Change for the Good
Happy New Year! It’s New Year’s Resolution time. Perhaps you want to lose weight,
exercise more, be a better parent, wife, husband. The list goes on. As a clinical
psychologist specializing in behavioral health change and stress management, I
know it can be difficult to stick with it and change for the good.
In my experience, the primary reason people tend to fail is stress. The challenges of daily life overwhelm us. Sick kids, deadlines, lack of sleep, time and money all get in the way. We are literally addicted to busyness and chaos. Stress hormones flood our bodies and alter our nervous system putting us in permanent survival mode.
Changing that set point is not an easy task.
The following is a short list of my favorite ways to help people manage their stress
and follow through with their goals.
Take a deep breath. Now take another. Taking a deep breath is the single best way
to slow down and thus make healthier choices. Your breath can help manage your
heart rhythms, your nervous system, your pain, energy level and mood. The key is
to practice taking those big belly breaths when you are not stressed. This way we
teach our bodies to calm down at the hint of a big inhale. As you practice, peace and
calm happens faster and more easily.
Just Say NO!
One obstacle that tends to stop resolutions in their tracks is lack of time. We all do
way too much. The key is to learn to say “no” to things that do not feed you.
Meaning if someone or some activity does not leave you feeling good or energized,
don’t do it. Some people or situations are just energy suckers and if you can
minimize your time doing them, you will have something left over for the more
important things in life, like yourself and your family.
This one is probably the most difficult. Self-compassion means having empathy for
ourselves. Most of us are great at giving empathy to others and terrible at turning it
inward. The surest way to halt self-improvement is to listen to that critical voice in
your head saying, “I can’t do this. I never follow through.” Instead, try saying ,“wow,
this is really hard. These are big changes I’m trying to make and I can’t expect myself
to get it right all the time.” Kind thoughts focusing on the positive changes you do
make will ensure the changes stick over the long haul.
Gratitude is the path to happiness. Reminding yourself of all the wonderful things
in your life will improve your mood and motivation in a split second. Here in
Solterra we have so much abundance around us. Even when life is challenging, we
can always look outside. “Red Rocks looks spectacular! I am so lucky to come home
to this amazing community.”