Mental Health

9 New Year's Resolutions for Better Mental Health

December 15th, 2017
Person in recovery records goals in a journal to strengthen their mental health.

It’s a new year, and you know what that means – it’s time for change. While most people are making resolutions to improve their physical health or finances, this year we encourage you to create goals that focus on your mental health. Remember, being the healthiest, best version of yourself means taking care of your body and mind.

Make your well-being a top priority with these mental health tips:

Face Your Emotions

Pretending that something isn’t happening won’t make it go away. So, if you are feeling sad, anxious, angry, or depressed, do not ignore your feelings. Instead, try to get to the root of the problem. Ask yourself, “What is making me upset? Can I do something about it? Is there someone who can help?” Even if you have no control over the situation, you have control over how you deal with it. Bottling up your emotions will only exacerbate the situation.

Say Goodbye to Negative Self-Talk

Do you ever make a mistake and then replay it in your mind over and over? Do you put yourself down over insignificant things? Are you constantly comparing yourself to others? Well, leave all that negative thinking in the past. You wouldn’t kick your best friend when they are down, so stop doing that to yourself. Know that no one is perfect: not the guy at work who finishes his reports in half the time, not that mom who works a full-time job and still manages to make her kids nutritious lunches and attend every soccer game and dance recital, not your favorite athlete, not even Beyoncé. Accept that failure is a part of life and use your mistakes and shortcomings as opportunities to improve.

Take Care of Your Body

How you treat your body has a tremendous effect on your mental health, so make sure you’re taking care of it. Eat nutritious meals, drink lots of water, get enough sleep, and put that gym membership you have been paying for to use. Your body and your mind will thank you.

Spend More Time Outdoors

It’s no secret that nature can do wonders for your mental health and well-being, but did you know that a study found that trees can make you as happy as a $20,000 raise? It might be hard to believe but nature has the power to reduce stress, anxiety, aggression, and depression. It can also increase your memory, attention span, and sense of belonging. So, next time you are feeling overwhelmed, go for a walk in the park. And try to spend some time outside every day; drinking your morning coffee in your backyard or reading a book on your porch counts.

Find a Hobby

If you lead a stressful life, then developing a hobby probably sounds like the last thing you need. But individuals with overwhelming schedules are the ones who need hobbies most. When your to-do list is never ending, it is easy to put off things that bring joy into your life. Neglecting your happiness is not only damaging to your mental health, it also makes you less productive. Various studies show that not allowing yourself to take a break can lead to exhaustion, loss of focus, and mistakes. So, you’re better off taking a short break to do something you enjoy and get back to your to-do list once your mind has been refreshed. Find a hobby and make it a part of your routine. Gardening, trying new recipes, running, and painting are great activities that can boost your mood and your overall outlook on life.

Enjoy the Moment

Too often we dwell on the past, fixate on what the future might bring, and forget to live in the now. Without realizing it, life rushes by. While preparing for the future is important, tomorrow is not guaranteed. So, as cliché as it sounds, live today as if there is no tomorrow. Take a moment to appreciate the little things, spend time with your loved ones, and do what makes you happy.

Learn to Say Yes

Nothing can hold you back from living the life you want quite like fear, but you don’t have to let it. Start to say yes more and allow yourself to step out of your comfort zone and discover a whole new side to yourself. Saying “yes” more is not about agreeing to things you don’t want to do, but about not letting fear stop you from trying things you have always wanted to do. Do you want to go for that promotion? Go for it! Want to move to Europe? Do it! Want to take a kickboxing class or hike a mountain? Put on your gym shorts and get to it! Life is not about the “what-ifs” or “could haves,” so start saying no to fear, and yes to living.

Learn to Say No

Knowing when to say “no” is just as important as saying “yes.” Boundaries are crucial to your mental well-being, but establishing them is not always easy to do, especially if you have difficulty saying no to others. If you are accustomed to saying "yes" all the time, you know how quickly things can spiral out of control. Before you know it, you have agreed to cover an extra shift at work, run errands for your neighbor, babysit your niece, bake cupcakes for the bake sale, and host the next game night. Saying "yes" when you want to say "no" can be exhausting. Out of fear of letting others down, you end up overextending yourself, which can lead to stress, anxiety, and depression. It is important to remember that it is ok to say "no" to things that you can’t or don’t want to do. Those who care about you will understand that you need to take care of yourself.

Ask for Help

If you broke your arm, no one would tell you that you don’t need to get help or to just get over it, so why do people say that to someone struggling with mental health disorders? Well, because they simply do not understand. Even though one in five Americans suffers from a mental illness, the topic of mental health is often swept under the rug. The stigma it carries can often make individuals afraid to ask for help when they need it most.

If you are feeling down talk to a friend, family member, or professional about your mental health. Know that you are not alone, and that you have nothing to be ashamed of. Surround yourself with those who support you and remember that your mental health is just as important as your physical health.

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