January is usually a quiet period with fewer activities, compared to December’s peak; but sometimes it induces an inner turmoil and much anxiety. And this, because it is the period in which we realize how many points we ticked off from last year’s resolutions, in relation to how many we actually wanted. We stress when we are honest with ourselves and strive to set other goals – more achievable. We tend to make big plans, without thinking that we are, most of the times, power-hungry and we don’t know where to start.
We want to be proud of our own person. But comparisons with others often involve a negative note, because the mind is set to underestimate the good things and small steps we have taken and focus on the achievements of others. Of course, this could stimulate a competitive attitude in us, even though we know that, in most cases, the performances of others are not quite out of the ordinary. This is how we end up complaining about mercy, underestimation and closure in our own shell, considering that we are not capable of what others can. We do not realize that, for a harmonious life, we must be well with ourselves, with the universe within us. We would be surprised to find that it takes only a few simple things to move the boulders out of place and that small adjustments are sometimes enough to light the spark needed to fulfill dreams.
In order to make everything easier, without the pressure of an endless list of resolutions, we have compiled some observations about the handy and extremely pleasurable efforts we can make to add value to our lives and our well-being.
- The home is the one where we take off our social masks and look like we are. This is precisely why we can start by making our home smelly. Olfactory expert Rachel Herz (author of Scent of Desire) points out that odor is associated with parts of the brain that process emotions and memories. Researches mention that vanilla makes people more relaxed, mint generates energy, and lavender relieves stress.
- If we are still in the home chapter, the researchers also urge us to decorate the house with family memories (for example, photos from the grandparents’ wedding, etc.). Dan Buettner (author of The Blue Zones) claims that, in happy cultures around the world, people feel part of a perpetual whole. The couple relationship is one that is cultivated continuously, it is not static, so the specialists resemble a living organism.
- The care and existence of indoor plants have an extraordinary effect on human health. Beyond the air quality, research has also revealed that those who care for the plants have lower nervous system disorders and have a blood pressure in normal parameters.
- A seemingly trivial thing, but with a major impact on marital dynamics, is the moment when we go to bed with our partner, at a decent time. A study in The Journal of Sexual Medicine found that women who slept for an extra hour increased the likelihood of having sex by 14%.
- Including planning a vacation should be on our list of resolutions. Research shows that women who take vacations at least twice a year have a lower risk of heart attack than those who do not take this break. And here we mention the idea of vacationing for a few weeks.
- Budget planning is one of the most important points at the beginning of the year. Saving is never easy, but we can use applications like “Mint” or “You Need A Budget”, which can highlight our expenses.
- Sharing our goals with each other means a greater opportunity to really put them into practice, but also the ability to share experiences, according to Dr. Oz.
- Donating old or old clothes is another thing we can do. Dr. Kit Yarrow (from Golden Gate University) claims that keeping clothes in the wardrobe with a few smaller numbers just as motivation doesn’t help us at all, quite the opposite. This recommends that we focus on health and, after getting rid of clothes, enroll in sports classes at a fitness center or choose a hiking route with friends.
- Wear clothes where we feel comfortable. Studies show that what we choose to wear in certain contexts is reflected in how we feel and choose to act. Prof. Dr. Hajo Adam (from Rice University) calls this phenomenon “clothed cognition”.
- Let’s do one thing at a time. The company urges us to be multitasking, to be ubiquitous, to divide ourselves between many goals daily, but that means low efficiency and a lot of stress. Pedram Shojai (mindfulness expert and author of The Art of Stopping Time) claims that when we are fragmented, we become much more anxious as new elements appear over the old ones, however incomplete or unfinished. The solution he proposes is to allocate time for each activity, one at a time.
- Writing to ourselves may seem strange. Most of the time, we are critical when we relate to our own person, but we react differently when we talk about others. Dr. Emma Seppälä (from the Center for Research and Education for Compassion and Altruism at Stanford University) urges us to channel our compassion toward ourselves.
- Let’s sweeten our stress with our own goodness. Research has shown that by practicing self-pity, the heart rate and body perspiration slow down, which are symptoms that we show when we experience an increased level of stress. Specialists recommend that we find time to focus on something we like about our own person.
- Changing our sports routine is apparently very difficult. However, studies show that people who have trained their body in several ways have a lower probability of having short telomeres (DNA segments located at the ends of chromosomes, which are lost as we age).
- We are not very used to complimenting ourselves. But American psychologist Joy Harden Bradford argues that a positive discussion with ourselves will help us see the good part of everything we experience, and even improve our sleep.
- Let’s read more books. This urge is certainly on the lists of many. But to be sure and rigorous with this desire, it is good to take stock of the books read- entering the #DavidBookClub at www.financial-minimalist.com, where every month we find three books recommended by specialists and thus we escape the burden of selecting the perfect books. In this way, we will not even get to blame for reading too little.
- Eating healthier and more diverse is, at the beginning of the year, one of the most pressing desires of most people. We can start by ordering the book Food, Health and Happiness, by Oprah Winfrey and find a new recipe – at least once a week.
- Let’s spend less time glued to the phone, which has become an extension of our hands and without which we have developed real anxieties. In a previous survey, 83% of respondents said they had given up on quantifying time spent on smart devices. Specialists recommend us to engage with other activities, done in the offline environment – such as enjoying a coffee with friends or walking the dog outdoors (simple and handy things, which will make us feel much better than the screens of gadgets ). At the same time, it would be healthy to monitor the time spent in virtual searches through various applications, in order to gain a clearer picture of these activities.
- And because we are always with smartphones in hand, it would be wise and healthy to disinfect our phones weekly. In this regard, Dr. Charles Gerba (a professor of microbiology at Arizona State University) argues that phones have ten times more bacteria than most toilet seats.
- Let’s drink water. We consider that we are sufficiently mature and, although we sometimes consume carbonated drinks, we believe that we maintain a high rate of water level in the body. But often, we take the job and forget to hydrate, especially when the night comes with less than 6 hours of sleep. It is important to be aware of the importance of hydration in our life, for good physical and mental health.
- At the same time, one of the most important things that we must have on the annual list of objectives is to schedule the visits we want to make to the doctor and psychologist. As we want to be physically healthy (and we do blood tests, colonoscopy, mammography, etc.), so too must we think about emotional health. Experts point out that the relationships we grow in life determine what lifestyle we adopt. And because finding a therapist can be a cumbersome process, some of us postpone this moment until it’s already too late.
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