New Year’s Resolutions Must Focus on Emotional Health

New Year’s resolutions must focus on emotional health

Dr Mary Casey (Doctorate Psychology), CEO of health and education organisation Casey Centre, says: “The reason we make resolutions in the first place is to be happier, more creative, more aware of our direction in life, and improve our sense of wellbeing. Arguably the largest obstacles to these are negative emotional states.

Negative emotions are hugely toxic to our health. It’s now commonly accepted that holding onto stress, resentment, anger and fear for years at a time can lead to myriad health problems, including high blood pressure, thyroid diseases, hair loss etc...”

“It’s surprising, then, that we don’t focus on improving our positive emotional states more often. December and January are the perfect months for detoxing our emotions by reassessing our relationships and the decisions we make daily about our way of live. This requires us to build our emotional and mental muscles, which becomes easier once you begin.”

Dr Mary Casey’s top 7 New Year’s Resolutions for 2012:

  • Prioritise your happiness and health: “It’s important to decide for your health and happiness as number one. As simple as it sounds, if you don’t have these, you are not in a position to contribute to others. Everything else stems from here,” says Dr Casey.
  • Spend more time with the right people. “Rather than spending more time with everyone – which can be exhausting – spend time with people who are naturally positive and uplifting, and who are going in the direction that you aim to go in,” Dr Casey says. “You’ll find these people have an energising effect on you.”
  • Deal with toxic relationships: You can identify these by the way they make you feel, says Dr Casey, author of How to Deal with Master Manipulators ($69.95, Casey Centre). “People who are controlling, overly emotional, or in blame put everyone else in a negative state. Stand your ground, set your boundaries and make it clear to them what behaviour will and won’t accept – even with family. You may need to disengage altogether with those who are particularly toxic – your health will thank you for it.”
  • Re-assess your work. Is a negative work culture leaving you feeling, overworked, unsure of where you stand, anxious or stressed? “It’s important to know that as an employee you can address the issue with your manager. If you can’t, it may be time to look for a healthier workplace,” Dr Casey says.
  • Remove negative sources: “It takes courage to admit there are other factors in our lives that deflate us emotionally – from a long work commute, to running around too much, to been financially stressed,” says Mary. “By resolving to develop a strategy to resolve them, you can be in an entirely different place by the end of 2012. And you’ll be glad for it.”
  • Don’t let negative emotions control you: “Negative emotions – however small – can overwhelm anything positive. Resolve to develop awareness of when you’re feeling upset or frustrated. Each time, leave what you’re doing, take a walk in the park or go out in the sun to help centre you. Nature and movement nurture positive emotions.”
  • Find connection: “To connect with others at a deep level is a fundamental human requirement. Unfortunately, many have unfulfilling relationships. If you have a partner, it may be a good time to discuss how to take it to a deeper level. If you are single, create a list of the factors that you need to have a deep connection. You can also find a deep sense of fulfillment and connection in philanthropic or charitable work.

Dr Mary Casey (Doctorate of Psychology) is founder and CEO of Casey Centre, a leading integrated health and education service.

Visit A workplace relationship expert, Dr Casey is the author of How to Deal with Master Manipulators, a DVD and workbook with effective strategies to deal with manipulation at home or work.