Make a resolution for emotional wellness in 2020
The third Monday in January is dubbed “Blue Monday” because the weather is usually miserable, the highs of Christmas are replaced by the lows of credit card bills and the days still seem way too short. Another factor is the new year’s resolutions made have already failed.
It’s debatable if there is any merit to the Blue Monday affect, but regardless, it is an opportunity to address and spread key messages about mental health. Let’s change the script and resolve to make 2020 the year of emotional wellness.
An end-of-year story reported by NPR gave several tips on improving emotional well-being in the new year. Here are a few of those We’ll share a few of those guidelines that can help achieve greater sense of well-being and happiness, the keys to improved mental wellness.
Begin by cultivating joy and practice simple techniques we’ve heard before such as mindfulness, focused breathing, setting attainable daily goals and keeping a gratitude journal. End the day by identifying one positive thing that happened, large or small.
One we particularly liked was practicing “positive reappraisal.” Think about a daily activity that is less than enjoyable and consciously reframe that into something more positive. The example was, when stuck in traffic, savor the quiet time. Put into practice, it will become a habit.
Understand that failure is part of the process. Those healthy resolutions like getting more exercise or eating better may encounter some missteps like a skipped workout or indulging in a piece of birthday cake. Don’t be discouraged or beat yourself up, accept it and resume your goals.
Find your purpose. Having a purpose in life may decrease your risk of dying early. In a study published in JAMA Current Open in May 2019, researchers analyzed data between the relationship between mortality and life purpose. The research showed that having a sense of purpose in life is associated with both physical and mental health and overall quality of life. Purpose in life can be defined as “a self-organizing life aim that stimulates goals, promotes healthy behaviors and gives meaning to life.”
Individuals lacking purpose in life may feel hopeless and unmotivated to live an active and healthful life. Some studies report that those with a strong purpose in life engage in healthy behaviors and have better health outcomes for sleep disturbances, stroke incidence, depression and diabetes. Take a moment to identify what your purpose is. It doesn’t matter what it is, caring for animals, a hobby you’re passionate about, giving your time to a cause, just as long as it brings meaning to your life.
If there is one thing you can do to make the most impact in your mental wellness this year, it is to visit your doctor and address your mental health status in addition to your physical health. Make it a regular part of your visit and checkups, even if your doctor doesn’t bring it up.
Susan Kozak has been a licensed social worker for the past 35 years and currently serves as the executive director of Community Care Services, a position she has held since 2011.