7 resolutions to improve mental health

3. Schedule time to have fun each week

Many people fill their lives with obligations and only do activities they enjoy when they have some spare time. Instead, Morin recommends scheduling time for fun each week.

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That fun will depend on what you like to do and it gives you pleasure. You could text a friend to see a movie or schedule a golf game in a few days, or make plans to take your grandkids out for ice cream.

If you have a hobby that you’re passionate about—whether it’s painting, embroidering, or walking—schedule time for it once a week to ensure you’ll have a chance to do it. Whatever the activity, it’s important to plan ahead, because some of the mental benefits come from anticipation, Morin says.

“If you write it down on the calendar, that has an effect on the brain,” says Morin. “There is a lot of research showing that anticipation of a future activity improves mood.”

4. Cultivate strong relationships

Human beings need a sense of community and belonging, Morin says, and studies show that strong relationships are the most consistent predictor of happiness. Having positive friendships also reduces the risk of anxiety and depression.

Even if you’re an introvert, try to schedule at least one social activity per week, Morin suggests. If you feel lonely and isolated, come up with ways to create new social connections, whether it’s joining a church group or volunteering at the library.

“It’s very easy to get stuck in a rut where you’re just watching TV and talking to the same family members,” she says. “We know that loneliness is linked to depression. Talking to new people can help make new connections and also stimulates the mind.”

5. Question unhelpful thoughts

Occupying your mind with a lot of negative thoughts can affect your mood and overall well-being, says Rachel Goldman, a clinical psychologist and associate clinical professor in the Department of Psychiatry at New York University Grossman School of Medicine, based in New York University. town.

With practice, however, you can change your thinking patterns, says Goldman.

Start by paying attention to what you think. If you notice an unhelpful thought, such as “I don’t get to see my grandchildren enough” or “I might have cancer,” pause and acknowledge the thought’s presence. But “remind yourself that thoughts are not facts,” says Goldman.

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