Made your resolutions yet?

Published 1:12 am Friday, December 28, 2018

Physical changes can help improve mental health

Setting and achieving New Year’s resolutions can help improve mental health, South Central Mental Health’s Staci Wilson said.

Many studies have shown that most resolutions are about losing weight or eating healthy. Wilson said that doing those things to enhance the physical body, can also help mentally.

“New Year’s resolutions can help by making us focus on the physical aspect of our life,” Wilson said. “We think of losing weight or eating healthy when the New Year comes around, but our physical state works together with our mental state to make us feel better.”

Wilson said that the number one New Year’s resolution, in her opinion, is to lose weight.

“Serotonin, which is the neurotransmitter that causes happiness, is produced in the gut,” Wilson said. “So if we eat better and we exercise, then we will start to feel better.”

Maybe the key to feeling better is focusing as much time on both of these states of being, Wilson said.

“People need to focus as much time as they do on eating better and working out, on bettering their mental state as well,” Wilson said. “There has to be a balance.”

The New Year’s holiday is a time to reflect on the past year. Wilson said that because of this reflection, people tend to get sad or depressed.

“People start to think about the past year and everything that they did,” Wilson said. “They start to think about all of the goals that they set for themselves and all of the goals that they didn’t achieve and it makes them feel like failures.”

She said that this New Year’s holiday, she encourages people to set smaller goals instead of saying, “Go big or go home.”

“People always say that their New Year’s resolution has to be ‘Go big or go home,’” Wilson said. “When it comes to New Year’s resolutions, that is not the case. So many people set a goal that is so hard for them to obtain and they don’t reach it and feel like a failure. Let’s say instead of trying to lose 30 pounds, try 10 and see if you can reach it. It is better to build up small goals to reach a bigger goal, than to never reach that bigger goal.”