The start of a new year marks a time for change, growth, and reflection. This is a time when we set goals and resolutions for the year ahead, and while it is important to focus on tangible goals, it is equally as crucial to prioritize our mental health. Focus on positive habits that can improve our overall well-being. In this article, we’ll explore several habits we can practice to prioritize our mental health and live a healthier, happier life.
1. Positive Self-Talk
The way we talk to ourselves has a huge impact on our mental health. Negative self-talk can be detrimental to our emotional well-being and can lead to feelings of inadequacy, low self-esteem, and anxiety. On the other hand, practicing positive self-talk can improve our self-confidence and overall well-being. So, let’s start by practicing positive self-talk daily. For example, instead of saying, “I’m not good enough,” change it to “I am capable and deserving of success.”
2. Prioritize Sleep
Getting enough sleep is essential for our mental and physical health. According to the National Alliance on Mental Illness, about 1 in 3 people in the U.S. report difficulty sleeping at least one night per week. Lack of sleep can lead to increased stress, anxiety, and decreased productivity. It is important to prioritize sleep by creating a bedtime routine and sticking to a regular sleep schedule. Avoid screens before bed and create a relaxing environment in your bedroom to promote a good night’s sleep. Aim for at least 7-8 hours of sleep each night.
3. Practice Gratitude
Practicing gratitude on a daily basis can improve our happiness and overall well-being. It can help us focus on what we have rather than what we lack. Start by creating a gratitude journal and writing down three things you are grateful for each day. Or, simply start each day by expressing gratitude for something in your life. It can be as simple as being thankful for a warm cup of coffee in the morning.
4. Consider Therapy
Therapy can be an incredibly effective tool for managing our mental health. It provides a safe and non-judgmental space to talk about our thoughts and feelings and develop coping mechanisms for managing stress and anxiety. If you’re feeling overwhelmed or struggling with your mental health, consider reaching out to a licensed therapist in your area. The 988 Suicide & Crisis Lifeline connects you to trained counselors 24/7, free and confidential. Talk openly, honestly, without fear.
5. Spend More Time Outside
Spending time outside can have a positive impact on our mental health. Research shows that nature can reduce stress, improve mood, and boost our overall well-being. Make it a habit to spend a few minutes outside each day. Whether it’s taking a walk around your neighborhood or sitting outside in your backyard, make time to connect with nature.
6. Set Realistic Goals
While it’s important to challenge ourselves and strive for success, it’s equally important to set realistic goals. Setting unattainable goals can lead to feelings of failure and disappointment. Start by setting small, achievable goals and work your way up. Celebrate your accomplishments, no matter how small they may be.
Prioritizing our mental health is essential for living a healthy and happy life. Implementing positive habits such as practicing positive self-talk, prioritizing sleep, practicing gratitude, considering therapy, spending more time outside, and setting realistic goals can be incredibly beneficial. Remember that mental health is just as important as physical health, so make it a priority in your life. Let’s start the new year off by prioritizing our well-being and living our best lives.