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Brandeis University's Community Newspaper — Waltham, Mass.

The most important New Year’s resolution

Published: December 3, 2010
Section: Arts, Etc.

In light of the recent homosexual teen suicides due to bullying along with the visit of the Westboro Baptist Church to Brandeis, I thought it might be time to focus on the mental side of health.

To be healthy, people need to be stable from the inside out, both mentally and physically. More specifically, loving oneself is crucial to an individual’s well-being. Being comfortable in one’s skin can range from confidence in sexuality, to appearance, to intelligence, to many other realms of life and can be the best defense against negative influences.

As we approach New Years, I propose everyone should resolve to love themselves in 2011, now I don’t mean we need to embrace tie-dye, Birkenstocks and hemp, but simply trying out a few of these tips could possibly add to our mental health.

According to psychotherapist Dr. Munro, one way to start the process of learning to love yourself is by making a list of things you like about yourself. When thinking of reasons you like yourself, be honest and positive, this list is not for anybody but yourself. If you have trouble starting the list, it’s even OK to start with a small example, like, “I was happy with myself when I made that good point in class today, my preparation for class proved to be effective.” If you’re still having trouble, ask your friends or family what they like about you. This should not substitute your own reasons for loving yourself, but merely a way to open your eyes about some of the wonderful traits that make you loved.

Once you have compiled a list, keep it in a place where you can go back to reread or add to. Any time you feel down or someone says something to trigger self-criticism, go back to the list and remind yourself why you think you’re great.

Next, make it part of your routine to praise yourself for accomplishments during the day. I think our society sometimes associates praising ourselves to selfishness, but in reality, it can help nourish our self-worth and confidence in ourselves, a quality that many feel is attractive. Praise as simple as “I am proud of myself for making it up Rabb steps without tripping” can help begin the process of something like walking around campus more confidently. Part of this process can also be achieved by using affirmations, repeating aloud strong statements like, “I am a loveable person,” or writing them down and placing them somewhere you’ll look every day, will remind you of these thoughts even if you don’t initially believe them.

Finally, it is important to counteract negative or critical thoughts about yourself by participating in comfortable or nurturing activities. Doing things that you know make you feel good will not only make you feel better but encourage you to be comfortable in other situations as well. For example, after a long day of work, I like to have dinner in my friend’s dorm room. This not only relieves my stress of the day, but also in the future can help me get the same feeling by eating dinner with my friend in Usdan.

Usually, I’m a black and white, scientific research-based girl, so this abstract concept was as new to me as it probably is to you, however, I now truly feel loving yourself is the quintessential key to being healthy.

So, wishing you all a happy and healthy new year and I hope these tips can bring greater happiness to your next semester (I now sound like a fortune cookie, fantastic). As always, tune in next semester for more health tips and send me an e-mail at with any health-related questions you may have.