Insight Behavioral Health – When it comes to the annual ritual of establishing New Year’s resolutions, losing weight, exercising, and eating healthier are at the top of the list for most Americans year after year without fail. These are important aspects of physical health that should be prioritized as we embark on a new year. Yet two equally important factors that are often overlooked in our yearly quest for improvement are behavioral health vs mental health. These terms are used interchangeably by most people and they do have much in common – especially in the role they play in improving overall well-being and our outlook in life. However, there are also a few distinctions in how they relate to the ways we think and act. The following is a brief overview of behavioral health vs. mental health and how you can apply these approaches to help you improve your outlook and attitude as we move into 2023.
Behavioral Health vs Mental Health: How Are They Different?
The main difference between behavioral health vs mental health? Behavioral health and mental health are umbrella terms related to a person’s emotional and psychological well-being. Although they are connected in many ways, these are two distinct concepts that each fulfill a singular role in a healthy, well-adjusted individual. Behavioral health focuses on how a person’s way of life, daily habits, and actions can impact their overall health. This can include everything from substance abuse and managing stress to losing weight and treating pain. Mental health usually falls within behavioral health, addressing issues related to emotional, psychological, and social well-being. The most important takeaway is that behavior influences our mental health and our minds influence behavior, linking these two separate concepts in many ways. As you work to better yourself in the New Year, consider how behavioral and mental health will play a part in your pursuits.
6 Ways to Improve Your Outlook and Attitude in the New Year
Take Positive Action
Everyone has highs and lows in life. When something doesn’t go as planned or you find yourself in a rut, a natural reaction is to engage in negative thinking or even complain. But if you find your thoughts are becoming increasingly pessimistic and you have a gloomy outlook on life, it’s time to take positive action. The first step in transforming your outlook is to identify the areas of your life that tend to be most negative and make a plan for how you respond. Research shows that positive self-talk can significantly impact your thoughts and attitude in stressful situations or when you are having negative thoughts. At the start of the New Year, take some time to assess the hiccups in life that tend to cloud your perspective and plan some steps you can take to pivot and transform the situation.
Another aspect of positive thinking is practicing gratitude. Whether you’re facing a difficult obstacle or are just having a bad day, thinking about someone (or something) that has made a positive impact in your life or a happy moment can turn your outlook around. Many people find success keeping a gratitude journal where they dedicate time to list the positives in their lives and all the things they are grateful for. Not only will this improve your self-esteem and give you reasons to be optimistic, but it also allows you to put life’s challenges into perspective and reflect on past difficulties where you have persevered.
Establish Long-Term & Short-Term Goals
We often have good intentions to improve our lives or outlook, especially as we reflect on what we’ve achieved and start thinking about the possibilities in the year ahead. However, if we don’t take time to establish goals that are meaningful and realistic, it doesn’t take much to lose focus and revert to our old ways.
Dedicate time to start establishing long-term and short-term goals that you can reasonably accomplish. Write your goals down and map them out so you have a path to achievement. If some of your goals are ambitious or may be overwhelming, break them down into smaller objectives that are easier to meet. If you are worried about keeping yourself accountable, try sharing your goals with a trusted friend or family member. Setting goals can take many forms, so find a path that works best for you and work hard throughout the year to make them a reality.
Start Each Morning Strong
We all know what it is like to have something go wrong in the morning that sets us on a path to negativity for the rest of the day. But if this is a regular occurrence for you, it’s time to take action and make a change to start each morning strong. One of the simplest things you can do is adjust your sleep schedule. This year, start going to bed earlier and waking up earlier. Not only does this give you more time to exercise, enjoy a cup of coffee, or do something you love without stress and time constraints, it also allows you to be well-rested and ready to start your day on a positive note.
Focus On Helping Others
Whether it’s volunteering, assisting an elderly neighbor, or donating to a good cause, helping others is another simple but highly effective way to improve your outlook on life. Plus you’re also improving the lives of others in need in the process! Research shows the many benefits of serving others, including reducing symptoms of depression, encouraging social behavior, and regulating feelings of loneliness or frustration. When you make kindness and generosity a priority, the benefits and possibilities are almost limitless.
Don’t Compare Yourself to Others
In the age of social media and virtual lifestyles, many people are feeling unprecedented pressure to keep up with friends, family, co-workers, and even digital influencers. This leads to diminished self-worth, depression, insecurities, and a series of other behavioral and mental health issues that can negatively impact your well-being and outlook on life. Although it’s easier said than done, this year make an effort to avoid competing with others and instead focus on achieving your own goals and dreams. Being aware of situations that trigger inadequacy and avoiding them, limiting time on social media, and focusing on your strengths and achievements are all steps you can take to become more resilient and avoid comparing yourself to others.
The bottom line is that behavioral health and mental health are connected to nearly every facet of our lives, including our physical health and overall well-being. It’s easy to overlook these critical aspects of our health as we work to make improvements in our lives, but there are a number of steps anyone can take to make meaningful progress. If you are looking to better yourself in the new year, improving your outlook on life and attitude is a great place to start. Something as simple as being mindful of positive actions or setting goals can be hugely impactful in helping you be well. For more information on improving your outlook on life or if you are struggling with your mental health, our team at Insight Behavioral Health is here to help! Contact us today to learn more about our services and schedule an appointment.
Q: What is the difference between behavioral health and mental health?
A: Although the two disciplines share many similarities, they are different. Behavioral health focuses on the daily habits, lifestyles, actions, and behaviors that impact a person’s mental and physical health. Mental health focuses on how a person thinks and feels, including emotional, social, and psychological health.
Q: What is gratitude journaling?
A: A gratitude journal is a simple and effective way to list positives in your life and improve your well-being. The benefits of gratitude journaling include self-esteem improvement, stress reduction, and better sleep, among others.
Q: How can I make mental health a priority in the New Year?
A: A new year is a great time for a fresh start and bettering yourself. This year, try focusing on positives instead of negatives, set attainable goals, make time to go outside and be social, and remember to put less pressure on yourself.