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In honor of May being Mental Health month, it is the perfect time to reinforce the importance of taking care of yourself.  A healthy weight-loss program is not just about the number on the scale.  It is a combination of the mind and body.  Here are some skills that psychologists wish were in everyone’s tool box.


  1.  Analyze Your Jealousy: The temptation to be jealous is ever present, especially with social media.  Scrolling up and down your feed can sometimes result in envying what others have.  The next time this happens, on or offline, challenge it!  Ask yourself if you really want the things these people have.  If so, begin working toward it.  If not, focus on what you do have.  Either way, make an attempt to compare yourself against your own goals and not others. 


  1.  Assume the Best: Go with the much lighter, more reasonable, and more compassionate explanation when things are unknown.  This helps us stay balanced emotionally. 


  1.  Practice Mindfulness: Mindfulness is the act of being present in the moment.  Our mind is built to multi-task, but you should plan time to practice mindfulness strategies and techniques.  One way to practice mindfulness is to take out time to focus on the pattern of your breathing.  This will help clear your mind after a long or emotional day.


  1.  Stop Being Hard on Yourself: Celebrate your successes and accept failures.  Give yourself permission to be human.  Learn from your mistakes, and move on quickly without beating yourself up.  If this task seems too challenging, think back to past successes. 


  1.  Build and Maintain Healthy Relationships: Building strong social networks helps you cope with difficult times.  Healthy relationships are also associated with decreased impact of psychological disorders.  It is important to note that the quality of relationships you have will either hold you back or push you forward. 


  1.  Maintain Good Physical Health: The way you treat your body impacts your mental health.  The connection between good mental health and a good diet is not abstract.  Getting physical activity reduces anxiety, boosts your mood, and is a must for a successful, healthy weight-loss program.


  1.  Practice Self-Evaluation and Reflection: Realistically examine yourself.  While you are reflecting on past experiences and habits, be comfortable with being uncomfortable.  If you identify areas that need work, create a plan.  Be patient with yourself, while you work through that plan.


  1.  Reach out When You are Lonely: Loneliness is actually habit-forming.  The feeling of loneliness also fosters a feeling of avoidance, which tends to increase loneliness.  By reaching out, you break the pattern of loneliness and start forming close connections with people who help us keep things in perspective.


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