Getting the Most Out of 2018: SMART Goals and Mental Health Resolutions

2018 goals notebook coffee house plant

The end of the year is here, and for most of us this is a time when we start thinking about how things can change in the new year. Many of us set up resolutions in the new year to be better, look better and act better.

Culturally, goals for the new year often focus on changing our physical selves. But what if we devoted some tried and true goal setting approaches to changing our emotional and psychological selves too?

As we prepare for the new year give some thought to how you’d like for your emotional life to be better in 2018. Would you like to practice better self-care? How about ending some old relationship patterns rooted in past hurt? Continue reading Getting the Most Out of 2018: SMART Goals and Mental Health Resolutions

This Simple Attitude Change Will Dramatically Improve Your Quality of Life

happy woman with laptop lying on couch

This Simple Attitude Change Will Dramatically Improve Your Quality of Life” originally appeared on Fairygodboss, an online career community for women, by women.

What if I told you there was one simple technique that could improve every aspect of your life? No, it’s not a green juice, or the newest superfood, or even meditation, though those all have their benefits! It’s a mindset shift called reframing.

I am a huge fan of hyperbole. Why tell someone I am hungry when I can tell them I am wasting away as we speak, punctuated by as many dramatically place swears as possible, accompanied by a gif. While this approach might be amusing when deployed positively, it can also backfire in negative situations. Using that same mentality, a setback at work can become a career-ender, a holiday weight-gain can turn into berating yourself for lack of self-control, and an unexpected breakup can lead to an internal monologue about how unloveable you are. What I’m referring to is negative self-talk. Continue reading This Simple Attitude Change Will Dramatically Improve Your Quality of Life

Why You Should Unplug this Holiday Season, According to a Therapist

woman holding unplug mug snowy winter day

Near the end of each year most of us are chomping at the bit, anxiously awaiting some much-needed downtime. As business slows down and responsibilities wane, people look forward to much-needed rest and rejuvenation. This break is also an opportunity to finally unplug.

There’s a lot of emerging research on the effects of technology use on our collective mental health, but what’s most important to understand about technology is how ubiquitous connectivity can exacerbate worry, fear, sadness and a host of other emotions. If unchecked, this effect could contribute to mental fatigue. Continue reading Why You Should Unplug this Holiday Season, According to a Therapist

How to Use Discomfort to Improve Your Well-Being and Transform Your Life

man hiking in mountain wearing gear

This piece was first published on The Good Men Project, a publication that offers enlightened masculinity and stories from men.

Have you ever had that inner voice inside nudge you to do something you knew was going to be beneficial, but also difficult? One of those things that is tough enough for you to choose not to do it and stay in your comfort zone? We all have. There is an opportunity to go through that difficulty and get to the other side. We know that if we were to take said action we would benefit, but sometimes something holds us back. That something is going through the temporary pain, frustration and difficulty, even though we know there are greener pastures on the other side.

Here are a few things you can do to help yourself push through the pain, get to the other side, improve your well being and thrive! It’s time to get out of our little box and create a life far beyond our wildest imaginations. Without the extra push, we stay stuck and we settle for less than our potential. Continue reading How to Use Discomfort to Improve Your Well-Being and Transform Your Life

3 Tips to Survive the Holidays While Living with Mental Illness

snowflakes clouds holiday winter background

As joyous as the holiday season can be, it is not immune from difficulties. If you’re living with a mental illness, dealing with the holiday cheer, increased expectations, and interacting more with family may prove to be overwhelming at times. Stress is often at an all-time high during the holiday season.

Here are some tips to help keep you mentally healthier throughout the holidays.

Tip 1: Be Honest With Yourself

Too often, we rely on others’ standards and expectations for us to dictate how we spend our time during the holidays. This pattern can lead to a crisis when you consider the already stressful season of spending extra money and a condensed amount of time with family members who may not understand your mental illness. Continue reading 3 Tips to Survive the Holidays While Living with Mental Illness

#GivingTuesday: 7 Ways To Give that Improve Your Mental Health

#GivingTuesday present red bow wood table

Since 2012, the Tuesday after Thanksgiving is when we celebrate #GivingTuesday. An initiative born out of the Belfer Center for Innovation & Social Impact in New York, the day has taken hold as a time to get in the holiday spirit by giving to charities and nonprofits around the country to support the critical work these organizations do to help those in need.

But more than that, the spirit of #GivingTuesday can be the perfect time to remind ourselves that there are so many ways to give each year, not just through monetary donations, but through our actions toward ourselves and others, particularly around mental health.

So this #GivingTuesday, celebrate the day by giving in a mentally healthy way with these seven ideas. Continue reading #GivingTuesday: 7 Ways To Give that Improve Your Mental Health

4 Mental Health Benefits of Gratitude to Keep in Mind This Thanksgiving

Thanksgiving gratitude card autumn leaves

Recently, studies of happiness and emotional well-being have gained popularity in the psychology world, as well as in mainstream media. There has been a massive uptick in research on the nature of gratitude — how we can better harness and cultivate it, its potential impacts on physical health, as well as on mental and emotional well-being.

As 2017 comes to a close, and life start to amp up for the holidays, many of us may use this time as an opportunity to reflect on the last year — what challenges we were met with, but also what brought us great joy. For so many of us this year, simple things like reading the news became troubling and overwhelming parts of daily life. At times, it felt like images of violence, or word of another political scandal, or devastating environmental issues were simply inescapable parts of living in our modern world. Continue reading 4 Mental Health Benefits of Gratitude to Keep in Mind This Thanksgiving

How To Cure an Emotional Hangover

woman with headache on couch

We all know (and hate) hangovers. A crazy night out drinking too much alcohol can lead to a slew of unpleasant symptoms the next morning. But did you know there’s another type of hangover that has absolutely nothing to do with drinking? You might wake up feeling drained, exhausted, moody, or a bit off…except, the night before wasn’t fun at all. In fact, it was quite the opposite! Welcome to the emotional hangover.

The idea is that the effects of an emotional event can linger for a while after the event actually happens — the same way nausea lingers long after you’ve consumed one too many tequila shots (whoops). This event can be anything from an argument with your best friend to a break up with your partner. While the event is over, your head is still reeling and messing with your current emotions. Continue reading How To Cure an Emotional Hangover

Alone Time: Why It Matters and How to Claim It

woman drinking table alone

Most days, I work from home, alone. I also often travel alone. Solitude is a central part of my everyday existence. Yet I am not lonely.

Working alone doesn’t meant I don’t collaborate. I schedule virtual and in-person meetings with team members and clients.

Traveling alone is less of a sentence to isolation and more of an opportunity to connect with strangers and welcome unexpected encounters into my journey. It also offers more freedom and flexibility than traveling with others.

There’s much written about our culture of distraction, but there’s too little discussion of the value of time spent truly alone. We largely fear it and cling to the pings and prods from our personal devices to keep us in constant company.

Don’t get me wrong. Connection still matters. It is an important indicator of health and happiness. Studies indicate that social isolation is more dangerous to your health than obesity, increasing your risk of premature death by more than 14%.

But quality alone time does not indicate loneliness. Celebrating solitude doesn’t condemn connection. Continue reading Alone Time: Why It Matters and How to Claim It

Good Mental Health: 12 Therapist-Approved Tips

hands green brain

Good mental health is both a state of mind and a lifestyle. Part of it is developing a rational, positive mindset about oneself and the world. Having sources of pleasure and a manageable level of stress facilitates good mental health as well.

Additionally, it’s important to have a lifestyle that helps maintain this state of mind. This goes beyond fulfillment in work and relationships. It’s about regularly engaging in activities that provide a sense of peace or catharsis, including being in nature, meditating, or working with a therapist.

By practicing good mental health, people become more resilient and able to cope when their lives are riddled with stress and misfortune.

“Practicing good mental health habits before you feel distressed is like putting money in the bank for the bad times,” said Jude Miller Burke, Ph.D., a business psychologist and author of The Adversity Advantage. “When a bad time then comes, you are more prepared.”

If you feel like you’re missing a positive mindset or healthy lifestyle, try out some of the tips we gathered by asking therapists how to practice good mental health. Continue reading Good Mental Health: 12 Therapist-Approved Tips