Articles for the Month of January 2015

New Year’s Resolutions for Your Mental Health

By Cathy Neville, LPC, on January 1, 2015

Photo by Dreamstime

Photo by Dreamstime


Happy New Year! Wait. Happy New Year?
Are you sure?
Why will 2015 be any happier than last year?Do you have a plan?Of course, you always have your stand-by resolutions.

There are some really good ideas there.

…lose weight, quit this habit or that habit, get organized…

Maybe you will be successful this year.

After all, if you could actually accomplish them, you would be happier, right?

Hmm. Maybe not.

If there is one thing past years and past resolutions have taught you, it’s that actually understanding yourself and your relationships a little better does more for your heart and mind than any attempt to organize it or lose weight ever could.

So, why not make a few key decisions that will actually help free your mind and lighten your emotional load?

Then you might actually be happy enough to tackle those extra pounds or kick those cigarettes for good!

Let’s start with these 6 resolutions meant to help you love yourself, share your life, and find the freedom you’ve been looking for:

1. Let Self-Compassion be your passion.

Nothing you do or don’t do, or any mistake you make, should make you hate, punish, or treat yourself unkindly. You can learn to be your own best friend. You may need to change your self-talk one conversation at a time, but it’s worth the effort. You need to be in your own corner when you tackle all the challenges 2015 throws your way. You need to believe you deserve it when you succeed.

2. Be slower to react. Choose your responses.

Make your life less about reacting to others. Choose deliberately to slow your response to someone else’s behavior, tone, demand, needs, or wants. Act, don’t react. Everyone has buttons. Don’t let the people who push yours push you around.

3. Map and defend the boundaries you want to live by.

Take a look at the boundaries and limits you’ve placed around yourself and your relationships this year. This may be the time to shore up the protective walls around your marriage or examine the breached limits of a friend who takes too much and offers too little. Appropriate boundaries are essential for your healthiest relationships this year.

4. Be a mental health rebel.

Embrace professional help sooner rather than later. Everyone waits until the crisis point to call the counselor. Be different. Ask for guidance and direction as soon as you notice a communication breakdown or that your sadness lingers. Better yet, be preventive. As with any health issue, early detection and early prevention are key.

5. Move it or risk losing it.

Move your body a little bit more everyday. Why?

Because people who don’t move lose flexibility in their bodies and minds.

Studies repeatedly show the value of exercise when it comes to alleviating a host of mental health disorders including anxiety and depression.

6. Let “Be Mindful” be your mantra.

It’s easy to become anxious, sad, or lost in negative thinking.

It’s easy to be sucked into, stressed, and even saddened by our preoccupied lives. Our eyes are so trained to see only what’s in front of us.

Try this everyday, before you go to work, or during lunch, or after dinner: get outside and don’t forget to look up at the rising sun, taste the food you’re eating, or look into the faces of those around you.

Give yourself the opportunity to be present.

If you breathe for just a little while each day, and take in what matters, you may choose what matters a little differently this year.

And soon 2015 will be the happiest New Year yet!