This is the second part in our guide to helping you develop resolutions that can improve your health and happiness come 2017. In part one we examined some effective ways to improve your physical health – the tips were simple and easy to implement, for people of all ages. This time we are looking at simple and easy ways to improve your mental health in the new year.

Good mental health is as crucial as physical health when it comes to leading a happy and fulfilling life. Considerations of improving one’s mental health can often get pushed aside in the hustle and bustle of daily life. Taking steps toward improving everyday mental health is important to your overall wellbeing and should be embraced in your bid to create a new you in 2017. Furthermore, it should be stressed that any signs and symptoms of mental health conditions – such as depression and anxiety – should always be taken seriously and discussed with your healthcare provider.

Your first step toward better mental health in 2017 starts here. Simple tips for feeling your best self include:

1. Meditation
As outlined by the Washington Post, a number of studies in recent times have pointed to the positive effects meditation has on mental health. The practice has been shown to help people experiencing depression and stress to clear their minds and approach their problems and concerns with a different and more positive outlook. Medical Daily reported that meditation also carries benefits for memory, self-confidence and our ability to relate to others. In essence, meditation is a truly effective way to strengthen your mind and overall mental health.

2. Volunteer
Helping others can be a great way to help yourself: You will feel good about assisting those in your community, the work will keep you focused and goal-orientated and you’ll likely find yourself meeting new people and making friends, according to the University of Michigan. There are so many ways to get involved. Examples of community service include serving food at a homeless shelter, helping out at your local place of worship, environmental cleaning programs, animal rescues and so on.

“Even if it’s just 10 or 15 minutes every day, be sure to make some time to be alone.”

3. Make time for yourself
Even if it’s just 10 or 15 minutes every day, be sure to make some time to be alone, so that you can relax and recharge your batteries. PsychCentral explained that you can use the time to do something you enjoy, such as reading a book or magazine, writing in your journal or watching your favorite show on television. If you are able to fit alone time into your schedule every single day, you’ll begin to notice improvements to your overall mood.

4. Refrain from smoking and excessive drinking
Although this tip benefits your physical health, quitting smoking and reducing your alcohol intake can work wonders for your mental health over time, even if it is uncomfortable in the beginning. As Psych Central explained, smoking can lead to craving-induced stress, in addition to the toll it can take on your physical health and wallet. Heavy alcohol consumption also takes a physical and mental toll – after all, few people realize that alcohol is a depressant. Consequently regular drinking can lead to depression, anxiety and other mental health problems, particularly if issues with addiction or dependence arise. Without alcohol and cigarettes you’ll begin to feel happier and more in control of both your physical and mental health.

Meditation is a great way to relieve stress.Meditation is a great way to relieve stress.

5. Don’t obsess over small things
Whether it’s that argument with your spouse over the laundry or a traffic delay, it can be easy to become stressed out about things that are inconsequential in the long-run. However, obsessing over small problems can be damaging to your sense of mental well-being, not only in the short-term but over time too. Indeed, The Washington Post cited a study which noted a correlation between circumstantial stress and long-term mental health concerns such as anxiety and depression. Do yourself a favor by approaching each problem with a deep breath and rational mind. You’ll soon find that you are able to calm yourself down and relieve unnecessary stress.

6. Connect with the important people in your life
Studies show that interaction with friends, family, and colleagues leads to reduced anxiety and mental well-being. When you can’t be in the same location as the people you care about, give them a call! Just touching base on a regular basis promotes a more positive outlook. Can’t hear over the phone? No worries. Rely on simple technologies, like the CapTel Captioned Telephone, to make sure you catch every word over the phone, even if you can’t hear it. The benefits of staying connected to the important people in your life make devices such as the CapTel phone an indispensable part of your mental well-being approach.

7. Set goals
One way to improve your mental health is set small goals each week that you are able to achieve. The University of Michigan stressed that this means you need to be honest with yourself – setting lofty goals that you will be unlikely to achieve can actually compound anxiety and depression. Examples of manageable goals include volunteering, meeting up with friends once a week, completing assignments at work and so on. Not only will the plan help you feel more organized, you’ll also feel a great sense of achievement upon completion of the goals.

CapTel Captioned Telephone