Mental Health Check in 2018
By Montu Patel, MD Steward Medical Group and Nashoba Valley Medical Center
The start of a new year is often a time to plan for the future and embrace new goals. One of the most popular New Year’s resolutions is to focus on losing weight. But in setting health goals, it is important to consider physical and mental health - which often goes neglected, but is equally as important to overall wellbeing.
At Nashoba Valley Medical Center, we are committed to keeping all of our patients healthy year-round. Mental health is a critical component to the patient’s overall health. The following examples of mental health goals for 2018 are a great starting point for making this year your best yet:
● Meditate for 10 minutes a day, 3 days out of the week and record how you feel before and after each session. Regular, quiet self-reflection helps calm your mind, reduce stress, and improve your focus.
● Talk to at least one person a week about your mental health, no matter your mood at the time. This can be anyone from a therapist, to a family member or a friend. If someone asks how you are doing, it’s okay to say you’re not well.
● Check in on at least one friend or family member a week to see how they are doing. Maintaining your important personal relationships is key to your mental health.
● Exercise for at least 20 minutes, 3-4 times a week. This kind of regular exercise will not only keep you fit, but help you relieve stress and improve your overall mood.
Studies show that only eight percent of people keep their New Year’s resolutions. Failing to maintain resolutions usually stems from overcommitting and setting too many goals, or being derailed by small, recoverable setbacks. “We encourage patients to set specific, measurable, realistic goals. Goals that meet these criteria are more manageable and patients are much more likely to follow through with them”, said Montu Patel, MD, primary care physician at Steward Medical Group.
As you consider how to go about making 2018 your healthiest year yet, your doctor can help you decide what goals make most sense for you and your lifestyle. But you can get started on the process today: Make a list of 5-10 mental and physical health goals and encourage your friends and family to do the same. Sharing your goals with friends and family and encouraging them to do the same creates a system of accountability, increasing your chances of making your 2018 health resolutions a reality.
To find a primary care doctor or to make an appointment with Dr. Patel, visit nashobamed.org/DoctorFinder.