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The Power of New Year’s Resolutions

We celebrate the end of the year and the coming of the new year with various traditions. One of them is making a list of resolutions which announces changes and helps to stick to them. Let us think, however, if even a single previous year`s resolution related our desires and helped us to become truly happy? Our dreams may differ but there are a few universal values that build our foundation for further management of emotions. Only once we find our inner harmony the power to act and a confidence that we will overcome any obstacle will be born.

1. Use a calendar and stick to it

Who of you have not had this feeling of days going by without getting done anything productive? When we have a job, friends, family, and our own hobbies it is not hard to get lost in responsibilities. Our everyday frustrations often concern exactly the activities that in our mind are not specifically placed in reality and time. We get lost and overwhelmed with the number of things, calls, or post-it notes on the fridge. This results in anxiety which is then turned into anger. Keeping a calendar is a resolution that will bring us peace of mind. Writing down and planning all the responsibilities, prioritising them and ticking off the completed tasks – this habit will build a feeling of order and effectiveness.

2. Get enough sleep

This resolution is frequently on our list but we rarely take it seriously. If we want to have a sufficient amount of deep sleep, we should introduce regular hours of going to bed – also on weekends and free days. We should absolutely get rid of all electronic devices near the bed and ideally from the whole bedroom. We should treat our sleeping space as a shrine free from all frustrations, work and serious topics. Our bed has to be an oasis where we can rest and indulge in the pleasures of senses – only then we will come back there with delight. Laundry spread all over the floor, reading work e-mails, or quarrels only disturb our harmony and start the production of cortisol – a stress hormone. It is also worth to take care of suitable bedclothes – if you and your partner experience problems with sleep, it is advisable to look for therapeutic or weighted blankets. Effective sleep may be an extremely useful New Year’s resolution.

3. Listen to music

As Dawid Jung said “a man in the world without poetry and music is only an element of a food chain”. Not everybody has to like poetry but music has a real influence on our mood. As scientists claim, listening to music for only 45 minutes helps in falling asleep – soft tones reduce the blood pressure, relax the muscles and calm the breath. Interestingly enough, different sounds have different influence on us, and even listening to a particular music genre may say something about our intelligence. It has been thoroughly analysed by Jason Renflow who arrived at a conclusion that the smartest people are jazz and classical music fans (although opera fans showed greater suicidal tendencies on tests). Extraordinarily intelligent are also fans of U2, Radiohead or Bob Dylan, and just a little less intelligent are fans of Bob Marley, the Beatles, or Frank Sinatra, whereas the worst results achieved fans of Beyonce and Justin Timberlake. To sum up – in the new year listen to music but avoid operas.

4. Exposure to art

It is hard to find a place for art in a world of rapidly developing technologies, fast pace of life and consumerism rush. Although many of us think that it is an entertainment for snobs, exposure to abstract beauty entails numerous advantages. Knowledge of art or artistic sensibility will help not only in becoming more aware of the cultural reality. Art has many more functions – it can have an aesthetic value (producing pleasant aesthetic experience), communicative value (creating a bridge of understanding between the author and the recipient), cognitive value (by exploring a piece of art we explore the story behind it), intellectual value (a piece of art activates and develops our brain), educative and ethical value (teaches principles, reflexiveness and attitude), metaphysical value (evoking spiritual feelings), emotional value (provokes the recipient’s emotions), therapeutic value (improves mental health), entertaining value (relaxes us and makes our leisure more enjoyable), or utilitarian value (attractive utility design). Maybe it is worth taking your friend to a museum or an art gallery in the new year?

5. Active lifestyle

This is the last but not least point of the New Year’s summary. Physical activity keeps our body healthy, increases the production of serotonin – happiness hormone, and adds energy. These aspects give place to other values which we deem dear and worthy of sacrifice. Many times when deciding to increase the physical activity in the new year, we seek to form a dream body and we imagine a totally different reality after loosing weight. But is it a valuable aim? Is it essentially OUR desire? For whom do we achieve the aims – for ourselves or for the others? It is worth to think if our motivation is really good for us. Maybe it will turn out that we derive much more pleasure from playing badminton with friends two times a week than from back-braking training with barbells and a 1000 calorie diet.

At the end, think if you really want to wait with resolutions till the new year. As Rev. Jan Kaczkowski used to say: “Instead of constantly waiting for something, start to live this very day. You have much less time than you think”.