Reduce Stress Just in Time for 2016

Reduce Stress Just in Time for 2016

January is seen by many as a time to turn over a new leaf. People feel inspired by the blank slate of the new year to make resolutions they hope will bring them change and new chances for happiness. New Year’s resolutions usually focus on weight, feeling healthier, and growing bank accounts.

While all of those are important, the new year can also be a perfect time to feel better by finding ways to reduce stress in your life.

Here are some ideas for healthy resolutions that will get 2016 off to a stress-free start!

  • Set Goals. Set personal goals and find small steps to begin accomplishing them. Be realistic about what you can accomplish. Do not expect change to happen overnight. Think of creative ways you can reach your goals. Enlist friends and family to help you by finding ways to make a game out of it.
  • Stay Positive. We are human, and therefore we all make mistakes. Research has shown the way we talk to ourselves has a huge impact on our self-esteem and stress level. Saying things like “I’m an idiot” or criticizing ourselves in our heads can lead to negative self-esteem and lowered sense of self worth. Make a resolution to treat yourself with respect and speak nicely about yourself. Instead of thinking of the things you wish you had done differently, focus on your positive characteristics and things you are good at doing. You’ll be amazed at how different you feel.
  • Exercise. Kill two birds with one stone by using exercise to improve your physical health and reduce stress! Studies have shown that there is a strong link between physical activity and improved mental health.
  • Be mindful. Being mindful is all about staying in the present moment without worrying about what happened in the past and what will or could happen in the future. Try to put down your to-do lists and just enjoy each moment for what it is. Take a walk with no music. Invite a friend for coffee and leave any distractions at the door. Have a family dinner without any electronic interruptions.

Speaking of electronics… Look at how social media and electronic use impacts you and your family. The more time spent on the internet and social media is linked with lower self-esteem and dissatisfaction with your life. Be honest and look about how you are impacted by social media. Are you using it to connect with friends? Or compare your life to those around you? Theodore Roosevelt once said, “Comparison is the thief of joy.” Make choices that increase your happiness without worrying about what others around you are doing.

Laura Lebovitz
LLebovitz @ GROWcounseling.com

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