19 Resolutions For a Great 2019

19 Ways To Achieve A Mentally Healthy 2019

Break the chain of harmful New Year's resolutions.

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As we inch closer and closer to 2019 the talk of New Year's resolutions is more prominent than ever. Diets plans are going on sale, ads for gym memberships have taken over the television, and every type of pill known to man is "half priced for this week only."

What people aren't talking about, though, is how dangerous New Years resolutions can be to mental health. As you plan for a successful 2019, here are 19 ways to keep your goals healthy.

1. Prioritize meditation. 

Mental health and stress management is extremely important balancing a healthy lifestyle. There are countless smart watches and free apps on the market to assist in beginning your meditation journey.

2. Eat veggies. 

Health and happiness is built from the inside out. Incorporating some green foods into your diet will do more good than any weight-loss pill ever could.

3. Read more. 

Your brain is a muscle, too. Between Netflix, Amazon Prime and countless other streaming options, our brains have turned to near mush. Take a break. Read a book. Learn something new.

4. Prioritize a passion. 

Everyone has 'em. No matter how big or small find something that you can pour your energy into. This should be something you genuinely love.

5. Drink more water. 

Hydrate or die-drate, right? Water is the most essential part of our bodies. Drinking more water can do more for you than you realize. Whatever your personal goals are, odds are, water can help.

6. Base your goals in faith. 

Habits take weeks to set, life styles take even longer. If you're walking through change alone, you'll never get to the finish line. Base every goal in faith. Whether that means faith in yourself, in others or in God's word, support will get you where you desire to go.

7. Be present. 

Quality time is the most valuable gift of all. Take just a moment to spend some time. In a fast paced life, it can be so easy to overlook the most constant and stable things or people. Drop the phone. Play a game.

8. Take more pictures. 

Memories fade, photos remain. Take a second to take a picture of a great day. You'll look back and be grateful you took the 10 seconds to capture your memory.

9. Travel as much as possible. 

The world is big and beautiful. Whether it be a day trip to another state or a flight across an ocean, meeting new people and seeing new places is the greatest thing you can do for your health.

10. Donate. 

Whether you donate your time or money, giving back is the most selfless of selfish acts. Nothing makes you feel better and simultaneously does better for those around you.

11. Surround yourself with great influencers. 

The energy of those around you has more impact on you than you think it does. Surround yourself with those that make you the best version of yourself. No one asked you to do it alone.

12. Write it out. 

Journal. Buy a diary. Get a new planner. Write a letter. Whatever makes the most sense to you will create the most impact on your life. No matter how you feel, write it out. It's good for you.

13. Verbalize emotion. 

Internalizing every moment can only lead to an inevitable volcanic eruption. Talk to your support systems when you're feeling any type of way. Teaching yourself to talk through emotion (no matter how challenging) will help you learn to love yourself more and more with every confession.

14. Listen to your body. 

You know more than you think you do. Your body will and can tell you what it needs to be happier and healthier. Stop moving and listen to what you really need.

15. Reward yourself. 

The small wins are more important than the big ones. Don't be afraid to love yourself and reward yourself for the better parts of the year.

16. Work to create a good relationship with food. 

Our society is built on food associations. Unfortunately, our culture has caused many to associate food with stress, anxiety and a lack of self acceptance. Work this year to create good associations with food. Good associations will lead to the best mental health.

17. Sleep more. 

Sleep solves most all things. No matter what you're trying to accomplish, sleeping will help. Get yourself on a schedule and stick to it. You will never miss as much as you think you are.

18. Take bathes. 

Giving yourself time to soak and relax allows your mind and body to slow themselves down. Spend the $5 on a bath bomb, break out a good book, light a candle and relax your mind.

19. Experiment with essential oils. 

Learning to move away from traditional medicine and use the essence of earth to remediate illness and issues will do nothing but good things to your body. Open up your mind and allow yourself listen to the many things that our earth has to offer.

The start of a new year should be a time to start over and make personal progress. It is extremely important, though that you prioritize your own mental health when planning for the new year. As you work towards a better you, work to understand your body from the inside out. Real change will come from a real understanding of yourself.

Happy 2019, may this year be a year of a happy heart, body, and mind.

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To The Person Who Feels Suicidal But Doesn't Want To Die

Suicidal thoughts are not black and white.
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Everyone assumes that if you have suicidal thoughts that means you want to die.

Suicidal thoughts are thought of in such black-and-white terms. Either you have suicidal thoughts and you want to die, or you don't have suicidal thoughts and you want to live. What most people don't understand is there are some stuck in the gray area of those two statements, I for one am one of them.

I've had suicidal thoughts since I was a kid.

My first recollection of it was when I came home after school one day and got in trouble, and while I was just sitting in the dining room I kept thinking, “I wonder what it would be like to take a knife from the kitchen and just shove it into my stomach." I didn't want to die, or even hurt myself for that matter. But those thoughts haven't stopped since.

I've thought about going into the bathroom and taking every single pill I could find and just drifting to sleep and never waking back up, I've thought about hurting myself to take the pain away, just a few days ago on my way to work I thought about driving my car straight into a tree. But I didn't. Why? Because even though that urge was so strong, I didn't want to die. I still don't, I don't want my life to end.

I don't think I've ever told anyone about these feelings. I don't want others to worry because the first thing anyone thinks when you tell them you have thoughts about hurting or killing yourself is that you're absolutely going to do it and they begin to panic. Yes, I have suicidal thoughts, but I don't want to die.

It's a confusing feeling, it's a scary feeling.

When the depression takes over you feel like you aren't in control. It's like you're drowning.

Every bad memory, every single thing that hurt you, every bad thing you've ever done comes back and grabs you by the ankle and drags you back under the water just as you're about the reach the surface. It's suffocating and not being able to do anything about it.

The hardest part is you never know when these thoughts are going to come. Some days you're just so happy and can't believe how good your life is, and the very next day you could be alone in a dark room unable to see because of the tears welling up in your eyes and thinking you'd be better off dead. You feel alone, you feel like a burden to everyone around you, you feel like the world would be better off without you. I wish it was something I could just turn off but I can't, no matter how hard I try.

These feelings come in waves.

It feels like you're swimming and the sun is shining and you're having a great time until a wave comes and sucks you under into the darkness of the water. No matter how hard you try to reach the surface again a new wave comes and hits you back under again, and again, and again.

And then it just stops.

But you never know when the next wave is going to come. You never know when you're going to be sucked back under.

I always wondered if I was the only one like this.

It didn't make any sense to me, how did I think about suicide so often but not want to die? But I was thinking about it in black and white, I thought I wasn't allowed to have those feelings since I wasn't going to act on them. But then I read articles much like this one and I realized I'm not the only one. Suicidal thoughts aren't black and white, and my feelings are valid.

To everyone who feels this way, you aren't alone.

I thought I was for the longest time, I thought I was the only one who felt this way and I didn't understand how I could feel this way. But please, I implore you to talk to someone, anyone, about the way you're feeling, whether it be a family member, significant other, a friend, a therapist.

My biggest mistake all these years was never telling anyone how I feel in fear that they would either brush me off because “who could be suicidal but not want to die?" or panic and try to commit me to a hospital or something. Writing this article has been the greatest feeling of relief I've felt in a long time, talking about it helps. I know it's scary to tell people how you're feeling, but you're not alone and you don't have to go through this alone.

Suicidal thoughts aren't black and white, your feelings are valid, and there are people here for you. You are not alone.

If you or someone you know is experiencing suicidal thoughts, call the National Suicide Prevention Hotline — 1-800-273-8255


Cover Image Credit: BengaliClicker

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Fight And Flight, How I Conquer My Emotional Battles

In times of high threat and peril, science says our innate response usually follows one of two paths: fight or flight.

snele1
snele1
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Like almost any other concept related to humans, the idea of "fight or flight" boils down to either/or, one over the other, choice A or choice B. This seems logical, as science also says we can't actually multitask as humans. We may think we can manage multiple tasks simultaneously, but we're inevitably occupied by one thing at a time. Now, depending on each person, the response to any given situation might vary. Someone might feel courageous enough to stay and "fight," while someone else may deem it wiser to make like a bird and take "flight."

Regardless, this concept revolves around a definitive choice, a choice of just one response, not both.

While I agree with this concept as it is, I've come to think that, in some areas of life, we can manage both. We can fight, but we can also take flight. Although fight or flight generally refers to physical threats/obstacles, I think the fight and flight apply on an emotional/mental front.

This past weekend was quite a whirlwind, blowing my emotions in all kinds of directions, which is really what prompted me to think about my emotional response to the weekend as a whole. As a bit of important background, I'm not a crier by nature. I just don't cry in public/ in front of others. Don't get me wrong, I don't see anything wrong with crying in public. It's a perfectly human response. No book, movie, song, or the like has ever moved me to tears. (Well actually, the movie "The Last Song" with Miley Cyrus did cause a stream of tears, but that's literally one out of a decade.)

Enough about that for now, though, I'll make mention of it again later.

I think this past weekend's deluge was an unassuming foreboding of the flood of emotions that came pouring in on Sunday. The day began like any other Mother's Day, we opened gifts with my mother before heading to my aunt's for a family lunch. Only once we arrived, I was informed that my other aunt, who's like a second mom to me, lost her beloved Shih Tzu of 14 years, Coco. We all knew that Coco's time was likely limited, but it still seemed sudden. I was a bit rocked by the news, but ultimately knew she had given life a run for its money. After all, I like to joke that if I come back, it'd ideally be as a house dog.

Needless to say, the suddenness of it all wouldn't really hit me till later that afternoon.

Fast-forwarding to the evening, we decided visiting my other grandmother would be a nice gesture on Mother's Day. Although she was still out and about, my house-ridden grandfather was there, and so we decided it'd be nice to stay and visit with him. A bit more background, my grandfather was diagnosed with Alzheimer's a few years ago, so we've unfortunately watched him slowly decline since the diagnosis. As such, this is where things went on a steep downhill slide. We arrived mid-nap, which subsequently meant waking him from his nap to visit. In hindsight, it seemed like a very poor choice, as when he awoke he seemed completely disoriented and largely still asleep.

It was as if his eyes were awake, but most everything else about his body remained asleep.

We stayed only but 12 or 15 minutes, as it didn't prove useful to stick around any longer. Enter the flight of my emotions. I've known my grandfather wouldn't be the same every single time I visited. I've dreaded but prepared for the time when he wouldn't remember us, or wouldn't be able to communicate with us the same. As much as I thought I'd be unphased when it happened, I wasn't. At the time, I tried to shuffle through other thoughts. I tried to jump to the upcoming things for the week and what I needed to take care of next. I wanted my mind to float off till my emotions wouldn't be so strong.

That's where I believe the flight response happens for me. When I'm face to face with an emotion-laden experience, whether it's sadness, frustration, or whatever, I try to shift my thoughts away from what's stirring them up. My mind takes flight. Maybe, that's why I don't cry in public. I don't allow my mind to focus long enough to conjure up a physical response.

My mind never stays in flight for long, though. I wouldn't say I'm scared of the emotions, rather I just need them to calm down or settle before I can pick them apart. I tend to process my feelings internally, but they never go unchecked or un-analyzed. That's why, even though I typically don't show my emotions in public, my throat still tightens up and my eyes still become glassy behind closed doors.

Nevertheless, this is where the fight response shows up. Except, I wouldn't say this is so much a fight, even if the situation can be a sort of emotional battle. It's more of a coming-to-terms. I know that I can't outrun my feelings, and I don't ever intend to. At some point, I let them catch up to me, and then the sorting process can begin. It's usually not that tumultuous like a real fight would be, but it doesn't mean that the emotions don't present a challenge at times.

snele1
snele1

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