Mental Health Goal Setting for 2018
When setting goals for 2018, don’t forget about your emotional and mental health! Make your/your family members’ mental health a priority. Set some concrete goals where your whole family can benefit. Here are six simple ideas:
- Less technology and social media…. Studies demonstrate a correlation between depression and the amount of time that teens (and adults!) spend on social media. Keep personal devices out of bedrooms, off the dinner table, and avoid use in the morning before school/work. Here are some additional suggestions regarding limiting screen time. http://drpeggydelong.com/six-suggestions-for-limiting-screen-time/
- Be still. Sit in a comfy chair and just breathe for five or ten minutes. Clear your head of your thoughts, particularly negative thoughts and to-do lists. Bring your focus back to your breath. This may feel funny at first and take some practice, but stick with it. The benefits are less stress and anxiety, and less emotional reactivity. And when you’ve mastered just breathing and clearing your mind of your thoughts, practice visualizing what you would like for your day, what you would like for your life. Then envision yourself already having it. If you would like some guidance and convincing regarding this powerful exercise for every day living, read “Into the Magic Shop” by James Doty.
- Get outside, and better yet, with others! Research demonstrated that walks in nature with others were associated with decreased symptoms of depression and anxiety, and an overall enhanced sense of well-being. Here is a relevant study – http://psychcentral.com/blog/archives/2014/10/18/ease-stress-and-improve-mental-health-with-group-nature-walks/
- Express appreciation every day. This can be formally, through a Gratitude Journal, or simply by telling others that you appreciate them, and what you appreciate about them. One study found that a simple way to improve a relationship was to express appreciation for that person. Here is an article about expressing appreciation in a relationship http://drpeggydelong.com/one-simple-way-to-improve-a-relationship/. and another article about ways of practicing gratitude http://drpeggydelong.com/one-simple-thing/
- More family dinners. Studies demonstrate that children who have regular family dinners have improved mental health and overall well-being (they also have improved grades and make better decisions regarding risky behavior). Here are some additional suggestions regarding making the most of family dinners. http://drpeggydelong.com/ten-ideas-to-make-the-most-of-family-dinners/
- Don’t be afraid to seek professional support! A recent study found that one in five children has or has had a debilitating mental health disorder. But you/your child do not need to have a mental health “problem” to seek support and advice. Just like we take our children for annual physical check-ups, mental health check-ups and check-ins are helpful as well, and sometimes can make all the difference in the world in a child’s overall sense of well-being. http://drpeggydelong.com/some-guidance-regarding-when-to-seek-mental-health-services/