Monday, January 06, 2014

Twenty New Year's Resolutions for Wellbeing

1) Prioritise your own health first. That's mental and physical health.  You can't have one without the other.  It's no good being super fit if you've neglected all your relationships and are quite frankly miserable.  So look after your mind, body and soul.  You can't do anything without your health so you must make sure you're happy and well in the first instance. Think about how you can get better - physically and mentally.  Resilience in the physical, emotional, spiritual and mental sense.

2) Don't compare yourself to others.  Just think about yourself, now, in this moment in time.  Especially if you're going through a tough time, and even when you're not, comparing yourself with others - whether they have more money, a better job, a better relationship, a happier family - is not a good idea. Why? Well, first of all you don't know if they have got all that - they may be depressed themselves. Secondly, adversity comes to everyone at one point or another so don't wish it on anyone. Thinking about others in a comparing and competitive way just hinders your own personal development.  Learn to think of others proudly instead of in an envious way.

3) Treasure and nurture your relationships with friends and family.  Second in your list of priorities should be friends and family.  Our relationships with others are probably the most precious things in our lives, our true capital resource.  People who nurture their relationships, give to others, people who listen to them, are generous to others are the happiest.  Laugh with others and be kind to them.  This will pay dividends throughout your life. Happy time spent with friends and family is never wasted.

4) Meditate. Learning how to meditate must be one of the most beneficial things that any person can do in their lives.  Research is now showing that meditation lowers blood pressure as well as helping us sleep, relax and focus.  Simply set aside a  minute each morning to breathe in deeply to the count of seven, then breathe out deeply to the count of eleven.  Set a timer if you're unsure how long a minute lasts.  The next day increase to 3 minutes and the next day to five, increasing gradually to twenty minutes a day.  Just sitting or resting, breathing deeply, concentrating on your breathing.  You should never be bored again!

5) Do what you enjoy, what you want to do  Perhaps the most difficult tip this one, but important, you may have to save up money and do something you don't like for a while to be able to do this.  Spend time thinking about what makes you happy and try to do it, perhaps first of all in your spare time to see if you really do enjoy it, then go for it for a full time occupation if you can.

6) Be open It is difficult to be open when we feel under attack, but by being open, encourages others to open up and then makes tip number 3 easier which is nurturing relationships.

7) Ask for help. Most people find it difficult to ask for help when they need it, because we're a very independent species.  But when we struggle, one of the best things we can do is ask our nearest and dearest what they can do to help us regain balance.

8) Exercise regularly.  The government recommends each adult exercises to full cardiac fitness level for 1.5 hours per week - that means exercising until you get out of breath for that amount of time - quite a lot really.  It is difficult to fit it in, but when you do the endorphins and adrenalin released makes it worth your while both physically and mentally.

9) Help others - volunteer  This can be as small as contributing to online forums or forwarding informative tweets on twitter - anything that helps people gives you that buzz of happiness.  Make a meal for a friend,  bake a cake.

10) Coach yourself There are free coaching courses you can go on, just google Coaching academy.  Most life coaches give their first session free on Skype or face to face.  It's worth it to help you prioritise your life and for action planning.

11) Write to do lists everyday and cross things off! It is very therapeutic to cross things off your to-do list.  Writing lists or action plans keeps you focussed on the action which is resolving your situation, helps to prevent anxiety and depression before they start as you are focussed on the end goal.

12) Give yourself free treats every day Pin your list of your favourite 'free' treats on your fridge - whether that's a cup of tea, hand cream, lip salve, a chat to friends on the phone, surfing the net or cooking your favourite meal.  Try to give your free treats to yourself as a reward for taking action, so you get into a virtuous cycle of action, reward and achievement.

13) Forgive yourself and others  Forgiving yourself is the most difficult thing of all to do.  Just picture yourself meeting someone who is dressed exactly like you on a deserted misty beach.  As the person approaches you realise that it is you after all.  You are meeting yourself.  You give yourself a big, friendly hug and say 'I forgive you' for whatever you have done.  This is a powerful visualisation that really helps for bereavement for example. It is effective for negative emotions such as guilt, depression and loss.

14) Count your blessings every day. Every day preferably write down the smallest of lovely things that you see or that happen to you.  It might be the sun shining, the rain glistening, the snow reflecting glorious white light.  This gratitude helps you appreciate life.

15) Be flexible in your thinking.  Life is rarely black or white.  It is shades of grey. Very, very rarely will one problem or challenge ruin your life, and it is not healthy to think like that anyway.  We all make mistakes and what happy people do is learn from their mistakes.  Write down what you have learnt from your latest mistake and put it away somewhere, come back to it in a few years and you might find you have learnt much more.

16) Have high expectations. One of the most depressing things anyone ever said to me was that I had to lower people's expectations of life.  Surely this is the opposite of what life is about.  If we have high expectations of each other then it means we can trust, have events to look forward to and a society to be part of.

17) Learn to Relax. Some people find it difficult to switch off, others easy.  The key is to finding out what makes you relax - everyone is different.  Meditation is great for some, others it's playing computer games (which you could say is a form of meditation!).  Do what floats your boat relaxation wise.

18) Keep positive. The maxim if you've only got something horrible to say then don't say it is even more true in our internet age.  People can get very worried about your health if you go around insulting others or denigrating yourself on social media, so avoid this.  Keep updates positive and upbeat.  If you must be downbeat - do it in person when you can be properly helped.

19) Carry on learning! We all learn something new every day - celebrate this and savour it.  It's great to learn new skills or read new books.  Share your progress with others so the positivity breeds.

20) Be confident.  A psychiatrist once said to me that he had never met a confident depressed person.  So confidence and happiness go hand in hand.  So focus on increasing your confidence if you feel down.  Confidence can be acquired through NLP, hypnotherapy, assertiveness training, an evening class.  Find the best ways for you to increase your confidence.

No comments: