Talking to a psychologist is one way to address problems in your life but there are other things you can do on your own. Some ideas include:
Read a good book - Losing yourself in a good book gives a break from thinking about your troubles and allows your mind to shift to other things. When you return, you may find that you are refreshed and better able to solve problems. Choose a book that stimulates new ideas or creates hope. There are many inspiring biographies of people who overcame great obstacles.
Watch a movie - Like books, movies can also transport us to other times and places, allowing a chance for a new perspective to emerge. Consider classics or even documentaries to learn something new about history or other cultures.
Listen to music - Listening to music is a quick and powerful way to alter mood. Some music makes you want to dance, other music calms and relaxes. You may have personal favorites that you associate with other times in your life and revisiting them can remind you of people and experiences that you value.
Get physical - Keeping a good outlook involves not just thoughts and feelings but also physical activity. Hiking in the mountains, practicing yoga, playing sports, gardening - anything that gets you moving can be helpful. Simply walking every day provides great benefit.
Volunteer - Serving others can be transformative when it reminds you that you have something useful to contribute. Someone in your community needs your time and gifts today!
Learn a new skill or find a new hobby - If you have ever thought that you would like to learn to play a musical instrument or build a birdhouse, now's the time. Instead of aiming for perfection, give yourself permission to have some fun while you learn something new.
Some good reads. Check these out!
Finding Meaning in the Second Half of Life: How to Finally, Really Grow Up, James Hollis, 2005. Dr. Hollis is a Jungian analyst who challenges us to forget platitudes about the Golden Years and look instead for ways to reclaim authority and responsibility for our lives.
Mr. Owita's Guide to Gardening: How I Learned the Unexpected Joy of the Green Thumb and an Open Heart, Carol Wall, 2014. This touching memoir by a local author takes some surprising turns as a strong friendship develops between two very different people.
I Never Told Anybody: Teaching Poetry Writing to Old People, Second Edition, Kenneth Koch, 1997. This delightful book was recommended by a friend and colleague. The author, a poet, decided to teach nursing home residents to write poetry and their offerings are often creative, lively and insightful.
Exclusion and Embrace: A Theological Exploration of Identity, Otherness, and Reconciliation, Miroslav Volf, 1996. Croatian theologian Volf draws on his experience of horror during the Balkan conflict to explore violence inflicted on individuals and nations who are identified as other. Be warned: this is not a quick or easy read but well worth the effort.
Sadhana: A Way to God, Anthony De Mello, 1978. This classic blends practices from Eastern and Western traditions in a series of exercises used for meditation and contemplative prayer.