A Healthy New Year by Dr Brita Mutti

Reconsidering How to Heal Yourself in the New Year

By Dr. Brita Mutti ND, FABNO

As the old year ends and a new one approaches, now is a good time to think about your new year’s resolutions and ways to improve your health and your life. When we think about “being healthy” we usually consider our diet, exercising, good sleep habits, taking the vitamins, supplements and prescriptions that we’re told to, and avoiding certain bad habits in our life. And these all are undoubtedly important for good health.

But sometimes, even doing all of these things “right” still can leave us feeling depressed or anxious or stressed. We still may have trouble sleeping. We still may have digestive problems that won’t go away. We still may have a mysterious, persistent rash or bad skin.

Changing the way you eat or how often you exercise or how much sleep you get are not the only things to consider. Are you in a bad relationship? Do you get along with your family? Do you hate your job? Are you pursuing your dreams or have you given up on them? Is your life fulfilling and satisfying?

We don’t usually think of resolving these sorts of issues as a part of being healthy. They can seem too complicated or painful to address, and too distantly related to our health. There are often physical answers for the ailments we all have, but addressing health problems on a deeper level falls to you. The question we all must ask – and answer for – ourselves is, “What does my body need to heal?” Or to put it more specifically, “On what level do I need to heal? Physical? Mental? Emotional? Are there mental or emotional barriers that are preventing physical healing?”

When thinking about optimizing your body’s ability to heal, identifying what contributes to stress in your life is key. Ask yourself questions like:

Am I able to identify when I am stressed? What causes my stress? What does it feel like? Can I identify specific behaviors or physical feelings that I have when I feel stress? What are my red flags? From that awareness, you will be able to begin changing the responses you have to stress.

Beyond specifically thinking about and addressing stress in your life, you may ask yourself other questions to help focus your efforts to change your actions, feelings, and responses to situations. Your list may include questions such as:

  • If I could change one thing in my life, what would it be?
  • If I could let go of one thing, what would it be?
  • If I could forgive myself for one thing, what would it be?
  • Am I bearing someone else’s burden?
  • Am I living someone else’s dream?
  • Do I need to set better personal boundaries?
  • Can I identify the lens thru which I view situations?

Even if you can’t make immediate changes regarding major stressors in your life, being able to identify what is adding stress, anxiety, unhappiness, or feelings of depression to your life is a good first step. You may not be able to remove those causes, but it is important to start developing ways to process and release the bad feelings you have associated with them. Additionally, create a list of things you can do for self-care (such as meditation, self-affirmation, breathing exercises, talking to a friend, going for a walk). Take the time everyday to do at least one thing on your list, even if you are having a good day!

A naturopath can help you address your health concerns, and can assist in developing strategies for making mental and emotional changes to your life that will improve your overall well-being.