Around the first of the year, most of us begin turning our attention to ways we can improve our lives. While resolutions often center on developing new habits that will get us into better physical shape, reducing stress and getting into better mental and emotional shape can provide huge rewards. Eating right and getting exercise generally top most people’s lists of goals for the new year. But this year, it might be wise to incorporate new habits that will reduce stress and increase happiness and overall life satisfaction.
Being sleep deprived can be both a cause and an effect of being stressed. While stress can keep people up at night, operating on too few hours of sleep can make people less productive, more emotional, and more reactive to stressful events in their lives. This year, you can gain significant benefits by striving for better quality and greater quantity of sleep at night. The following resources can help:
While you may have gone to school and been involved with sports and fun activities as a child, it’s important to keep learning, growing, and doing things you enjoy throughout your adult life. Having a regular hobby can provide a necessary outlet for mental stimulation and stress relief, and help you maintain a balanced lifestyle. It can also provide you with an appropriate amount of eustress, the positive type of stress that keeps you feeling vital and alive. From a positive psychology perspective, the right hobby can bring the benefits of flow that all gratifications bring.
Because all work and no play can make anyone a little nuts, I’ve included some resources to help you keep life interesting. Taking care of yourself in this way can be an important step toward living the life you want to be living.
We are, by nature, social creatures, and the company we keep can have a huge impact on quality of life. Good friends and close family can celebrate with us during our best times and support us through our worst. A social network of healthy relationships can be a buffer against stress and provide many other benefits. However, conflicted relationships can cause additional stress and frustration and even affect our health.
Now that music therapy has become a growing new field used by hospitals and therapists, the benefits of music are becoming more and more known. Playing music a simple and easy way to elevate your mood and change your energy. This makes it a prime way to relieve stress. You can play music in your car during your commute to feel less stressed as you drive, or put music on as you exercise to infuse some additional energy into your workout. You can even have music on in the background as you go about your day, bringing a more soothing feel to all of your activities. Adding more music to your life is an effective and attainable goal for the coming year. The following resources can help:
Living in chaos can create stress. Whether you’re overloaded by clutter, disorganized with your schedule, or carrying excess emotional baggage, disarray can make you feel scattered and rob you of resources. While many of us live in cluttered homes, for example, most of us don’t realize that the clutter can rob us of time (as we look for keys and lost items), money (as we pay late fees on bills and things we can’t find) and peace of mind (as sitting in a cluttered room can drain your energy without you even realizing it). This year, you can take weight off your shoulders by being more organized with your time, giving away things you don’t need and maintaining your home as a haven. Shooting for perfection isn’t necessary–even small changes in these areas can create a tangible difference in how you feel; start small and make gradual changes, or give yourself a lifestyle makeover starting today. Either way, these resources can help: