Finding Success in Your New Year’s Resolutions

Do you get discouraged just thinking about another year and the important New Year’s resolutions you always make but struggle to keep? You’re not alone. Unfortunately, some of the behaviors on your list may be anxiety-driven habits and actions which are particularly difficult to control. A candy fix, biting your nails, a cigarette—if a habit or an activity such as this serves an emotional purpose, such as calming your anxiety, it can be much more difficult to remove from your daily routine. New Year’s resolutions that are a list of dos and don’ts are usually doomed to a very short life without examining the anxious emotions that may be driving them. However, if anxiety is identified and channeled into useful activities, you will be able to make those resolutions a reality. A therapist can assist you in addressing your feelings and making successful changes in the New Year.

Understanding how anxiety affects you is important in learning how to channel it in positive directions. This powerful trigger emotion actually serves a useful purpose in your mind’s ability to be alert to possible danger, make necessary decisions, take appropriate action, protect yourself, and achieve your immediate goals. Your brain automatically responds both physiologically and cognitively when it recognizes your anxiety increasing. Energy levels rise to prepare you for emergency action, and you may even feel yourself becoming more alert and restless. However, how you are currently responding to those indicators may be harmful to your health and life goals. Those are probably some of the very candidates for change on your New Year’s resolution list.

Rather than simply dismissing your feelings or ignoring them, let a therapist help you learn to identify your anxiety triggers and to substitute more positive responses. Behaviors such as self-medicating and avoidance can be reduced or eliminated while enjoying that extra energy push to get a job done can be retained. Understanding the value of using anxiety in positive and productive ways is key to making changes in your life that will last far beyond your New Year’s resolutions.

 

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