Dr Mary Casey Emotional Health Goals must top New Year's Resolutions List

Dr Mary Casey Emotional Health Goals must top New Year's Resolutions List

Dr Mary Casey Emotional Health Goals must top New Year's Resolutions List interview

A healthier diet and regular exercise are arguably the most common New Year's resolutions - but a leading psychology expert is asking Australians to resolve to improve their emotional and mental health too. Exercise, diet and other tangible goals are then easier to meet.

Dr Mary Casey (Doctorate of 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 and heart disease. In fact, it has become accepted by health professionals that most diseases in some way have a stress-related component.

"It's surprising, then, that more of us don't focus on improving our state of mind. December and January are the perfect months for detoxing our emotions by reassessing our relationships and living decisions we make daily. This may require 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:
1. 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 or yourself. Everything stems from here," says Dr Casey.

2. Spend more time with the right people: "Rather than resolving to spend 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 you want to go in," Dr Casey says. "You'll find these people have an energising effect on you."

3. Deal with toxic relationships: You can identify the relationships 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 you won't accept - even with family. You may need to disengage altogether from particularly toxic people. Your health will thank you for it."

4. Reassess your happiness at work: This is must for those in negative work culture that's leaving them feeling overworked, uncertain of their future, anxious or stressed. "It's important to know that as an employee you can address the issue with your manager. If you know you can't, it may be time to look for a healthier work environment," Dr Casey says.

5. Review your daily routine: "It takes courage to admit there are decisions we ourselves make that deflate us emotionally - from accepting a job with a long work commute, to running around too much, to not giving ourselves enough 'down' time every day, to spending too much and putting ourselves in financial stress," says Mary. "By resolving to develop a strategy to solve them, you can be in an entirely different place by the end of 2012. And you'll be glad for it."

6. Don't let any negative emotions control you: "Negative emotions - however small - can overwhelm anything positive," Dr Casey says. "Resolve to develop awareness of when you're feeling upset or frustrated before it spoils your day. Examine your part in this. What can you do personally to make yourself feel better? Each time you begin to feel down, take a walk in the park or go out in the sun to help centre you. Nature and movement nurture positive emotions."

7. Strengthen your relationships: "Deep and meaningful relationships, not just with your life partner but with all those close to you, are important for a fulfilling life. Make a list of all the factors you need for a meaningful relationship, identify what you do not want, and stick to your guns. You can also find deep fulfilment and connection in philanthropic or charitable work, so try getting involved in a community group, nursing home or the like, and volunteer some of your time," Dr Casey says.

For more information, visit www.caseycentre.com.au

Interview with Dr Mary Casey

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

Question: Why is it important to include emotional and mental health goals on our 2012 New Year's Resolutions List?

Dr Mary Casey: As simple as it sounds, if you don't have emotional and mental health goals, you are not in a position to contribute to others or yourself. Everything stems from here.


Question: What type of goals are suitable to contribute to our 'emotional health'?

Dr Mary Casey: Try to set goals to strengthen your relationships. Deep and meaningful relationships, not just with your life partner but with all those close to you, are important for a fulfilling life. Make a list of all the factors you need for a meaningful relationship, identify what you do not want, and stick to your guns. You can also find deep fulfilment and connection in philanthropic or charitable work, so try getting involved in a community group, nursing home or the like, and volunteer some of your time.


Question: How does setting emotional and mental health goals help us achieve other tangible goals?

Dr Mary Casey: Setting emotional and mental health goals, helps to resolve the negative emotions we have which -however small - can overwhelm anything positive. Set a goals to try to develop awareness of when you're feeling upset or frustrated before it spoils your day. Examine your part in this. What can you do personally to make yourself feel better? Each time you begin to feel down, take a walk in the park or go out in the sun to help centre you. Nature and movement nurture positive emotions.


Question: Can you please explain what negative emotions are?

Dr Mary Casey: Negative emotions are emotions that are toxic to our health, they can cause us anxiety and make us upset and damage our relationships. Emotions such as resentment, anger, frustration or fear manifest physically when we hold onto them for too long. It's now commonly accepted that holding onto these types of emotions for years at a time can lead to myriad health problems, including high blood pressure, thyroid diseases, hair loss and heart disease.


Question: How can we rid our lifestyles of negative emotions?

Dr Mary Casey: You need to detox your emotions. To do this, reassess your relationships and the living decisions you make daily. This may require you to build your emotional and mental muscles, which becomes easier once you begin.


Question: How can we reduce stress in our life, for 2012?

Dr Mary Casey: Take a look at the choices you make in life. It takes courage to admit there are decisions we ourselves make that deflate us emotionally - from accepting a job with a long work commute, to running around too much, to not giving ourselves enough 'down' time every day, to spending too much and putting ourselves in financial stress or, more commonly, having relationships that don't uplift and make us feel good. By resolving to develop a strategy to solve them, you can be in an entirely different place by the end of 2012. And you'll be glad for it.


Question: Can you please provide some tips for dealing with toxic and negative people that are in our lives?

Dr Mary Casey: Start by identifying toxic relationships by the way they make you feel. 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 you won't accept - even with family. You may need to disengage altogether from particularly toxic people. Your health will thank you for it. Spend time with people who are naturally positive and uplifting, and who are going in the direction you want to go in. You'll find these people have an energising effect on you.


Question: How can we reassess our happiness at work?

Dr Mary Casey: If you have a negative work culture that's leaving you feeling overworked, uncertain of their future, anxious or stressed, you need to reassess your happiness at work, by taking your concerns to your manager. It's important to know that as an employee you can address issues with your manager. If you know you can't, it may be time to look for a healthier work environment.


Question: What is your number one New Year's Resolution?

Dr Mary Casey: 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 or yourself. Everything stems from here.


Interview by Brooke Hunter




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