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Make 2016 great

Published in Mental Health, For the Health of It Author: Diane Reller, MS, LMFT, LADC

We tend to focus New Year’s resolutions on losing weight, smoking cessation, or eating better — our physical health. Research shows that poorly planned resolutions fizzle out quickly, and can leave a person with feelings of disappointment and discouragement. This year, try something new, and make a lifestyle resolution that you can work on the entire year, and beyond.

10 Mental Health Lifestyle Resolutions

  1. I will work on speaking more positively about myself and others. We are all human, and have our strengths and limitations.
  2. I will work on changing one behavior at a time to become the best version of myself. Making drastic changes are often a result of unrealistic expectations and can lead to disappointment.
  3. I will get moving. Studies show a significant link between exercise and improved mental health. Starting slow, aim for 2-3 days per week of low-moderate intensity and increase slowly until you have scheduled this into your life on a daily basis. As always consult your provider before starting any exercise program.
  4. I will learn to respond instead of reacting to others. Learn and practice effective communication skills.
  5. I will practice relaxation. Explore your interests, (yoga, meditation, reading, crafts, etc.) and schedule this into your day — even if it is only for a few minutes.
  6. I will work at not making judgments of myself or others. You might judge the consequences of your thoughts and behavior rather than focusing on what is “right or wrong.” Judgments do not change the facts of the situation, they add emotions to it.
  7. I will live more presently in the moment. Spending too much time in the past or the future can rob us of self-awareness, and prevent a healthy shift in attitude and behavior.
  8. I will not be so hard on myself. Sometimes our best opportunities emerge from what we consider our biggest mistakes.
  9. I will cultivate my social network. Work on reaching out more with friends and seek out new ones (join a group or a club that interests you).
  10. I will limit my online activity so that I can enjoy other activities. Try to limit your online activity to certain times of the day rather than an ongoing connection.

Don’t be afraid to ask for professional help if you find it hard to make the desired changes in your life. One resolution that we can all make is to do our part to reduce the stigma attached to mental health!