With a new year and new decade upon us, there’s no better time to think about your own mental well being as the world turns over a new leaf.
As the dawn is breaking on a new year, several sites have published a number of ways you can have good mental health in the new year.
New Year, New Decade, New Ways to Get Better
CNN recently ran a story that featured a number of ways you can improve your mental health in the new year, and the first one the list is “practice optimism.” It’s an easy thing to try at first, yet for a lot of us, it’s hard to make it stick.
Yet as CNN tells us, “optimists have a 35% less chance of dying from a heart attack or stroke.” Optimists are also more likely to exercise and eat healthy. According to these studies, if you maintain a positive attitude, there’s a good possibility you could live past 85.
This isn’t saying you have to be a Pollyanna or ignore everyday stress, but it’s how you deal with it that separates the optimists from the pessimists, like looking at a setback as a challenge instead of an anchor weighing you down. (Another recommended step from CNN is “when crummy things happen, don’t blame yourself unnecessarily.”)
You can indeed train yourself to be more optimistic in life, and it doesn’t usually come naturally. As this report says, “Only about 25% of optimism is programmed by our genes.”
A training technique this story recommends is imagining your “best possible self,” where you imagine yourself in the future where you’ve solved your problems, and you’ve achieved what you want out of life. People who do this even as little as 15 minutes a week can see great results in time.”
Another technique CNN recommends is practicing gratitude. You may be familiar with the exercise of coming up with three things every day that you’re grateful for. Another exercise this story recommends is keeping a journal of whatever happens that’s positive in your life during the day, no matter how minuscule that something good is.
One example this story offers is that kids who practice gratitude have fewer behavior problems in school.
And again, you don’t need to do these exercises every day for hours. A little bit at a time over a lengthy period of time should be enough, and eventually, over time, you should see and feel good results.
While the new year has just begun, and it’s hard to tell where things are going to go, a new year is always a good time to start anew and try to improve your mental and emotional health. Practice makes perfect, and doing it a little at a time can really pay off down the road. Before you know it, a lot of time will fly right by, and hopefully, before we know it, we’ll all be in a better place mentally and emotionally with enough practice and effort.
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