Many people will have breathed a sigh of relief as the sun finally set on 2020. It was at the least an unusual year and for many it was an anxious and tragic year.
For nearly everyone it came with many personal challenges amid a backdrop of changes in society. Most of us had new worries and increased concerns for the future.
So far, 2021 looks as if it may be more of the same. So how on earth can we make sure those wishes of having a Happy New Year are realized?
Here we put together some useful tips that will help make 2021 a year to remember for the right reasons.
Start each day with meditation
Thirty minutes works best. It’s useful to start the day like this in calm and stillness rather than letting yourself be bombarded with what you want and need to do in the day. Or with negative stuff from traditional and social media.
Starting the day slowly and calmly will give you more energy for the day ahead.
Write a gratitude list
It’s another positive way to start a day. Write down ten things you’re grateful for such as your good health, the food you have and a roof over your head.
It reinforces the positivity of this by writing: “I am grateful for… ” at the start of everything you are writing down.
You can include big things such as fresh running water, nature or your family and friends. But also smaller things that might otherwise be taken for granted such as having a clean pair of socks or a phone.
You can also write a gratitude list any time in the day too. It will help you to get in the habit of focusing on the positives rather than the negatives.
Live one day at a time
Many people in recovery have happy lives because they have learned to keep it in the day. It’s useful to not worry about what tomorrow might bring – as no one ever knows for sure anyway.
Living this way means you will have more energy and focus for the present moment. Over time this will translate into achieving more things you set out to do.
Sometimes we might need to do something that we don’t like doing. Then it pays to keep it in the day by remembering that whatever it is isn’t forever.
Make a decision to be happy
This can seem glib to people who are suffering from depression. But it has also helped many people.
For many of us, we can actually decide to be happy – if we make up our minds to be.
As psychiatrist Viktor Frankl wrote in his bestselling self-help book Man’s Search for Meaning: “Everything can be taken from a man but one thing: the last of the human freedoms – to choose one’s attitude in any given set of circumstances, to choose one’s own way.”
Treat yourself like someone you really love
This means being kind to yourself. How you respond, for instance, if you make a mistake.
Although it’s mostly an inside job, this can include material things. So get that new haircut or some new clothes or treat yourself to some delicious food.
Walk tall too. Studies have shown that if we slump it can make us feel less positive about ourselves.
Exercise, including taking a walk, will release feel-good chemicals. It will also make us feel better about ourselves as we start to feel and see the physical benefits.
This will give us greater self-confidence. Health experts recommend exercising five times a week for at least 30 minutes every time.
As well, try to exercise your mind every day by such as reading something that requires concentration and thought. It will help to keep your mind in its best condition.
Be around people who want the best for you
Put another way, make sure you don’t spend your time with people who are bad influences or who criticize you. It’s much more beneficial to be with friends, family and colleagues who encourage you and show you love.
Stop comparing yourself to others
Instead just make sure you know that you are making progress to where and who you’d like to be. Keep in mind that life’s a marathon not a sprint.
Remember too that while that celebrity or those friends might seem to have it all, we never know what’s really going on in their lives.
As it’s worded on the Just For Today card that’s popular in 12 Steps recovery groups: “Just for today I will adjust myself to what is, and not try to adjust everything to my own desires. I will take my ‘luck’ as it comes, and fit myself to it.”
Accept situations and people for who they are. Accept yourself too but focus on all your qualities.
This is also from the Just For Today card and is a wonderful method for living every day: “Just for today I will be agreeable. I will look as well as I can, dress becomingly, talk low, act courteously, criticise not one bit, not find fault with anything and not try to improve or regulate anybody except myself.”
Even if you make great achievements, be humble about them. Let yourself celebrate and be happy of course, but don’t brag or rub someone up the wrong way if the achievement affects them as well.
Say sorry as soon as you can
If you make a mistake or say or do something that you realize was not kind or helpful to someone else, then say sorry as soon as you can.
Remember never to say: “I’m sorry, but…”. Just say “I’m sorry” and leave it at that – or even better ask the person if they would forgive you.
This is because sometimes saying “I’m sorry” just becomes another way of saying “Please will you put up with my poor behavior until the next time…” For some people it merely becomes an insincere get-out-of-trouble tactic with no feeling in it.
Be honest to yourself and others
Always tell the truth. We never get away with lies as they will gnaw at our insides.
As well, it’s useful to always ask: “What is my true motive here?” This is because many times a bad motive gets dressed up as a good motive.
Remember that our gut instinct can never lie to us. But sometimes our thoughts can.
Tell someone your secrets
As the recovery saying goes: “Secrets make us sick.”
Letting go of them by telling someone else can be extremely liberating. However, it must be someone you can absolutely trust – such as a therapist.
An act of kindness is bound to leave us feeling good. It’s the gift of giving.
It could be giving someone an unexpected present or donating to a charity. It will always lift our spirits.
When we give to the world we always gain.
Many people struggle to make a decision. Consequently they suffer from the pain and torment of indecision.
But other people are always making rash decisions. More often than not, they come to regret acting without careful consideration.
So the key is to not hurry everything, yet to also not get trapped in indecision. Much of these two states are to do with self-esteem and self-confidence – so these are two characteristics that need addressing.
Make time to relax
At some point in every day make sure you find half an hour to relax. Somewhere calm is best if possible.
Many people also find it useful to meditate again at the end of the day. Also to read through the gratitude list they wrote in the morning.
Or write a new one – slotting in some positive things that have happened that day.
At the end of the day it can be helpful as well to reflect on a situation where you might have acted in a different way. This is not to be harsh on yourself but to learn and grow each and every day.
Cut down or quit
Connected to being honest to yourself, is to ask if your drinking is really good for you. Likewise, if you smoke (and in fact there is no healthy level of smoking) or take drugs, including prescription drugs.
If you think you need to cut down, then cut down. If you can’t cut down, maybe you in fact need to quit.
Reach out for help
It takes great courage to ask for help.
But ask anyone in recovery who has done that and they will tell you it is the best thing they ever did.
Our team here has great experience in receiving that first call or message from someone in need or from a relative or friend of theirs. We will tell you exactly how we can help.
Then a member of our expert team is here to help our guests 24/7 while you or your loved one is with us. Of course, all treatment here is completely confidential.
We have worked with people from all walks of life, including executives, governors and those from the entertainment industry. Our therapists have decades of experience in dealing with all mental health problems.
Contact us today to find out what we can do to help you or someone you love.