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9 Small Ways to Have Better Mental Health in the New Year

As you know, for the countries that use a Gregorian Calendar New Year is just around the corner. While for many this would be a time to make new years resolutions, those often look like enormous imposing things when you’re not at the best point with your mental health. We at Psych2go would like to offer you more achievable ways to have better mental health in the New Year. In a low effort ways, that is, because we know that when you are already struggling looking at a huge new years resolution feels like an impossibility. So these are some small ways to have better mental health in the new year.

  1. Teach yourself to look out for the good things, the positives (with a trick)

This might sound really obvious, but it’s quite difficult to focus on the good things if your brain always goes into overdrive when a minor thing goes wrong. (Hello anxiety!) But get yourself a nice notebook with enough pages, and perhaps a bit of room to doodle as well. Each day – or once or twice a week if each day feels like too much right now – note down some of the good things that happen. Small things are great as well. Petting a nice dog or cat. Eating something new and really enjoying it. Seeing a beautiful sunrise. If you do this and can make it into a habit, your brain will be helped in looking at more positive things. In this way it will hopefully give you a bit better mental health, because it can help balance the negatives a little bit. Altering damaging thought patterns is a way to improve.

  1. Practise slow breathing

The average breath-rate fora n adult is about 15 breaths per minute. Practise slow breathing each day, by consciously attempting to make your breath rate lower for a few minutes. This will activate your Parasynthetic Nervous System, which regulates your bodily functions for “rest” state. Your heart rate will lower, and this will also help reduce anxiety. (source: MacKinnon, 2016)

  1. Make an Effort to Focus on the Moment

This is another way to help with thought patterns. Common patterns that can work against improvement are overthinking future plans, living in the past too much, or overanalysing a conversation.

  1. Hugs

If you are okay with physical contact – and it’s fine if you’re not – try to give more hugs, or receive more hugs. Keep in mind to be respectful of people’s personal space though. If someone does not like to hug does not necessarily mean they do not like you, maybe they are just not very comfortable touching people. But anyway, hugging can release endorphines and hormones, like oxytocin which can make you feel nicer when you are feeling down.

  1. More Conscious Living

Try to take a moment in the evening or morning to focus on the day ahead, or what you have done today. This can help you feel more in control of your life. Research project in the Values Study suggests that people who feel more in control of their lives report higher satisfaction. So every penny counts. (sourfce: EVS, n.d.)

You might also like: What is Your Best Personality Trait QUIZ 

  1. Color on Clothes

Yes, we know, black is a great shade to wear. But it could help get you better mental health if you wear a little bit of color sometimes. Studies suggest that wearing bright colors can actually increase the release of dopamine, a hormone that influences positive feelings. (source: Standish, 2014)

  1. More About Colors

Change your desktop background to green! Green is the color that produces minimal eyestrain, and could help create a calm atmosphere. It can reduce anxiety, and blue can help you feel more efficient and help lower your heart rate (Jacobs et al., 1974).

  1. Try to be Creative

Even if you don’t feel like you are. Never really drawn or painted before? Give it a try, get some supplies and paper and just make something. Pushing yourself to do something new that is achievable an provide stimulation. Stimulation activates your brain and can help you regain some energy. Added bonus: you feel more accomplished. Note that it does not have to be pretty, abstract blotches of colors are also great! Furthermore, creativity can also happen in solving puzzles, riddles, word games, sudoku’s, doing a new route on your daily jog if that is your thing, anything.

  1. A Common Technique Used to Deal with Anxiety

This exercise is often used in anti anxiety courses or therapy. Schedule your worry time. Give yourself a planned session of 15 to 20 minutes each day to mull over things. Give yourself the opportunity to worry and make sure you have something else to do afterwards. Also try to suppress the urge to worry too much during the day. Practising postponing worry can help you reduce your anxiety overall, because it often seems to happen automatically. This exercise can train you to suppress your anxiety over time, and help you focus on the good things you want to get done during the day. It’s quite hard, particularly in the beginning, but keep trying and it might just be the thing you need. The more often you are able to postpone it, the better you get at suppressing it when you really don’t need it.

We hope this tips for a better mental health will help you in 2018! Share your tips with others on our tumblr, or on our facebook. Share and like this to help out others and support us on our mission!

You might also like: What is Your Best Personality Trait QUIZ 

Sources

European Values Study. “Life: Well-being, Happiness, Life Satisfaction, Locus of Control.” N.d. Web. 24 Dec. 2017.

Jacobs, Keith W. and Frank G. Hustmeyer. “Effects of Four Psychological Primary Colors on GSR, Heart Rate and Respiration Rate.” Percepual and Motor Skills. Vol 38. 763-66. 1974. Web. 24 Dec. 2017.

MacKinnon, Matthew. “The Science of Slow Deep Breathing.” Psychology Today. 7 Feb. 2016. Web. 24 Dec. 2017.

Standish, Jules. “Color to Boost Your Mood!” Daily Mail. 8 Dec. 2014. Web. 24 Dec. 2017.

3 Comments

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  1. Hi! These points are really insightful and I like that there are a lot of tips here that can be practised in everyday life. I do have a couple of suggestions for improvements though:
    – In point 1, the examples given after ‘small things are great as well’ should be given in list form, i.e. with a colon or equivalent like ‘for example’.

    – In point 2, there is a typo on ‘for an’.

    – In point 3, you describe the practise of focusing on the moment, but I think it is worth mentioning mindfullness and the large amount of available information about mindfullness that is available in physical (book) form, in group sessions, or online.

    – In point 4, I was unsure whether ‘nicer’ was a suitable word choice at the very end of the paragraph. Personally I think that ‘uplifted’ or ‘happier’ would make more sense in the context of the point.

    – Points 6 and 7 seem extremely similar to one another and come across as one point that has been split into two. I think that they could either be individually developed further to add more depth to each, or possibly combined into one point which would leave room for another point.

    – Finally, in point 8 there is a typo after ‘achievable’.

    I hoped this helped you or at least has been of some use. Overall, great tips!

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