They say the mind is a terrible thing to waste, but the reality is we often overlook our mental health in favor of all the obligatory demands in our everyday life.
But our mental health is essential for success in all areas of our life. Even though we live in a time where mental health recognition has made major advances, we still have a ways to go.
Instant gratification has stripped us of patience with ourselves and others. We literally have everything at our fingertips -- friends, news and gossip, all on our phones. Mental health requires patience, though, and so we ignore it.
I noticed that in my lists of priorities in 2016, mental health didn't really make the cut. With the next ball about to drop, I realized being more attentive to my mental health in 2017 could tremendously benefit me in so many ways.
To do that, I've realized I have to start:
Appreciating what I have to offer as a person.
When you constantly have your foot on the gas, moving forward in life, you can lose touch with yourself. You're literally just going, going and going without checking in and remembering what matters most.
And it's not entirely your fault. The world is super demanding, but we have control over how much we are giving physically, emotionally and mentally. It's up to us to make sure we aren't completely spent in the end.
Addressing emotions as they come.
Bottling up emotions doesn't do anything. It just prolongs a messy explosion of stress and hurt feelings. There's absolutely nothing wrong with coming clean about how you feel when you have to.
Just as emotions have a right to be felt, they also have a right to be voiced, especially if they keep happening. Stop putting emotions in the closet of your mind -- there's enough in there already.
Remembering that nothing is permanent.
Getting caught in a funk can be hard to wiggle out of. Sometimes things seem so awful we don't think they'll ever change, which is why we don't bother trying to fix them.
This is entirely all too real when it comes to mental health maintenance. Those lows can seem so low that looking up just seems pointless.
But the ground can actually be an excellent starting point for moving forward. You can't just give up and assume life will be bad forever. Things change all the time -- and that's a good thing.
Living in the now.
While it may be fun to fantasize about the future, it can also be terrifying when you're trying to imagine so many unknown factors.
That's why it's so important to be focused on the present. Mental health maintenance has a lot to do with handling each day as it comes and appreciating what's happening currently.
Living in the moment is a lot like living like a photographer: Archiving our yesterdays, shooting our todays and letting our tomorrows develop at their own pace.
If you're not obsessing over the future all the time or nostalgically looking back on the past, you may find that your present is a lot better than you've appreciated before.
Maintaining your mental health is up to you. When you're making your list of resolutions this year, consider prioritizing your mental health in 2017. Once you're doing that, all the other resolutions will be easy.