By Kay Daneault, executive director, Mental Health Association of South Mississippi
Many of us start the year with high expectations and make promises we don’t intend to keep. Instead of committing to something drastic, why not take small steps toward a healthier lifestyle and mindset? Here are a few suggestions that may be helpful:
1. Remember that the only thing we can control is our own emotions. No matter what is happening around us, we have control of ourselves, and we can change how we react to circumstances.
2. Do something for your physical health, which has the side benefit of improving mental health. This could be better nutrition or fun exercise like dancing. Some other relaxing activities that can be beneficial include crafting, journaling and cooking.
3. Step outside your comfort zone and take a chance. Use a vision board, or simply write down what you think the steps would be to reach your goal. They say seeing it helps to make it happen. If you aren’t sure how to pursue your goal, do some research. For example, if you are considering starting a business, reach out to the Small Business Administration.
4. Create personal boundaries. It is ok to say “no,” and you aren’t
under any obligation to explain why. Think about the things in your life that stress you out and decide which you can eliminate. For example, if someone is talking about a topic that makes you uncomfortable, change the subject to something more general and positive.
5. Surround yourself with healthy, positive people. Find others who are interested in the things you want to try. Support is filled with hope.
If you are experiencing mental health challenges, you’re not alone; help is available. For more information on healthy lifestyles and resources for those who are struggling, visit to www. msmentalhealth.org.