Setting Easier Resolutions for Better Mental Health!
“The journey of a thousand miles begins with one step” – Lao Tzu
At the end of every year, people all over the world have one common practice. Setting New Year goals. While it may come easy for some, for others just the thought of having to set resolutions can be stressful. For those who are battling mental health issues, the ringing in of the New Year is often a hard time. While others celebrate the end of a the year and are keen to discuss their resolutions, for people with mental illness, setting New Year resolutions by itself can be a daunting task.
So what is a resolution? The word Resolution means to abide by a decision of either doing or avoiding something to bring a change in our lifestyle. Resolutions are goals which a person may want to accomplish over a short period of time or over years. Resolutions brings a sense of purpose, and completing them brings a sense of achievement. The key to resolutions is not to set big goals, but rather smaller goals that can be achieved on a day to day basis. Here are some goals that work well in increasing our mental well-being. You can either choose to do all every day or assign one task per day.
- Exercising. Exercising regularly increases the cortisol levels (The hormone responsible for “fight and flight response”) in our body. Any form of exercise be it walking, running or swimming has the ability to elevate our mood and eventually reduce anxiety and stress by providing a sense of calm and peace of mind. Try to exercise anywhere between 20 min – 40 min to see the difference.
- Meditation. Meditation has been used since a long time to bring peace of mind. It is one of the best ways of relieving stress. Meditation increases our dopamine levels (helps us determine our mood and experience pleasure). Decreased symptoms of depression and anxiety has also been noticed by those who practice Zen meditation
- Journaling. Writing down your feelings helps one reflect and understand their emotions, how their day was and what aspect of an event had upset them. At the end of the year, you can look back at your log and see how far you have come!
- Healthy Social groups. Maintaining a healthy Social circle increases a sense of belonging and purpose. Social connections does not only provide pleasure, but also influence our long-term health like good sleep, a good diet, Dozens of studies have shown that people who have satisfying relationships with family, friends, and their community are happier and have with fewer health problems.
- Healthy Social groups. Maintaining a healthy Social circle increases a sense of belonging and purpose. Social connections does not only provide pleasure, but also influence our long-term health like good sleep, a good diet, Dozens of studies have shown that people who have satisfying relationships with family, friends, and their community are happier and have with fewer health problems (source).
- Practicing gratitude. Gratitude is the practice of doing something without expecting anything in return. When an individual shows gratitude, they have an overall positive attitude and as a result they experience fewer negative or toxic emotions such as envy, frustration or resentment. (source).
- Hobbies. An activity done regularly in one's leisure time for pleasure. (Source) Hobbies can range from going on a trek to just watching a movie. It is an outlet to explore your interest and helps you unwind and relaxed after a long day.
- Self-care. Self-care is very important in the busy city life as often one forgets to take out time for themselves. Practicing self-care can be anything from reading a book or pampering yourself with a spa to taking a vacation to unwind.
Remember these are your goals. If you don’t feel like achieving them, you don’t have to. If at any point it seems too much of an uphill task, don’t hesitate to alter your list of resolutions .Every day is a new beginning.