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Published on January 14, 2015

Mental Wellness in the New Year

The new year brings us all the best of intentions and we tend to aim high. Exercise, weight loss, whatever your goals, they are likely lofty ones and can feel overwhelming. However, there are a few pretty simple steps you can take that will improve your mood all year.

Cultivate gratitude. It may sound like new age bunk, but thinking about what you have and being grateful for it is becoming a new mantra in the psychology field for good reason: it works! Next time you’re pining for something different in your life, think of this quote -- “Never let what you want prevent you from enjoying what you have.”

Eat enough. You probably already know that being hungry makes you cranky, but research shows that calorie intake that is too low actually releases cortisol, the stress hormone. If you’re trying to limit calorie intake, experts recommend cutting as few as 50 calories a day until you reach a comfortable amount.

Practice kindness. Being kind to others improves our connections to people, helps us perceive others more positively, and actually produces “feel good” chemicals in the brain. This one is easy and will improve your mood as well as the moods of those around you.

Get outside. Next time your mood is lagging, instead of hitting the coffee pot in the office, take a walk outside. It doesn’t have to be long or even vigorous. Just five minutes of natural light and some outdoor air will improve your mood.

Check yourself. This step takes fewer than 5 minutes and can make a big difference. Take an anonymous and free mental health screening to see if your symptoms need professional attention.

dave miers

About Dr. Dave Miers

Dave Miers, PhD, is the counseling and program development manager for mental health services at Bryan Medical Center in Lincoln, Neb.

He helped establish the Nebraska State Suicide Prevention Coalition in 1999 and chaired/co-chaired this Coalition until 2017. He currently serves as the past co-chair. Dr. Miers is a member of the leadership group for the Lincoln/Lancaster County Suicide Prevention Coalition. Dr. Miers has published research and co-authored a chapter in the Routledge International Handbook of Clinical Suicide Research focusing on family survivors of a child suicide. Dr. Miers helped develop the Lincoln Lancaster Local Outreach to Suicide Survivors (LOSS) team in Lincoln, Neb. He also helped develop other LOSS teams in Nebraska and is active with LOSS team development on a national level.

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