UW-Stout News Story

Self-help for the new year Part 1: Emotional health tips

January 12, 2012

The start of a new year can be a time of personal change. For some people, that means New Year’s resolutions while for others it’s simply a desire to improve some aspect of their lives.

With 2012 under way, John Achter, Counseling Center director at University of Wisconsin-Stout, offers five tips to improve your emotional health.

1. Practice mindfulness. Learn to accept yourself — what’s going on in your life and what’s happened in the past — while still being open to change and improvement.

2. Focus on your strengths. Put energy into something meaningful to you, such as a social or community issue. Or rekindle a long-lost interest or talent, such as in music or art.

3. Express gratitude. At the end of each day, reflect on three specific good things that happened to you.

4. Nurture relationships. Make time for the important people in your life, those people who accept you as you are. Couples, for example, could do this by taking time to have a reunion conversation at the end of each day, showing affection and appreciation daily and having a weekly date.

5. Set goals. These goals must be challenging enough to motivate you and realistic enough to achieve. “Some New Year’s resolutions fall flat because they aren’t realistic,” Achter said.

“To build and sustain positive mental health, it’s important to nurture the good things in your life and take an honest and self-accepting approach toward making meaningful changes,” Achter said.

For a related UW-Stout YouTube video, go to http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=3aduavpaBvw.

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