Living positively and looking forward to each day is something that everyone should strive for. This doesn’t mean that there aren’t ups and downs in life, but it does mean looking for joy in the everyday. Helping your loved ones develop a more positive outlook on life or alternatively going into a career where you actively work to help a larger volume of people are both excellent ways to do good in the world.
Having the drive to help others overcome their own demons and find light wherever they are is not unique to Christians, though every good Christian should strive to help others wherever they can.
Helping others, however, can be deeply complex, and you need to know how to read people and how to help in order to provide the best possible care and guidance for those around you. These are great life skills to have in general, but when you want to make it your career to help others improve their outlook and quality of life, it can be outright essential.
Starting a career in mental health is a great way to consistently help others develop a more positive outlook, but don’t assume you’ll learn everything from your formal education. There is a reason why you’ll need thousands of clinical hours before you can start practicing independently, even after you have graduated from your final degrees.
If you are just starting out, you’ll want to study Christian psychology degrees and progress through a career in psychology so that you can become a licensed therapist or psychologist and can professionally help others tackle their innermost demons. Whether you work professionally or personally, however, there are a few key traits and skills you are going to want to develop to help those around you develop a more positive outlook on life.
Improve Your Listening Skills
Everyone should improve their listening skills. When it comes to communication, listening and understanding both explicit words and what isn’t outright said can make all the difference in your personal life and career. Improving your listening skills isn’t just about sitting attentively, nodding along, and staying quiet.
A good way to get started is by active listening. Active listening is a great strategy to use because it encourages you to hear the words and understand the complete message of what is being said. It doesn’t mean that you cannot ask questions. In fact, asking questions and gaining clarification can help the other person communicate better and feel like they have your complete attention.
Despite common belief, you don’t have to look someone directly in their eyes to show you are listening. Being engaged and present in the conversation is enough. Many people, autistic or not, find it difficult to maintain ongoing eye contact when trying to form the right words.
Learn More About Mental Health, Neurodivergence, and Cultural Differences
Learning more about mental health and different kinds of mental illnesses, mental conditions, and even cultural differences is one of the most important ways you can continually improve your career and even personal life. Yes, a psychology degree will cover almost everything you need to know about mental health and psychology, but psychology itself is ever-evolving as we learn more and more about the human brain and the many factors that can impact it.
Learning directly from those who are neurodivergent and those from other backgrounds than you can also help you in your career. The autistic community, for example, is galvanizing and speaking out against big organizations like Autism Speaks, and are pushing for new ways to look at autism and how to help autistic people lead more fulfilling lives.
One example is to change the discourse around stimming, of self-stimulating. Rather than forcing autistic children to stop outright, helping them find a stim that isn’t destructive and healthy is now being encouraged.
Learning directly from the people who you want to help in your career, or even just a friend or family member can be one of the most important things you can do. Never, ever assume how someone else perceives themselves. Your idea of happiness is not going to line up with theirs, and just as you can help them, they can also help you.
Always Personalize Advice
This tip works on a personal and professional level. After all, there is never a one-size-fits-all solution to any problem or anyone’s life. There is a reason why one-on-one therapy is so effective and why it is used alongside group therapy and other therapeutic options. You will learn all about how to personalize advice and guidance throughout your career, but if you are just starting out, or are alternatively just looking for advice on how to help others near you, then remember this: personalize your approach.
If a friend is suffering from depression, the ways you personally found daily happiness and started to develop a more positive outlook on life are not going to be the same. They will need professional help, yes, but listen and focus on what they are doing.
Sometimes we need an outsider’s perspective to see what is helping us. If you notice your friend always seems to perk up when they go to a garden center, plan out more days out to gardens and nurseries for them. If their anxiety calms down when they work with their hands, suggest more crafts.
Always personalize the advice to help them recognize the coping mechanisms they have in their own life. Appreciate the little things so that they can start to notice them as well. There are so many ways to help your loved one, or even client, see beauty in the mundane, but you need to focus on what they find beautiful and enjoyable, rather than pushing your own viewpoint onto them. If they don’t care for flowers like you do, they won’t see the same thing. Find what they love, and focus on that.
This can help your loved one. It can help your clients. In fact, this approach can help everyone be a better person and care for those around them.