Dr. Rachell N. Anderson
January is a good time to pay special attention to our mental health and plan for a healthy new year. Many people notice a reduction in their apositive feelings during January. Part of that is because we are further away from the sun and our activities around holiday happenings are finished.
Few people stop to access their mental health and well being. Our ability to manage our feelings and deal with everyday difficulties are issues involved in our overall psychological well-being. How we feel about and treat ourselves and others are the important parts of the mix. Good mental health is important at every stage of life, from childhood and adolescence through adulthood and yet, many of us ignore it or treat it as though it doesn’t exist. Our physical health and our mental health are closely linked. Lack of care for one can lead to problems in both. How they feel about and treat ourselves and others are important component of our mental and social well being.
Research shows that how we think about and treat ourselves has a powerful effect on how we feel. So, how do people know when they are thinking and acting right? How do we know if what we’re experiencing puts us in the realm of being mentally healthy or having a mental disorder? Once we wear out our family members and friends, we can defy the stigma and seek professional support and treatment. Seeking help is a sign of strength, not weakness. Then again, there are many changes each of us can do that will improve every aspect of our lives.
Psychologist encourage people to start with simple self assessments like how they view themselves and their lives. How often do they engage in negative self talk like "I'm such a loser. I’m too fat, I’ll never be able to do that.” When we perceive our self and our life negatively, we begin to confirm that notion. Catch yourself doing that and stop it. Instead, practice using words that promote feelings of self-worth and personal power. Words like “It may be hard but I can do it” will boost your spirits and pump endorphins (the happiness chemical) into your brain. In addition, here are other things we can do to promote our mental and physical health.
What’s A Person To Do?
1. Speak to yourself in kind and gentle ways. Treat yourself with respect, and avoid self-criticism. Find the positive in what was once negative. Be grateful for it.
2. Pardon yourself when things go wrong. And they will. Life happens. In those moments when it all seems like too much, step away, and do something else until you feel a little better.
3. Set realistic goals for yourself. Decide what you want to achieve and write down the steps you need to take to get them done. Aim high, and take foward moving baby steps toward your goal. Reach the goal and move on to the next one. Keep moving forward, even when things get hard. You'll enjoy a tremendous sense of accomplishment and self-worth as you progress toward one goal after another.
4. Take care of your body. Taking care of yourself physically can improve your mental health. Get enough sleep. Researchers believe that lack of sleep contributes to high rates of depression in all populations. Exercise. Your body releases stress-relieving and mood-boosting endorphins in the brain. Eat good meals. What you eat nourishes your whole body, including your brain. Carbohydrates (in moderate amounts) increase serotonin, the that makes you calm. Protein-rich foods increase norepinephrine, dopamine, and tyrosine, which help keep you alert. And vegetables and fruits are loaded with nutrients that feed every cell of your body, including those that affect mood-regulating brain chemicals. Include foods with Omega-3 polyunsaturated fatty acids (found in fish, nuts, and flaxseed.) Research shows that these nutrients can improve mood and restore structural integrity to improve your memory and thinking.
5. Surround yourself with good people. People who bitch, moan, complain and gossip soak up your good energy and give nothing back in return. Make plans with a support network and do fun things with them. Learn something new every day.
6. Do something for someone else. Research shows that being helpful to others has a beneficial effect on how you feel about yourself. Being helpful and kind builds your self-esteem.
7. Seek help when you need it. Seeking help is a sign of strength — not a weakness. Therapy works because therapist listen with an unbiased ear and help people to overcome problems with solutions that are desirable. People who get appropriate care can recover from mental illness and live rich rewarding lives.
8. Start today. We all have the power to improve our mental and emotional health. It’s better not to wait for a crisis to seek help. Prevention is better than cure. Besides, it is easier to form new habits when you are feeling strong. Slowly putting in place routines, habits, and regular patterns will help you feel better and make this the best year for your mental and physical health.