The new year can be an exciting time for some people but a difficult time for many as well. There are some simple psychological tools that you can use to ensure that you stay emotionally healthy for the year ahead….
- Set Realistic And Helpful New Years Resolutions:Try and set yourself ‘approach goals’, rather than ‘termination goals’. This means asking yourself what you want more of, rather than to stop. This is helpful as it supports you heading in the right direction, but minimises the chances of emotional problems if you struggle to stop difficult things. For example, rather than setting yourself the resolution of ‘eating less junk food’, try setting the task of ‘living more healthily’ and thinking about all of the things you can do to gradually improve your health more broadly.
- Have Healthy Stress:
Some stress in our lives can be useful as it can spur us on, but too much can increase vulnerability to clinical problems like depression. If you feel stressed, ask yourself how you feel emotionally and physically? If you are struggling to function effectively over a period of several weeks the chances are it would be useful to look at areas of your life in more detail and how you are dealing with them.
- Think About Sleep:
Adults need between 7-10 hours of sleep a night for optimum functioning. Whilst some people can require as few as 4 hours sleep, it is important not to try and benchmark your sleep against other people, but instead keep a diary of the amount you get, compared to your alertness levels the next day in order to begin thinking about the levels you require.
- What’s Important To You? :
Have you ever felt that your life isn’t heading the way you want it to? When was the last time you actually thought about what’s important to you? We all have life values, the things that give life meaning. For example, ‘to be a good parent’. Once you have a list of your values try to think of specific daily tasks that make that particular value a reality.
- Stay Connected:What people, places, organisations and groups link to your values above? There is strong research showing links between low levels of connectedness and problems like depression, stress and relationship difficulties. So check out how you can increase your real life social connections – not just the number of Twitter followers or Facebook friends you have!