DR MAX PEMBERTON: Don’t let go in this New Year!

After the excess of Christmas, it’s easy to assume that January must be about denying us something, limiting us, or even punishing us in some way. But I encourage you not to start the year on such a negative note.

Don’t give up on something for the New Year; commit to doing something instead. There is a lot to be said about reframing how we view resolutions and indeed all the changes we want to make in our lives.

As a psychiatrist, I often encourage patients to rethink how they perceive changes in their lifestyle – choosing to do something rather than not to do it. It is therefore better to choose to eat healthy than to say that you are going to deprive yourself of chocolate.

I think that’s important because, let’s be honest, 2021 hasn’t turned out the way most of us were hoping. Thanks to restrictions and the emergence of the new strain of Covid, the past year has been stressful, strange and uncertain. Let’s take a break in this New Year.

Dr Max Pemberton recommends against giving up on something for the New Years as he reveals three things to try that could revitalize your mental health in 2022 (file image)

Of course, I wouldn’t discourage someone from quitting smoking or dieting if they are overweight, but why not get your New Year to start by embracing the positive over the negative; that it focuses on giving us something that might bring us joy rather than depriving us. Here are three things to try that could revitalize your mental health in 2022:

Speak Spanish

Or Mandarin. Or Russian. . . I’m a fan of this because the evidence is compelling. Learning a language stimulates specific parts of the brain, encourages synapse growth, and there is some evidence that it can even slow cognitive decline. Research suggests that it even reduces the risk of Alzheimer’s. Speaking a foreign language engages a large network of neurons that increases the flexibility of the brain, stimulates creativity, and improves thinking. There is also some evidence that it helps people with depression and anxiety. I often recommend it to patients because it’s a very social thing to do – in language classes, people of all ages, social groups, backgrounds etc. come together with a common interest. Learning a foreign language broadens your horizons and creates a feeling of belonging.

Offer friendship

It is heartbreaking to think that there are around 1.2 million seniors who report feeling chronically alone. What a sad indictment of the company.

What better New Year’s resolution could we all have than to befriend a lonely senior? Age UK branches across Great Britain offer friendship services, including those you can do over the phone.

I did this for several years while in medical school and it was incredibly rewarding. In my first year a colleague and I signed up for a charity and received a very elderly woman, Mrs. Richards. She was a widow without children and was completely alone, her sister having died a few years earlier. It soon turned out that she also had terminal cancer. Looking back, I wonder what she did with two lanky 18-year-olds who come down to her tiny apartment once a week. Sometimes we had to be boring enough that she would listen to us as we complained about the exams.

Dr Max Pemberton (pictured) says novels have the power to transform the way we think, feel and experience the world, enriching us and giving us a better understanding of ourselves and others

Dr Max Pemberton (pictured) says novels have the power to transform the way we think, feel and experience the world, enriching us and giving us a better understanding of ourselves and others

But she also listened and gave wise advice, made us tea and at the end of our visit, gave us bags full of goodies. She was convinced that we were not eating enough and would try to feed us. While we had started to befriend each other with the intention of helping someone else, Ms. Richards taught us so much about life – and even death. She was the first person I saw die and the stoic way she approached her disappearance was extraordinary. In fact, she had such a profound impact on my friend that he swore to become an elderly specialist, and over 20 years later he is now a consultant in community geriatrics. And of course, that’s the magic of befriending – it’s a two-way street.

What might start out as an act of selflessness rarely ends that way. The wonderful thing about the gift of friendship is that the giver and the receiver can share the present.

Read the work of DH Lawrence

I strongly believe in the therapeutic power of novels. They transport us to other worlds, give us insight into the minds and ways of thinking of others, and, if well written, expand our vocabulary and language skills. They have the power to transform the way we think, feel and experience the world, enriching us and giving us a better understanding of ourselves and others. They are also a great way to take a break from your life.

Newsreader Huw Edwards shared how boxing had helped him recover from depression. I have mixed feelings about sports: while the goal is to induce neurological damage by knocking someone out, I’ve seen how they can fight mental health issues, especially in young men.

There are many physical and mental benefits that people who read novels have been shown to regularly enjoy.

Research shows that reading a novel for as little as six minutes a day can reduce stress levels by 60% by lowering your heart rate and relieving muscle tension.

I’m particularly fond of kissing a novelist and reading all of their works, one after the other. One year I read all of DH Lawrence. This year, I will tackle Charles Dickens. Great novelists explore universal truths – things that speak to fundamental aspects of being human, regardless of where someone lives or their circumstances, which can help when you yourself are faced with the problem. ‘adversity. Not that we’re going to have all of this in 2022!

…Except smoking, Nicole

Dr Max said Nicole Kidman (pictured) was playing a dangerous game by starting to smoke in an effort to get the deep voice needed to play actress Lucille Ball in new movie Being The Ricardos

Dr Max said Nicole Kidman (pictured) was playing a dangerous game by starting to smoke in an effort to get the deep voice needed to play actress Lucille Ball in new movie Being The Ricardos

Actress Nicole Kidman admitted in an interview that she started smoking in an effort to get the deep voice needed to play actress Lucille Ball in the new movie Being The Ricardos. There’s a part of me that wants to congratulate her for going so far for the sake of her art. But as a former smoker myself, she’s playing a dangerous game. Nicotine is incredibly addictive, and it’s too easy to slip into its grip. But she’s right about the effect it has on someone’s voice. Along with a host of other effects on the body, smoking can affect its tone, quality, and tone. This is because the vocal cords are the “gateway” to the lungs and therefore when you inhale smoke it passes through the vocal cords causing damage and swelling of the delicate tissues that make them up. In case you are tempted to follow suit!

  • Has your Christmas been a disaster? If so, don’t worry. While I understand that parents are often desperate to make sure their children have magical memories, a recent study found that one in five find their level of festive stress negatively affects their child’s enjoyment during holiday season. holidays. Another in four admitted to setting overly idealistic expectations for Christmas, with twice as many mothers stressed by the preparations as fathers.

But really, they should relax. As an elderly patient once told me, no one remembers a Christmas when everything is fine.

On Christmas when the turkey is burnt and you all have to scramble to a little chef at junction 16 of the M6, they are the ones we look back on and laugh about. So if yours has gone horribly wrong, try not to worry.

Dr Max prescribes …

Unbreakable kimmy Schmidt

Dr Max revealed he recently finished watching Unbreakable Kimmy Schmidt's latest series

Dr Max revealed he recently finished watching Unbreakable Kimmy Schmidt’s latest series

I just finished watching the last series of this Netflix show. The premise doesn’t look promising for a comedy – the fictional Kimmy has been held hostage in an underground bunker with three other women for 15 years. Finally released, the series shows her trying to get her life back in hand. Written by comedian Tina Fey, it’s hilarious but also explores complex psychology-related topics, such as the idea that you can’t change what happened to you, only how you react to it. This is exactly what the doctor ordered.


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