Dr. Deb’s Mental Health Vitamin: Some new resolutions
By Dr. Deb Wade
GCU Vice President, Counseling and Psychological Services
Another year (and decade) is in our rear-view mirrors. Now that we’re in our second week of 2020 … how are you doing with your New Year’s resolutions?
Most people think about change, many people write down their goals for change but, realistically, few people successfully complete them for an entire year. What are the most common resolutions?
- Lose weight! Yes, I agree that most of us probably need to lose weight. Oh, I’m not talking about pounds and inches … I’m talking about the baggage that often is carried on one’s back.
- I am a failure
- I have no real friends
- I am stuck at the dead end of life
- My bad habits are multiplying
- I’ll never get ahead
- I’m not worthy
Yikes! Take a self-inventory from this lens – what, about me, am I proud of? What are my accomplishments? How did I serve others? Have I been kind to others, even when I’m personally not in a good place? At my place of work, do I encourage those whose positions are beneath mine? Do I edify those whose positions are above mine?
When we begin to think about “losing weight,” perhaps our negative perspectives, negative world view and negative self-condemnation are a good place to start!
- Exercise more! Of course, exercising more often goes with losing weight! Oh, I’m not talking about starting a running routine, lifting barbells and free weights, or taking a spin class. I’m suggesting the ways we can each exercise our minds and our emotions so that our mental health is at its peak!
- Read inspirational literature
- Tackle and manhandle my mind’s negative filter
- Express affection and love to those I care about
- Be kind to those I love … also to those whom I don’t know
- Encourage the lost; bolster the downtrodden
- Say the words of love that I’m thinking but have been left unsaid
- Wear a smile; nothing encourages others more than a friendly face
When we begin to think about ways to “exercise more,” let’s start with positive action words that will positively affect others … and therefore will positively affect us!
- Learn something new! It seems that people yearn to learn – a new skill, a new hobby, a new degree, an advanced degree, a new curiosity. A need to reach, to stretch and to capture something new is very alluring. But what if we took that a bit further into the relational realm?
- Get a Ph.D. in knowing my spouse
- Spend time with those older or those younger … and learn from them
- Invest in the important relationships in my life
- Delete all toxic relationships
- Repair broken relationships
- Seek and develop new friendships
You see, just when we think we know someone, we find out that we always can learn something new! Ask questions of – and listen to – those elderly relatives and friends in your life. Teach the youngsters in your family … about family! Put down the cellphone and open verbal dialogue! Listen better and talk less. Explore the depths of your favorite relationships – not just admire the surface! Strive to exhibit with action the word “love!”
Studies show that only 8% of people who make New Year’s resolutions actually keep them. So let’s add another resolution to the list: Keep and follow my own New Year’s resolutions!
There always will be a great dividend rewarded when one invests in the more important aspects of life – family, friends, coworkers, colleagues, neighbors and strangers!
Happy New Year … and Happy New Decade!