Here’s What You Should Lose in the New Year (Not Just Pounds!)
The New Year offers an irresistible opportunity to make a fresh start.
Of course, this fuels a number of well-intentioned New Year’s resolutions, the most common being to lose weight or bad habits like eating poorly or lack of exercise. The problem is that few people actually lose anything. A recent UK study found that 64% of those who make these popular resolutions abandon them within a month’s time!
Maybe a better way to achieve greater health and well-being is to rethink what you need to lose in the New Year (and we don’t just mean pounds).
What if you were to focus on losing unhealthy mental habits and emotional pains that hold you back? While there are many to choose from, here are four harmful habits to lose in the New Year and throughout the year.
Top 4 Mental Habits and Emotional Hurts to Lose in the New Year
- Negative Thoughts
We have thousands of thoughts every day, and many of them are negative. They pop into our minds without permission – and here’s the kicker, they’re frequently untrue!
Unfortunately, these automatic negative thoughts (ANTs) are powerful and can trigger physiological responses in the body. In fact, research suggests that negative thinking can rewrite our neural networks, reinforcing pathways in the brain that make us more likely to see our life in a “half-empty” way. Negative thoughts also can reduce activity in the areas of the brain that control judgment, planning, and self-regulation, which can lead to poor decision-making.
The good news is you can learn to identify these false, negative thoughts. They generally fall into one of these nine categories:
- “All or Nothing” Thinking
- “Always” and “Never” Thinking
- Focusing on the Negative
- Fortune Telling
- Mind Reading
- Thinking with Your Feelings
- Guilt Beatings (Thoughts that say you should, must, ought, or have to)
You can begin to exterminate the ANTs by writing them down, and then asking these four questions:
- Is it (the negative thought) true?
- Can I absolutely know that it is true?
- How do I react when I think that thought?
- Who would I be without that thought? Or, how would I feel if I didn’t have that thought?
When pursuing a goal, self-criticism will likely set you back. Studies show that a critical response to making mistakes can diminish success. The habit of harsh self-criticism is strongly correlated with mental health issues such as low mood, anxious feelings, and disordered eating.
Conversely, letting go of criticism and embracing an accepting approach to mistakes or failure better motivates people to improve themselves or carry on with a goal.
Self-criticism is a hallmark of perfectionism. Perfectionists set unrealistically high expectations for themselves and others. They’re quick to find fault and overly critical of mistakes. This can lead to fear and procrastination.
You can shed paralyzing self-criticism and perfectionism by adjusting your expectations, adopting a more self-assuring approach to life, and perhaps by embracing the idea that “done is better than perfect.” It also helps to keep a journal noting what you do right, and what you’re grateful for. Gratitude is associated with better health, greater joy, and longevity.
With the losses we’ve all experienced since COVID-19 changed the world two years ago, it’s even more important to take time to grieve, which often involves shedding tears. When we experience any kind of loss – whether that’s the death of a family member or a beloved pet, a job, or a way of life – that loss needs to be grieved.
Allowing ourselves to cry and grieve can be beneficial. When we cry, we release stress and emotional pain.
When we repress grief, studies have shown that it can adversely affect our immune response, heart health, and blood pressure levels, as well as lead to greater stress, anxiousness, and low mood. Crying is positively correlated with healthy attachment, empathy, closeness with others, and support of family and friends.
Paradoxically, the way to shed tears is to embrace your sad feelings rather than deny or repress them. Some ideas:
- Open up to a trusted friend
- Watch a sad movie
- Listen to a sad song
- Ensure you have plenty of downtime to “feel”
However, experts warn that if you find yourself crying all the time or unable to cry, it’s probably a good idea to talk to a professional.
Some have defined resentment as “taking poison and expecting the other person to die.” While anger is a normal, often healthy emotion, repeatedly reliving the anger isn’t. Anger triggers a stress response, which can affect your mood, heart rate and heart health, blood pressure and blood sugar, immune function, and more.
Conversely, forgiveness is linked to host of better health outcomes.
You can let go of or “shed” your resentments by practicing forgiveness. That means making a conscious decision to let someone “off the hook,” accepting your own faults, and letting go of your hurts.
It’s recommended to start the process by refraining from talking disparagingly about those who’ve hurt you. This one simple action will feed the more forgiving side of your mind and heart.
Transforming from the Inside Out
Hopefully the above tips have helped you know which habits to choose and which to lose in the New Year!
At BrainMD, we’re dedicated to providing the highest purity nutrients to improve your physical health and overall well-being. For more information about our full list of brain healthy supplements, please visit us at BrainMD.
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