When it comes to making resolutions for ourselves, most people stick to making more gym plans, eating healthier, or setting career goals. Unfortunately, improving our state of mind is often neglected, but there are a number of mental health resolutions that everyone should make. Our psychological wellbeing is just as important as getting in shape or getting a raise, and we should all be taking steps to ensure that we feel happier, calmer, and well-equipped to handle what's to come.
Resolutions can be as big as shifting your thoughts to more positive thinking or as small as telling yourself how beautiful you look each morning. "[Resolutions] become even more powerful and ingrained if you tell someone close to you, or write it down somewhere that you will see it often," says Nikki Martinez, Psy.D., LCPC over email. "It could be a magnet on the fridge, in your physical planner, on a post-it on the mirror. Exposure and frequent reminders make following through much more likely."
Paying close attention to your mental health can help alleviate anxiety and depression, lengthen your life, and even combat physical issues, according to multiple studies. Just like working out or eating healthy, it requires effort, but setting clear objectives for yourself can help you reach your goals.
If you're trying to improve your overall wellbeing this year, consider these seven mental health resolutions that everyone could use for a more positive life.
1. Make Time For Self Care
It's easy to get caught up in work and responsibilities, but sometimes we just owe ourselves a break. "People often say they have no time for this, but it does not have to be much," says Martinez. "It can be as simple as waking up 30 minutes early and watching a TV show and having your coffee, to putting your treadmill near a TV, so that you can exercise while you watch your favorite shows you never miss."
2. Remove Toxic People From Your Life
"This may seem hard, but it goes a long way towards the way we feel about ourselves and maintaining good mental health," says Martinez. "If there are people in your life who destroy your self-esteem or tear you down to make themselves feel better, you may want to consider how much you want them in your life."
3. Learn To Say No
Saying no can help you establish boundaries and ensure that you aren't overloading yourself. "Too often people take on more and more, and more," says Martinez. "They are afraid to not be liked, to lose their job, or lose their friendship. People will often be surprised and impressed with what you are already handling, and will have no problem with giving the task to someone else , or even doing it themselves."
4. Learn To Ask For What You Need
"There is nothing wrong with asking for help, or telling someone you need a hug or just to be listened to," says Martinez. "Learning to ask for what you need keeps you from internalizing your stress and feelings and helps to keep you in a healthier frame of mind."
5. Practice Mindfulness
"Mindfulness is the practice of being aware of the present," says psychologist Dominick D. Hankle, PhD over email. "It is a type of meditation that improves our memory, ability to handle stress, mental focus, cognitive flexibility, etc." Multiple studies show that mindfulness meditation can have various health benefits, from improved moods, to better eating habits, and reduced blood pressure.
6. Practice Generosity and Gratitude
Studies show that expressing gratitude can improve relationships, help you feel more optimistic, and even lead to less trips to the doctor, according to Harvard Health. "If you set some goals about how often you will volunteer to help others and keep a gratitude journal, you can boost your sense of well-being," says Hankle.
7. Manage Your Worries
"Too many people experience a general sense of anxiety because they never actually take the time to sit down and schedule when and what to worry about," says Hankle. "Each day, commit to having 'anxiety time' where you sit down, right out what you have to do and when it needs done, and concern yourself with completing these tasks." A study from the Journal of Psychotherapy and Psychosematics found that people who use these worry reduction techniques reduced their anxiety, stress, and depression symptoms.
Practicing these mental health habits daily can help turn these practices into habits and enhance your life in ways that can affect more than just your mental wellbeing.
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