Will they instantly start laughing and flapping their arms in reference to inside joke you shared with them? Part of interacting with other people is learning how to leave a powerful, lasting impression on them. Whether you're on a date, in a business meeting or on a job interview, the other person needs to form a permanent, lasting impression of who you are and why they like you. The most important thing you can do is make a strong first impression. The human memory uses images and sensory clues to create memories. "These suggestions don't fit, I'm doing everything right. I keep my schedule. I'm getting the kids dinner. I'm checking in with my partner's day. But I'm just not here. All I can think about is what just happened." Yes, disengaging from the constant thoughts and images of rumination and worry is very hard to do. Paying attention to the present moment in a nonjudgmental manner, with mindfulness skills, can foster your ability to let those sticky thoughts go. I don't just mean practicing mindfulness when you are in these moments--I mean cultivating mindfulness as a way of life. If you would like to learn more about this, I recommend reading Wherever You Go, There You Are8 or The Mindful Way Through Depression.9 Here are some tips to short-circuit the replaying script in ruminative and worrying moments. Refocus your attention. Don't just go through the motions--intentionally bring your awareness to the task at hand. Cooking dinner? Smell all the aromas of the ingredients. Walking the dog? Look at those beautiful seasonal colors in nature.

Showering? Notice where the hot water blasts your body. Getting dressed? Feel the textures of the fabrics. Practice doing a traditional mindfulness exercise such as observing your thoughts as they come. I like to sit with my eyes closed and picture a white room with two open doors: I imagine my thoughts in big, thick, black ink moving from one door to another. Other people like imagining their thoughts as leaves floating away on a stream. Some like to imagine balloons that pop as the thoughts clear. Try setting aside some "worry time." Set a timer for 20 minutes and in that time write down all your thoughts, concerns, and judgments in a stream-of-consciousness style. Use the whole 20 minutes. You may start repeating yourself, or you may use up the whole time and still not feel done. Just get it out on paper! Afterward, most people are amazed at how much more cognitive and emotional space they feel. If you want to read more on coping with worry, I recommend The Worry Cure. There is no doubt that the process of diagnosis elicits strong reactions. The examples above illustrate some of the extremes, but keep in mind that any diagnosis, no matter how simple or serious, carries with it an emotional journey. For professionals, making a diagnosis marks the goal of their work. For patients, it marks the beginning of an odyssey. And part of that odyssey can be navigat-ing the turbulent waters of stigma. Soon after the comfort of my diagnosis subsided, a wave of shame and guilt hit.

I felt inadequate and embarrassed by my diagnosis. I knew that society feared anything that strayed from the norm, and the idea of being seen as different, disabled, or dysfunctional really frightened me. I didn't tell anyone about my depression, kept my medication hidden in a bedside dresser, and kept secret my feelings of failure. I even went so far as to believe that I should hang up my shingle as a practicing psychologist because, clearly, I was incapable of taking care of myself as a person. How could I take care of others as a professional? Despite the fact that I was a psychologist educated in the mind, brain, and body, the misconceptions about mental illness shoehorned themselves into my life. Falling into this negative frame of thinking is called "self-stigma."6 More specifically, self-stigma is a "belief in negative stereotypes about a group to which one belongs and the application of those beliefs to oneself, thereby undermining one's self-esteem."7 The pessimistic aspects of self-stigma can be so socially isolating that children and adults with mental illness become passive and accepting of their stigmatized fate. Dr. Patrick Corrigan, prolific author and researcher of mental-illness stigma, terms this the "why try" effect. I certainly experienced this in the beginning stages of my depression. Now, not everyone with a diagnosed mental illness will experience self-stigma. In fact, some individuals remain indifferent to their diagnoses, unaware of stigma; while others become invigorated by society's prejudicial views of mental illness.9 Personally, as I began to feel better, my self-stigma diminished. As my depression lifted and my ability to think clearly was restored, I was able to brush aside what previously made me feel inadequate and ashamed. The goal for anyone who experiences self-stigma is to counter misconceptions and irrational beliefs with truths and facts. It's not an easy task to correct the emotional and cognitive mind-set, but with professional help, participation in grassroots organizations, and/or educational support from loved ones, you can live with your mental illness realistically, and with integrity. Try something new for date night. Create relationship missions that push you to get out of your comfort zone as a couple. Take an art class, go skydiving, or just take a road trip somewhere you've never been before. Many people can't remember what they did last week, let alone six months ago. But researchers have found that a great sense of joy can be gained from jotting down daily activities in a journal--and from revisiting these moments at a later date.

Harvard researchers found that when people recorded daily events and were asked to review them months later, they felt the experience to be both interesting and pleasurable. In one of four experiments, participants created a "time capsule," responding to nine prompts that captured recent conversations, songs they just listened to, an inside joke, or a recent photo. They predicted how curious they would be at a later date to see what they had written down; three months later they rated how surprising or meaningful they found each jotting. Participants were consistently more curious to see what they had written than they expected they would be. In another study, participants noted their activities on Valentine's Day as well as on another, unremarkable February day, writing down how curious they would expect to feel upon rereading their account of each day. Again, they underestimated how interested they would be about reading of their mundane day. While we document birthdays, weddings, and other big events, it turns out that regular boring days are plenty exciting in hindsight, too. Incorporate a shared journal into your relationship, where each partner can jot down memories as they happen, to be revisited whenever you like. Your home is an extension of yourself. What you put in it and how others perceive it inspire as much second-guessing and anxiety as any other aspect of your personality. There's a reason those HGTV shows are so addictive. Every detail of your home not only says something about who you are, but it's something you have to live with every day--and it's likely affecting your well-being in ways you don't even realize. Neuroscientists and psychologists are increasingly finding evidence for what interior designers and architects have always known: Your environment impacts your happiness. But figuring out the ways in which it does so, and how to create a home that maximizes your satisfaction and enjoyment, is easier said than done. Anyone who has spent a few hours at the hardware store deciding between two hundred shades of light blue paint knows that decisions about interior design can be very personal and surprisingly complicated. Should you tap into some life-changing magic by cleaning up your clutter, or will you get more joy by leaving your stuff all over the place? Is feng shui the way? Does hygge hold the answers? Here we look at some science-backed hacks to bring more joy into your home, from what you put on your walls to the shape of the walls themselves; from the texture of your living room furniture to the type of light in your bedroom. Feeling down?

Turn on some lights--or at least turn them up. In three separate studies, researchers at the University of Toronto and China's Sun Yat-sen University found a correlation between people's feelings of hopelessness and their perception of room lighting. During a fourth study, participants indicated greater feelings of hopelessness when in a darker room. Another study of 988 people from four different countries found that those living closer to the equator had more consistent psychological moods compared to those farther north, where light varied significantly throughout the year. In those more northern countries, subjects' moods were found to be at their lowest when lighting felt too dark and at their highest when respondents felt lighting was "just right"; they then declined when lighting was felt to be too bright. Making our problems bigger is also avoidable but we're letting them grow out-of-control. When you're in a hole, stop digging. Instead of letting problems persist and grow by focusing too much on them, place your energy and focus on the solution and fixing the problem. Be smart enough to learn from your mistakes. Mistakes are the driving force behind success and the main ingredient in learning and becoming better. The wisest and most successful people aren't the ones who are the luckiest - they're the ones who have made the most mistakes. Mistakes are the best friends you're ever going to have because they aren't focused on sparing your feelings - they're focused on helping you and teaching you what you need to know in order to drive forward in the right direction. When someone spares your feelings, you don't learn because it doesn't jolt you. It doesn't make an impact. It's easily forgettable. When they deliberately overlook your feelings and tell you, point blank, what you need to hear, you may get your ego and feelings hurt, but you'll never forget the lesson. You'll never forget the jolt you got from the truth. When a mistake slaps you in the face and it hurts really bad, instead turning it into a negative event, see it as a positive opportunity. Tell yourself, "This is good. I'm going to learn something valuable and unforgettable from this pain." We're allowing mistakes to make us feel like a failure and we're lowering our personal value.