Make sound mental health a part of your 2020 goals. Here’s how

By now you must have prepared your 2020 resolutions list. But is sound mental health a part of it? If not, add it right away and follow these tips.
Mental health might often go for a toss for women insecure about their breast size. Image courtesy: Shutterstock
Team Health Shots Updated: 6 Jan 2020, 15:11 pm IST
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Destigmatising mental illness has caught the attention of many now and that’s absolutely fantastic! Isn’t it? Many of us have now started to understand and acknowledge the importance of having a sound mental health.

While you won’t disagree to the fact that a lot of us claim to be mental health advocates on various social media platforms, we tend to get a little murky on the follow-through when it comes to ACTUALLY being mentally well.

Guilty much? Well, if you really wish to tread through 2020 with a sound mental health, follow these 5 tips.

1. Practice optimism
Optimism can impact your mental health in a pretty powerful way. As only about 25% of optimism is programmed by our genes, research has proved that the brain can be trained to be more positive.

“There is research which indicates that optimism can actually be enhanced or nurtured through certain kinds of training,” said neuroscientist Richard Davidson, who is also the founder and director of the Center for Healthy Minds.

embracing uncertainty
Being optimistic will give you a positive kick! Image courtesy: Shutterstock

“When these kinds of mental exercises are taught to people, it actually changes the function and the structure of their brain in ways that we think support these kinds of positive qualities. And that may be key in producing the downstream impact on the body,” Richard further added.

As per the meta-analysis from existing studies, the “Best Possible Self” approach is one of the most effective methods of raising confidence. The approach is based on an experiment that calls for people to envision with all future problems solved, and where all life aspirations have been accomplished.

Also read: You can train your brain to tackle stress by adopting healthy habits. Here’s how

2. Start to volunteer
Voluntary work reduces stress and improves depression. Studies have shown that placing others’ well-being ahead of ourselves without expectations or altruistic behaviour stimulates brain reward centres. These good chemicals inject some kind of “helper-high” into the system.

3. Practice gratitude
If you don’t have a habit of keeping a journal, it’s time you inculcate it as it is one of the best ways to make thankfulness a part of your life. Before going to bed, jot down any positive experience of the day, no matter how small.

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Sense of appreciation can broaden to others in your life and bolster optimism and better mental health, Davidson added.

Also read: 6 reasons why you must thank yourself in 2020

mental health
Self-affirmation and love are the key to boost your confidence.

4. Foster social relationships
People who are personally connected to family, friends, and the community, are happier, they’re physically healthier, and they live longer than people who are less well connected, said Harvard psychiatrist Robert Waldinger.

As per Harvard psychiatrist Robert Waldinger, people who are personally connected to friends, family and the community, are happier, healthier and live longer than people who are less well connected. Instead of focusing on the quantity or number of makes, the quality and consistency of friendship counts.

Waldinger further mentioned that high-conflict marriages without much affection, turn out to be very bad for the health, perhaps worse than getting divorced, and however living in the midst of good, warm relationships is protective.

5. A sense of purpose
The quest for a sense of purpose profoundly helps to make life better and healthier.

Martin Seligman, a psychologist at Pennsylvania University, said that a sense of purpose arises from a greater role. He pointed to religion, family, and social causes as ways to make life more meaningful.

It does not have to be a mainstream religion to be effective.

So, breathe easy, think for a while and try to work on these pointers to improve your mental health in 2020.

Also read: Don’t let your mental health suffer. Here are 5 ways you can safeguard your mental well-being

With inputs from ANI

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