GREENSBORO, N.C. — Before entering 2021, about 31-percent of Americans said they planned on making New Year's resolutions. The most popular resolutions were exercising more and losing weight. That’s according to a "You Gov" poll that surveyed 15-hundred adults back in December.
The data also showed some people wanted to improve their mental health. 34-percent of survey respondents said they wanted to reduce stress, 30-percent wanted more sleep, and 28-percent wanted to focus on spiritual growth.
Mental health is an important part of overall health and well-being. According to the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention, mental health includes your emotional, psychological, and social well-being. It affects how you think, feel, and act. It also helps determine how you handle stress, relate to others, and make healthy choices. Mental health experts say you can have a new mindset in the new year by first understanding the importance of letting go of the past.
"You should forgive yourself and forget those past challenges that we had last year,” said Tammi Taylor, Peer Support Specialist at Mental Health Greensboro. “You should also go forward saying ‘What can I do this year?,’ “What can I do today that will make me the best for my 2021?"
The CDC says 1 in 5 Americans will experience a mental illness in a given year. There is no single cause for mental illness. But, a number of factors can contribute to risk for mental illness, such as:
- Early adverse life experiences, such as trauma or a history of abuse (for example, child abuse, sexual assault, witnessing violence, etc.)
- Experiences related to other ongoing (chronic) medical condition, such as cancer or diabetes.
- Biological factors, such as genes or chemical imbalances in the brain
- Use of alcohol or recreational drugs
- Having few friends
- Having feeling of loneliness or isolation
How you respond to stress, especially during the COVID-19 pandemic, can depend on your background, your social support from family or friends, your financial situation, your health and emotional background, the community you live in, and many other factors. Regardless of your age or background, mental health experts suggest joining a strong positive support group and creating a plan to improve mental health.
"I know that the most important thing you can do for recovery in emotional mental wellness is to have a daily maintenance plan,” Taylor said. “It’s things you do every day to stay healthy.”
Some other tips for a new year, new mindset include valuing yourself by treating yourself with kindness and respect, taking care of your body with healthy eating and exercising, and learning how to properly manage stress.