Was "Improve Mental Health" Your Resolution?
Mental health is still a hot topic in 2024. That phrase ranked #3 in Forbes' annual New Years' Resolutions survey where they interviewed more than 1,000 adults and asked about their top resolutions for the year. This year, the top spot shifted from mental health to physical health, with several other trends remaining in the top 10.
Here's an explanation.
The top 5 resolutions remain unchanged, but the order of importance has begun to shift after several years of mental health occupying the top spot. This doesn't diminish the importance of mental health. In fact, if anything, it signals the continued and inextricable link between mental health and fitness. According to the Forbes survey, "when respondents were asked whether improving mental or physical health was more important to them in the coming year, a whopping 55% said that these two goals are equally important."
Happy, Healthy and Wealthy
The one thing we so often see in our practice is that people try and focus on "the one thing" to become happier and improve their mental health. While it may be true that there's often a cadence of working on issues, there is rarely just one thing. Life is never that easy. The key is balance, but the hard part is finding out how to arrive at and maintain that state of equilibrium. The Journal of Positive Psychology found that individuals who are satisfied with their financial situations tend to experience higher levels of psychological well-being. Conversely, chronic stress from financial instability can lead to mental health challenges and even physical ailments. This interconnection emphasizes the need to approach happiness, health, and wealth holistically.
The Next Step is the First Step
At the time of this writing, it's the first part of February, and statistically over 43% of people have already broken their New Year's resolutions by the end of January. If you're in that boat, not to worry. I don't always commit to finishing mine either, but I also don't let that stop me from taking the time to refocus and recommit. This is how I counsel many of my clients in taking that next step. "Take that next step". It sounds trite, but it also frees your mind from having to worry about if it's necessarily the right step. The mere fact that you're moving forward can be a positive. Allow yourself the freedom to move and then adjust and make better decisions. This can apply to improving fitness, improving finances and improving your mental health. 💖✨
Final Thoughts, from Dr. Pam Wright
I stress to my clients the importance of finding balance. That is truly my mantra. I feel like so many people get into dichotomous (black and white) thinking. “I ate pizza today so now the entire day is a bust and I’m just going to overeat and start again tomorrow.” “I lost my temper today. This calm app, deep breathing, journaling, (fill in the blank) will never work. I give up.” Making change does not equate to striving for perfection. Remember, perfect is a dichotomy in itself, and isn’t real! Instead, try to attend to your mental health, physical health, finances, relationships, etc. throughout your days and weeks. Maybe you didn’t make the gym today, but still did a 10 min walk. Every step in the right direction is an improvement. Stop aiming for “perfection” and “might as well start over” or you will never start.
Don't let perfect get in the way of progress. Change your mindset!
Dr. Pam Wright is a licensed psychologist and a mental health expert. She is the Founder and Director of The Life Change Group in Peachtree City, Ga. Her psychology practice is a team of therapists, counselors and psychologists offering a wide range of psychological testing and individual, couples and family counseling. Dr. Wright is also a co-host of the "Middle Age(ish)" podcast and has appeared on NBC in Atlanta.