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I am a psychologist who has been in private practice for over 15 years in Bryn Mawr, PA-Western Suburbs of Philadelphia, PA. I have a special interest in issues affecting women.

Sunday, December 29, 2013

7 New Year's Resolutions For A Happier 2014





    




     As with everything in life, achieving happiness takes work, dedication and focus. For centuries January 1st has marked the date for us to take the time to reflect upon and re-evaluate our lives. We decide what changes or resolutions we need to make in order for us to lead happier and more satisfying lives in the New Year. Below I've complied a list of 7 tips or resolutions that you may want to add to your own list. Hopefully they will help make 2014 a happier year and most importantly a happier you.


1. Learn To Be Patient With Yourself. This is difficult for most of us since we expect so much from ourselves. We become our worst enemy when we are overly critical and harsh, making achieving our goals difficult and frankly unpleasant. Learning to be patient requires us to accept the reality that we all make "mistakes". Once we accept this fact, we gain a better understanding of ourselves. This understanding actually reduces our making needless mistakes in the future. And being patient dramatically improves our relationships.  We develop the capacity to be compassionate with others and ourselves too.

2. First Things First. This I learned from a special person in my life. Being able to prioritize life on both a large scale (big picture) and small scale (day-to-day) helps us to stay focused and not drift into a state of distraction and avoidance thereby preventing us from attending to whatever it was we wanted to do in the first place. First things first attitude also helps us to achieve our goals, big and small, by going about them in a logical and productive manner.
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3. Don't Be Afraid to Say No. Saying no is hard for many of us. It's understandable to want to avoid disappointing those we love and care about. For some saying no is difficult because they may believe the other person will be angry or reject them if they don't do what is asked of them. However, these feelings are often projected on to the other person. Saying no not only gives us a greater sense of autonomy but it also allows for the opportunity to clear up misunderstandings or to figure out a comprise. 

4. Tune Into Your Emotions. It's only natural to want to avoid or deny distressing emotions. Anxiety, depression, guilt, anger and other negative feelings are signals telling us that something is wrong. Learning to "sit with" unpleasant feelings and to take the time to understand them helps us find solutions to our problems--after all it's hard to fix what we don't know is wrong in the first place.

5. Go Out And Explore. It's important to continually develop and evolve as an individual. Adding variety of our lives by taking on different roles and exploring various interests helps us to remain stimulated, engaged, and connected to ourselves and others. Exploration of any kind broadens our world, improves our self-esteem, intelligence, confidence, and our overall well-being and degree of satisfaction.

6. It's Never Black or White. Developing the ability to see people and circumstances from multiple perspectives improves our attitude and our life in so many ways. No one individual or circumstance is ever simply "one way" or "another". When we develop the capacity to see the "shades of grey" in life, ourselves, and the people around us, we develop better coping strategies by becoming more flexible and nuanced in our thinking and problem solving capacities.

7. Ask For Help. Asking for help is difficult for some people because they perceive it is a sign of weakness. Others feel afraid, embarrassed or vulnerable when asking for help. Knowing "how" and "who" to ask for help is truly a strength. No one should feel they have to do it ALL on their own.


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