“Positive Activity Interventions”
The Spoken Word
By Lloyd D. Newell
New research affirms what most of us know from personal experience: positive thoughts and actions help both the giver and receiver feel better. Scientists call these “positive activity interventions,” though you might simply call them good deeds. They can be as simple as helping someone in need, showing some kindness, writing a thank you note, or even counting your blessings.
Besides the value such thoughts and actions have in themselves, scientists affirm that they can also “serve as an effective, low-cost treatment for depression.”1 These simple, everyday actions can have a profound influence on how we feel about ourselves, others, and life in general. They require no doctor’s prescription, have no negative side effects, and most often cost nothing more than a little time and effort—and a bit of your heart.
Yet, as we all know, common sense is not always common practice. We may be so focused on our own problems that it seems difficult—even impossible—to think of others or do for others in any meaningful way. So start small.
When one woman was mourning the loss of her husband, she found a way, even in her sorrow, to open her heart to others. She began writing notes to people who had touched her life for good. She made phone calls and visits to others who might be lonely. She baked homemade treats and shared them. Miraculously, her own loss became more bearable as she determined to think and act positively for the good of others.
Today, reflect on the good things in your life—even write them down. And as you go about your busy life, find time for “positive activity interventions.” A smile, a willing heart, and a helping hand can change someone’s day for the better—and yours as well.
For The Family