nice and refreshing! Maybe you could prepare a foot bath instead.
  • Try to train your mind to notice positive things. Did you know that positive thinking increases your energy levels, creativity, and productivity by up to 30%? When the day is done, ask yourself: what was that one thing that you did not manage to accomplish today and then find at least three things that you did manage to accomplish! Not everything always has to work out 100%. If it did, then there wouldn’t be any room for improvement! Try to keep the scale on the positive side though. Our mind registers things negatively on its own just fine. Positive thinking is something that needs to be practiced consciously.
  • Meditate or practice mindfulness. Set aside 10 minutes every day to just sit in silence and focus on the moment: your breathing, the smells around you, your posture, thoughts, feelings.
  • Do gratitude exercises: every day, write down 3 moments, things or thoughts that you feel grateful for. Express gratitude towards someone whose existence you’ve taken for granted. Write a sincere thank you letter to them. Think about what you’ve gained from things that didn’t go your way.
  • Watch a good film, read a book or craft something – whatever satisfies you.
  • Plant some plants, tidy up or organise your surroundings.
  • Pamper yourself and your close ones with good food, love or care.
  • Set aside some time to spend in nature – see, listen, smell and touch your surroundings.
  • Spend some leftover money! Specifically, spend it on a gift for your close ones or colleagues. Buy something and donate it to a charity. See how spending money on someone else makes you feel.
  • Find three things that were meaningful today. Washing hands can help protect others; filling in boring tables can be useful for your colleagues by helping them organise their work better; caressing your child is important to spread more kindness in the world. Think about all the things in your daily life that are meaningful for others.
  • Find at least half an hour this week to do something that you really want to do.
  • Think if there’s already something that you do that makes you feel like you’re in the zone or in the flow. This should be something that you are good at, but can still improve on. Something that makes you lose all sense of time and doesn’t feel like a chore. Something that just flows out of you. Be it some exercise or practice, some mundane task at work, a game or a hobby. If you don’t have such a thing, then try to think of an already existing skill or activity of yours that could be improved into a flow state
  • Organise a virtual book club – make a list of inspiring books and encourage each other to read them. Agree to discuss the read books once a month. Share inspiring and funny moments or thoughts with each other.
  • Organise a morning virtual tea or coffee ceremony where you reflect on thoughts and happenings from the weekend and set common objectives for the coming week.
  • Play blind origami:
    • form pairs;
    • the host sends one person from every pair an email with an origami instruction;
    • agree on a time for the game;
    • The partner who received the origami instruction must now guide the other on how to fold the origami (if you are speaking through a video call, turn off video during the folding);
    • when you have finished folding, turn on video and share your results;
    • you may now join the team chat for general impressions or switch roles.
  • Share user manuals for handling stress with one another. Write down what it may seem like when you’re stressed and what you would then like others to do or not do. Share it with your friends or colleagues via social media or email. Length doesn’t matter. We at Peaasi tried it and, to our surprise, found that we had so much in common! Know yourself, know your enemy. 🙂
  • Organise a brainstorming session on what the people in your team would like to know or find out about more. Then find ways to acquire that knowledge. Maybe someone knows someone who knows someone that specialises in just that field and is a good instructor? Maybe someone has a lot of experience and would like to share their thoughts and experiences with the team through a webinar? Maybe you stumble upon an exciting online training course that you would like to take together?
  • As with Secret Santa during Christmas, draw names in a lottery for a “Secret Friend” who you can focus your attention on, make compliments to or send flowers to that month.
  • Organise a circle of gratitude where each team member tells another team member about something that they did that they are grateful for. This can be done regularly – select an individual team member every Friday who receives letters of gratitude from everyone else that day.
  • During meetings, share one aspect of your work that you think is meaningful and important. It doesn’t matter if it’s a small or big thing. What’s important is that you focus your attention on what makes your daily lives meaningful, because that makes us happier!
  • Find something from daily news that lightens the mood or makes you laugh and share it with your group.
  • Cross out all the things from your weekly goals that aren’t really all that important.
  • Inspire your students to notice and ask themselves the following: What activities made me really think about something today? What new approaches or strategies did I try today? What mistakes did I do today that I could learn from in the future? What things proved to be a challenge for me today? This kind of analysis helps the students see that their grades and capabilities aren’t really tied to inherent factors, but their continued effort and persistence instead. Noticing these small learning and development opportunities allows them to feel happiness and success! They may say “Oh, that was difficult for me, but I managed in the end!” or “I had to make an effort and even though it didn’t come out as expected this time, I’ll try to learn from my mistakes the next time!”
  • Draw a ladder of courage together:
    • write down one new skill that a student would like to learn, or a fear that they would like to overcome;
    • write it down on the highest step of the ladder;
    • now write down small steps that help you achieve the desired goal. Think of it like learning to ride a bicycle with training wheels.
  • Start an adventure diary with your class:
    • start out with writing some entries of when your students were brave and tried out something new. Add their drawings or other records of the process that show their learning curve (initial difficulties and eventual successes);
    • add details about how fun or exciting it was for them to try that new thing;
    • next time, if you want to introduce something new to your students and feel like you’re coming up short because they don’t want or dare to try that new thing, then open up your adventure diary and remember how much fun you had learning the previous thing;
    • now let the students make entries to the diary themselves. It can be structured as a group assignment.
  • Pleasant emotion bingo #1:
    • draw a bingo grid, brainstorm different activities that make the students feel pleasant emotions and then write them in the squares. Examples: singing, dancing, being lazy, walking, playing ball, cycling, listening to music;
    • now write a single weekday and time period below each activity in the bingo card for doing exactly that.
    • those who finished all diagonals, corners, or the entire grid of pleasant activities the last week, shout BINGO and share their favourite moments with others!
  • Pleasant emotion bingo #2:
  • draw a bingo grid, brainstorm different pleasant emotions that the students would like to feel and then write them in the squares;
  • ask the students to see if they have felt these emotions during the week and if so, mark them down on the bingo card;
  • those who finish all diagonals, corners, or the entire grid of pleasant emotions last week, shout BINGO and share their favourite emotions with others!
  • Form a list of your students’ favourite feel good books, films, youtubers, funny videos or songs. See if you can find common favourites and discuss how these things lift your mood.
  • Brainstorm 100 things that you are grateful with the class.
  • Discuss how a lesson or subject is important with your students. What kind of benefits does it have for each individual student, their families, the society or the planet – why is it important?
  • Share a funny or cute video with your students during class. Even a couple of minutes of relaxing laughter or pleasant emotions help the students focus better.

INSPIRATIONAL TALKS ON PLEASANT EMOTIONS

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