How Setting Small Goals Can Boost Mental Health
By Brandi Goodman
Mental health struggles can be a challenge to manage. You may want to feel better and no longer experience symptoms of depression, but that is easier said than done. Stress and negative thinking can drastically alter our mood and well-being. Starting out with small goals, however, can help you make major improvements in your mental health journey.
Small Goals are Easier to Achieve
If you start by setting a large goal, such as no longer feeling depressed, this may be difficult to accomplish. Setting smaller goals gives you something easier to achieve. You're more likely to reach a goal of a smaller magnitude than a significant one. Simply say you want to find one positive thing in the day to make you smile or get up and finish one task around the house. These smaller options can earn you a huge reward when you start to notice how many you've achieved.
Small Goals Can Make Up a Large One
You can still have a large overall goal that you want to reach. You just need to break it down into several smaller steps along the way. As you reach each one, you will start to see a clearer path to the finish line. Say you have four small goals that will result in the final one. You achieve one and you're already a quarter of the way there. Reach two and you're halfway with only half more to go. It's a more positive way at looking at the situation which can improve your mindset.
Achieving Goals Releases Dopamine
Every time you set a goal for yourself and actually achieve it, you feel good. This is because your brain releases dopamine. Dopamine is a neurotransmitter that sends signals to the brain to feel good. If you are consistently meeting small goals, you're consistently receiving a shot of dopamine that can make you feel motivated, concentrated, and blissful. These feelings can drastically improve mood and mental health, leading you from negative thoughts and feelings to positive emotions.
Struggles with mental health will not go away easily. They may not ever go away at all. However, you can try to set small goals for yourself that will help you to feel better over time and have more good days than bad. Taking care of yourself and striving to ease your mental health struggles one step at a time is a step in the right direction.
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