Small Changes, Big Results

The Early Show is doing a short series on small changes that you can make in your life that will result in positive changes for your well-being.  The segment focuses on mental health, physical health and dietary changes you can make to start the year off right.  I was on this morning talking about the mental changes you can make, nothing huge, but small steps that you can do to really start to feel in control and as though you are taking care of yourself.

Here are the tips:

  1. Be a joiner: Get involved in something.  Connecting to things bigger than you is good for your mental health. A recent study showed that people who went to church were happier, not because of worship, but because of the social connection they felt.Connect to a cause, raise money or volunteer for a something you feel passionate about. Get involved in something you may be interested in: participate in something fun that allows you to connect to others: a sport, an art class, etc.  The connection allows you to feel a part of something, which bolsters your positive mood.
  2. Build a support networkHaving healthy relationships with friends, family, co-workers is vital to good mental health.Find people you can lean on in hard times. By feeling connected to others, you can build confidence and have a sense of being valued. A support network can help you with practical things like helping you dig out of snow, picking you up at the airport, but can also share advice and be there in emotionally stressful times. Work to keep in touch and reconnect with people.  Maintaining relationships you already have is just as important.
  3. Just say no!It’s so easy to become overextended because we take on too many projects.  It’s important to recognize your limits and say no when you feel like it’s just too much.  This will help decrease stress and give you time to do other things for yourself.  Let go of the guilt you may feel if you do put your needs first.  You will be no good to anyone else if you are no good to yourself.
  4. Purge!Get rid of the things you don’t need that are just cluttering your space and your mind.  If you haven’t looked at it, used it, or thought about it, you don’t need it.  Freeing up that space will feel great and provide a great deal of relief. The less cluttered your environment, the less cluttered your mind.  And think of how productive you’ll feel!
  5. Appeal to Your SensesYou can always self-soothe with your five senses.  This will help you manage your emotions more effectively and feel in control of your stress levels.  Stay calm and happy by appealing to the five senses: sight, sound, touch, smell and taste. Listen to music, buy some flowers where you can see and smell them (smell the roses), get a massage, sip a warm drink. Additionally, try to get some sun. Sunlight can lift your mood and deter Seasonal Affective Disorder (SAD). Many people get sun lamps, which have been shown to be helpful if used 10-15 minutes every day.
  6. Schedule Leisure TimeWe neglect the importance of a change of scenery and mental stimulation. Do something that refreshes your mind–painting, cooking, reading. Take time for contemplation and appreciate the small, everyday things.  Just because you can’t physically go on vacation, does not mean you can’t “go” on vacation.  Find activities to do near home.  Leisure time means NOT working, and really enjoying the free time.

Here’s the link from this morning:


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