At the start of the new year, my conversations with friends and social media feeds are usually filled with people talking about their New Year’s resolutions. Every year it seems people wait for January 1st to make big changes in their life, usually health-related, whether it’s losing weight or vowing to eat healthier. While these goals (if followed through) can be beneficial to your overall physical health, most people tend to neglect mental health along the way.
However, mental health can be just as, if not more, important to our overall well-being and one in four people worldwide will experience a mental health issue at some point in their life. So this year, I challenge everyone to go back and add at least one mental health resolution to their list. If you can’t think of any, here are a few examples:
1.) Compliment yourself more. New Year’s resolutions usually involve pointing out the things you don’t like about yourself, or want to “fix”. To counter this, try to find one thing every day to compliment yourself on. Whether it’s how great you look in the new sweater you bought or reminding yourself how smart you are, the more you begin to love yourself, the better you’ll feel.
2.) Try meditation. Meditation has been shown to have a variety of mental health benefits, including improvements in memory, empathy, sense of self, and stress relief. And contrary to popular belief, it doesn’t require a large time commitment. Try beginning or ending each day with just five minutes of meditation.
3.) Say yes to new things, but also learn to say no when you need to. Go to that new spin class with your friend, enter that essay contest you’ve always wanted to, and don’t let your anxiety get in the way of pursuing new opportunities. At the same time, saying “yes” to everything can bring more harm then good, so make sure to learn your limit and find a good balance between the two.