Every year, countless people resolve to live life to its fullest and to be healthier. For some words of wisdom on how to stress less and live better in the new year, we asked Dr. Itai Danovitch, chair of the Cedars-Sinai Department of Psychiatry and Behavioral Neurosciences, for a few mental health resolutions.
Before making any resolutions, Dr. Danovitch suggests that you make a list of goals. If you had one year to live, what would you do differently? What do you wish you had done in 2016? Do one of those things this year. Be specific. Here are 5 mental health boosting ideas to help you live better in the new year.
Find an hour each week. Take a hike, literally. Find some green space. (Try one of these great LA parks.) Walk on the beach. Slip off your shoes, liberate your toes, and use those muscles. Or simply plunge your toes into the sand.
Set a screen Sabbath
Choose one night each week and turn off all your screens. No television, no computer, no tablet, no smartphone. Notice how hard it is. Allow yourself to get bored. Boredom is a prelude to adventure. Shun self-judgments that you “should” be doing something else and embrace being in the moment.
When something sets you off, before you respond, stop, take a breath, step back, replay what happened, and ask yourself what you really want. Then proceed. Consider the acronym STOP–a skill used in some types of therapy.
Stop: Take no further action. Freeze and stay in control.
Take a step back: Breathe. Let your impulse pass.
Observe: Take note of the facts of the situation and your feelings.
Proceed mindfully: Act with awareness of the facts, your feelings, and your goals. Weigh what actions will make the situation better and what would make it worse.
If you feel yourself relying too much on any single means of “unwinding,” (a drink, a smoke, a pill), ask yourself whether you are getting dependent. If you are concerned, talk to your doctor about it.
Give it away
When you have a generous thought, an idea for a gift, or a compliment, take note of it and do it.