In the U.S., the two most common types of resolutions are related to weight loss and saving money, and though some people stick to their goals, many others fall off the wagon before January ends. Though weight management and fiscal responsibility are worthy goals, other resolutions are just as important. Specifically, setting a goal to care for your mental health can be a great step towards a better you.
3 Mental Health Goals We All Should Try to Achieve
Approximately one in four (26%) American adults live with a diagnosable mental disorder in a given year. That being said, you don’t have to have a diagnosed condition to benefit from better mental health habits.
No matter the season, get you and your whole family on track towards better mental and emotional health with these three achievable goals:
1. Resolve to Care for Your Overall Health
Developing good physical habits like eating well and exercising is a proven way to boost your mental well-being. Additionally, taking steps towards disease prevention can also protect your mental health. Studies show that individuals with chronic illnesses, like diabetes or kidney disease, have a higher risk for developing depression (about 25-33%, when women’s average risk for depression is 10-25%, and men’s is 5-12%). Focusing on long-term health and visiting a doctor regularly can help you keep your body working optimally, which will in turn help prevent the mental health concerns that might come with chronic illness.
2. Promise to Love Yourself the Way You Are
As Psychology Today writes, happiness does not come from achieving goals you’ve set in the distant future. Happiness can only come from learning to accept yourself within a given moment. Believing that you’ll be happy once you’ve lost 10 pounds, or saved $5,000, is a double-edged sword — if you fail to reach your goal, you’ll despise yourself, and if you do reach your goal, the pleasure and pride will be fleeting. When you’re struggling to find happiness that isn’t linked to personal achievement, Psychology Today recommends chatting with a therapist to develop a healthier relationship with goal-setting and self-love.
3. Get the Whole Family Involved in Self-Care
Studies show that spending time with friends and family boosts your mood and can limit symptoms of depression. To improve your own mental health and the health of those you love, make an effort in the coming months to spend more quality time together. If you have children, spend time practicing good mental health habits with them, such as meditating, journaling, or reducing screen time. Since 10% of U.S. children ages three to 17 received professional mental health counseling or treatment in 2016, it’s never too early to start teaching children about good mental health habits.
Too often, we set personal goals with others’ opinions in mind. Instead of putting our own health first, we worry about what other people think and how we can better fit with societal standards. Instead of trying to lose weight or earn more money, consider setting goals for better mental health. By prioritizing your mental well-being, you’ll be better able to tackle challenges in other areas of your life. Forget the new year’s resolution, and focus your year-round goals on self-care and love.
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