After ringing in the new year, consider the importance of your mental health in 2011. Here are some ways to improve your mental health in the upcoming year.
Ruth Jaffe, a psychoanalyst practicing psychotherapy in New York and Connecticut, suggested looking at your goals.
“They would have to consider their goals in life and see whether they are realistic in terms of being able to accomplish them in the new year,” Jaffe said. “It would certainly improve anyone’s mental health to be able to be clear about goals and reach them.”
It can also be important to monitor your mental health, which includes self-examination.
“[They] have to stop to smell the roses so to speak in terms of their own state of being,” Jaffe said. “They would have to ask themselves, ‘Where am I at?’ You’d be surprised how many people don’t do that.”
Society and culture can play a part in this lack of self-knowledge.
“We’re not trained in this culture to do that,” Jaffe said. “We’re trained to do all the time, to do do do and keep moving … but not to stand still and ask yourself that … there is very little stillness in life.”
It’s also a good idea to find out about your mental health from others, like family and friends.
Generally people don’t ask each other directly about their mental health, she said.
“We can gauge [our mental health] by our effect on others, the impact we have on others, and whether others are happy to be with us and seek us out,” Jaffe said. “There’s a social measure to it too.”
Women can feel better emotionally by being more realistic about their self-expectations as well.
“I think that most women are very self-demanding in our culture, that we expect a great deal from ourselves,” Jaffe said. “Most women are not completely realistic about these expectations of themselves, so they become unhappy, and beyond unhappy they could develop symptoms.”
This doesn’t mean that women shouldn’t have any expectations of themselves, but Jaffe suggests being “kinder to oneself.”
This can be difficult when considering all the magazines and TV shows and ads that suggest all women are not okay the way they are.