In Practice

Putting social psychology to work for you

3 Ways to Give Yourself a Psychological Checkup

Try these DIY ideas for checking your psychological habits.

1. The Healthy Mind Platter.

The Healthy Mind Platter lists 7 types of activities that should be incorporated into your day for optimum psychological health. What I like about it is that it's super flexible. 

The categories are:

(1) sleep time,

(2) play time (fun),

(3) physical time (movin' ya body),

(4) focus time (time when you're concentrating on a task),

(5) down time (time when your mind is allowed to wander),

(6) connecting time (with people or nature), and

(7) "time-in" (activities like mindful breathing, meditation or mindful yoga).

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Since the categories are so broad you have complete flexibility to choose your activities and how much time you spend on each one.   

To do a psychological checkup based on the Healthy Mind Platter, monitor which of the categories you hit each day for a week. That will show you where your gaps e.g., you might learn there are some days during the workweek you have no play time. If this was the case, you might attempt to incorporate some short playful interactions into your day. Source.

2. Check Your Positive to Negative Emotions Ratio.

Take Dr Barb Fredrickson's test. Her research has shown that people flourish when they experience at least three positive emotions for every one negative emotion. If your ratio is off, are the problems mainly with too few positive emotions or too many negative emotions?

3. Track Your Avoidance Coping.

For a week, try tracking anything you avoid and any costs of avoidance you experience. For example, you put off making a phone call and it plays on your mind all week. Evaluate how well avoidance is working for you. For example, if you're using avoidance coping to try to avoid anxiety, is it working for you or do you still feel anxious? What costs does avoiding have for you? Does it create other problems?

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photo credits:  deadstar 2.1 via photopin cc

Alice Boyes, Ph.D. translates principles from Cognitive Behavioral Therapy and social psychology into tips people can use in their everyday lives.

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