Changing the way you think to improve your health

Suzanne Segerstrom, a professor of psychology and coordinator of the health psychology program at the University of Kentucky, revealed four ways to improve your mental health to boost your overall health.

Be more self-efficient:
Whatever goal you may have, you have to be able to picture it and believe it will happen.
•Look up to someone who has achieved a goal you identify with: "If you see someone like you run a marathon, that increases your sense that you could do it too," she says.
•Picture your success! That idea is at the heart of the Great American Smokeout, she says; it's a day where smokers are encouraged to quit smoking – a choice that will hopefully kick-start extinguishing the habit for good. (But as with ditching all–or–nothing thinking, experts remind that even if a quit attempt fails, it doesn't preclude trying to quit again, and again, and again – whatever it takes.)
•Seek out encouragement from others. "If I say to you, 'I believe you can do this,' then you start to believe you can do it too," Segerstrom says.

Practice mindfulness:

This present moment awareness "is a tool that allows people to gain some insight into their emotional experience," says David Sbarra, professor of psychology and director of the doctoral program in clinical psychology at the University of Arizona.

Create a concrete routine for yourself:

It would be easy to think that you have to be highly motivated all the time to achieve big health goals. However, just as emotions tend to come in waves, so does motivation; so it's best to think strategically – breaking goals into component parts, experts say, and integrating those into a daily routine.

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