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Resolve to have better mental health

While you’re getting organized, quitting smoking and losing weight (the most popular New Year’s resolutions in the U.S.), you may be overlooking something that would actually make a bigger difference for you and your family than those popular resolutions. How about some New Year’s resolutions for mental health? Here are a few to consider:


Take action on your mental health. There’s enough stigma around mental health in the U.S. that many people choose not to visit a therapist even when they know that a trained, unbiased listener is exactly what they need. A therapist has tools for dealing with mental health issues effectively, and for personal growth and development, too.


Be kind to yourself. Most of us, especially this time of year, fixate on our flaws. Instead of focusing on what you haven't finished, embrace  self-compassion -- defined, simply, as your ability to accept your shortcomings with kindness and understanding. Research shows that self-compassion leads to feelings of happiness, optimism and curiosity.


Set healthy boundaries. Letting our significant others, our kids or our bosses make our lives more difficult can masquerade as kindness, but it’s not always good for us. Define your limits at work, at home and in other relationships.


Exercise regularly. There is a lot of evidence that regular movement, especially outdoors, helps our mental health as well as our physical health. Put a daily walk, bike ride or swim on your calendar and stick to it no matter what.


Resist negative thinking. Remind yourself that the negative thought you are thinking is “only a negative thought.” It has no power other than what you give it. Negatives gain momentum from your thinking them over and over again, so stop thinking about them. Distracting ourselves with work, exercise or a puzzle is a healthier choice.















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