Making New Year’s resolutions has become a bit of a running joke in this country, a way to set ourselves up for disappointment. However, the beginning of a new year is actually a great time to evaluate your current state of affairs and set some new goals. Many people make resolutions involving their physical health, which is wonderful—but mental health resolutions should also be considered.
If you’ve had mental illness issues in the past, making an appointment with your Newport Beach psychiatrist for a mental wellness check in is a great way to kick off the year. It is always a good idea to be periodically evaluated by a professional you trust, especially if you’ve been slipping into some old thought patterns and unhealthy behaviors.
Here are 10 mental health resolutions to make for 2016:
- Resolve to cut toxic people out of your life in 2016. This is easier said than done, especially if the person is a family member or a co-worker. But if you’ve ever cut ties with someone who is emotionally abusive or too overbearing, you know just how liberating it can be. It’s never an easy process, but you owe it to yourself to have a positive support system. If you must interact with a toxic person, keep all conversation to a minimum and set healthy, firm boundaries.
- Resolve to make this the year you see a therapist if you think you have a mental disorder. There is still such a stigma around mental health, but the walls are finally coming down and people are talking more about mental illness. There is absolutely nothing to be ashamed of, and your potential illness is not your fault. Bipolar disorder, obsessive compulsive disorder and other issues are all treatable and can be controlled with behavioral therapy and possible medication.
- Make this simple, strong resolution: “I will treat myself with respect and talk kindly about myself in 2016 and beyond.” Make peace with yourself.
- Learn to relax and enjoy the pleasant moments in each day. You’ll notice how quickly 2015 seemed to go by, and the coming year will fly by as well. Slow down once in awhile and appreciate your journey.
- Resolve to stop labeling yourself. You are not your depression, your weight, or your current job position. Do not become your labels.
- Make the resolution to work toward being the person that you truly want to be. No matter where you are on your personal journey, there is always room for improvement. There is a quote about life being a journey to be enjoyed and not an obstacle to overcome. If you see your life as a giant obstacle, you will not enjoy life as much as if you view it as a slow and steady experience full of learning. Don’t be afraid of challenges—they’re just part of the experience.
- Make the resolution to act and not react. Many times we feel like everyone is pushing our buttons, whether it be other drivers in traffic or members of our families. When this happens, our first instinct is to react. You have the choice not to get angry or upset. You alone control your thoughts.
- Resolve to get some kind of physical activity every day, but do it for your mental health rather than focusing on your waistline. The way we treat our bodies can have a strong effect on our minds. Even a brief 10 minute walk every day will do wonders for your mental outlook. Multiple studies have shown a link between exercise and improved mental health.
- Do yourself the favor of making 2016 the year you battle negative thinking. When something upsetting happens, it’s natural to brood over it and perhaps think a few negative thoughts. But replaying the scene over and over in your mind will not give you insight or closure—in fact, it can make things much worse. The best way to break a brooding cycle is to distract yourself with a task that requires concentration, like a good book or a game on your cell phone. If nothing else, calling a friend who can always lift your spirits will put you back into a positive state of mind.
- Resolve to pay attention to any emotional pain you feel. You would see a doctor for lingering physical pain, so if something hurts your heart for more than a few days, do something about it. Ignoring the pain of rejection or failure or a lingering bad mood can make for a miserable year. You deserve better.