CBT

New Years Resolutions – How are yours doing?

Did you make some new years resolutions? How are they doing? It’s not so easy to change your habits is it?

images

This is the time of the year when people are taking stock of their lives, examining their progress or lack thereof, and contemplating the path they would like to take in the coming year. You undoubtedly have heard many different ways to set goals in previous years, but this year I would like to invite you to set your course from an existential perspective .

The existential perspective can be seen as an invitation to live and not just a list of things to change. As such, this list will call you to a deeper examination of a more meaningful life, help you to begin to view the upcoming year through an existential lens, and, hopefully, empower you to reclaim and truly own your life.

1. Begin with the end in mind: Although Steven Covey made this statement famous with his goal-setting guidance, the end we’re discussing here is not the end of 2013 but rather the end of your life. Death is not something our culture likes to talk about, but it’s important for living a full life. Imagine how you would live your life if you were diagnosed with a terminal illness or if you were 85 years old. Chances are you would spend more time on the things that really matter, like cultivating relationships, playing more, and worrying less.

2. Practice presence: Practicing presence is mindful engagement with the present moment. A person who is present is one who is aware of his or her own experience and, often, the experiences of others. The present person is one who pays careful attention to what is happening in the now, wherever he or she might be, without allowing outside distractions to invade. Practicing presence will deepen your relationship with your colleagues, family, loved ones, and yourself.

3. Positive thinking? Forget about it: Positive thinking, while having some merit, is one of the ways in which people tend to deny their experience. Positive thinking encourages people to focus on the good things in life while forsaking the darker aspects that life also holds. While I don’t believe that wallowing in sorrow or focusing only on the negative aspects of life is healthy, neither is denying their existence. In fact, denying the experience of negative feelings or experiences can be even more harmful later, when the unresolved emotions arise. This year, work on allowing yourself to have your experience without getting stuck in it. Whatever you’re feeling, let it be and then let it go.

4. Choose freedom (and responsibility): Viktor Frankl said “I recommend that the Statue of Liberty on the East Coast be supplemented by a Statue of Responsibility on the West Coast” because he understood that with freedom comes responsibility. In fact, the two are intricately intertwined. If you really want to be free, you have to take total responsibility for your life. Once you do, you will never again be a victim to people, forces out of your control, or circumstances because no matter what happens, you will always be free to choose how you respond to it.

5. Make the journey the goal: When you focus solely on the outcome or the endgame, you lose the value of the journey—and the journey is the richest part. Although there is value in setting measurable goals, don’t get so consumed with the ending that you miss out on what really matters. If losing weight is your goal, keep the big picture in mind but celebrate the smaller goals along the way. Instead of counting success in pounds lost, consider the success in feeling healthy. Wherever you are in the journey is exactly where you ought to be; enjoy where you are while on the way to where you’re going.

As you progress through this New Year, set your goals and resolutions using an existential perspective. I trust you will find a more poignant, powerful, and meaningful life emerging. Here’s to a vivified existence with renewed courage and will. I wish you health, wellness, love, and hope this year and all years.

If You want more tips on New Years Resolutions

If you want more information about goal setting

If you would like more information about Life-Goals Psychotherapy

Contact us directly for psychotherapy and counselling in Warrington ,Cheshire and South Lancashire

More Posts

Got the blues in January?

Winter TreesHow to beat the blues

According to some formulae, the third Monday in January is the most depressing day of the year (the calculation involves bad weather, Christmas debt and time since failing to fulfil New Year’s resolutions, among others) and has been tagged ‘Blue Monday’.

Although there is no scientific basis to this formula there is no doubt that this is a difficult time of year for some people and why the day has developed this status isn’t that surprising. Any party that lasts from Christmas Eve to New Year’s Eve is bound to result in a serious hangover, and the return to reality after a long break can be depressing for some. It’s especially true in the current economic climate, where the news may appear to be an unrelenting and daily dose of decline, dour weather and increased prices and lower income.

However there are simple things that anyone can do to cheer themselves up, even on this allegedly bleakest of days.

Firstly, exercise. Many people will have joined a gym in the New Year but this isn’t strictly necessary, and it is easy to fall away, particularly when the nights are cold and dark and you have all those DVD boxsets that you received as presents to watch. The best thing to do is to make small changes to your routine which increases the amount of exercise you do.
Examples of these small changes could be getting off the bus a stop early or, for those that drive to work, parking the car a five-minute walk away.Even minor activities can improve your mood.

Another thing that can improve your mood is diet, so try and eat healthily. That doesn’t necessarily mean not eating things that you like, but trying to achieve a reasonable balance between those things that are good for you such as fresh fruit and vegetables and those that are ‘naughty but nice’. Good nutrition supports your brain as well as your body.

Many people may not feel that they need this advice after a heavy festive period but being careful about alcohol intake is important. It might feel like having a couple of drinks can cheer you up but you need to remember that alcohol can act as a depressant, and what goes up must come down.

It is unlikely that ‘sleeping well’ will be in many peoples’ New Year’s resolutions but getting a decent night’s sleep is vital to anyone’s wellbeing. Having a good routine is key, as sleep irregularities can negatively affect mood.

Some people find sharing their problems difficult, and this is especially an issue among some men, who think talking about their feelings is a sign of weakness. The opposite is actually the truth. It takes great courage to ask for help and there is no shame in it. If you feel uncomfortable talking to people you know, then organisations like the Samaritans are available 24-hours a day and you can call anonymously. And always remember that feeling sad at times is just part of the human experience. It will pass.

People who feel low often isolate themselves from others but this is the last thing they should do. Spending time with people whose company you enjoy and engage in activities such as going for a meal or to the cinema. If money is a problem, then go for a walk or visit a museum or art gallery. There are plenty of things that you can do for free.

The most important thing to keep in mind is that there is so much you can do to improve your mood, whether it’s exercise, watching a film you enjoy or socialising. The New Year can be a new and more positive start.

If you regularly experience sustained periods of anxiety or depression then make an appointment with your GP.

If you would like to know more about Life-Goals Psychotherapy in Warrington, Cheshire and South Lancashire click here.

To contact us directly contact us

More posts

Natural ways to lift Depression

Depression

One of the ways of overcoming depression, which is often overlooked, is the positive effect of activity. It is hard to stay feeling really low if you are doing something. One of the reasons for this is that depression is made worse by thinking about feeling low, and being busy stops this process of thinking about being depressed, called rumination. The other way in which doing something helps, is when what is done gives a sense of achievement or pleasure. Most people will naturally choose to do some things that give the sense of achievement or pleasure, but if you focus on mainly these activities, then depression will lift faster.

If you are feeling down, keep a diary for a few days or a week of what you have done. Record on a scale of 1 – 10 (where 1 is really low and 10 is happy) how you feel, as you do various activities. Then mark which activities give you a sense of achievement or pleasure, by putting an A or a P by them. Try to increase the time spent on these A & P activities.

Achievement and pleasure activities give us positive feedback about life, positive reinforcement that life is worth living, pleasurable, and good. This is the opposite of the hopelessness and pointlessness that cause depression.

If you want to use this approach to feeling better its important to do the activities even if you don’t feel like it sometimes. Act “as if”. The feeling better often comes later, so begin even when you feel low, and keep going. You will most likely suddenly realise that you feel better without realising how and when it came about. It’s a natural and low tech, side effect free way to lift mood.

Contact Us

Are you anxious and feel out of control of what happens?

A lot of anxiety is caused by feeling out of control. What do you fear will happen? How do you think you can gain control of it? Is there any way that worrying really gives you any control, or do you feel more out of control because you are worrying so much? What we think about tends to come about. Focusing on what you want to have happen, rather than on what you don’t want to have happen, is more likely to lead to happiness for you.

If what you predict happens, what would that mean to you? What would happen next? How could you handle the kinds of problems that you are worrying about? What could you do? Have you been involved in risk management or health and safety management at work? You can see planning for what might happen in your life in the same way. What might happen? If it happened how serious will it be? How likely is it that this might happen (1% – 100% probable)? How much effort is it worth putting in to plans to manage this considering how likely and how serious it is?

Has anything bad happened to you that you were worried about? How were you able to handle that? Are you usually underestimating your ability to handle problems? Many people are far more resilient than they give themselves credit for. Has anything bad happened to you that you were worried about? How were you able to handle that? What can you learn from how you handled that?

What evidence do you have from the past that worrying has been helpful to you and hurtful to you? Worrying and anxiety bring us down, tire us out and depress our immune system. Give yourself a break! Have a laugh! Do some exercise! Enjoy yourself! It’ll do you more good than worrying.

If someone else were facing the events that you are facing, would you encourage that person to worry as much as you? What advice would you give them?

Get help to get a better perspective on what is worrying you. Learn to affirm your ability to cope and be resilient.

Contact me now for effective rapid help with your anxiety