New Year, New You

January 8, 2018

I love the New Year, not because of the parties or the chances of snow, but because it is an opportunity for a fresh start and a fresh outlook on life.  For me, January 1st brings excitement and anticipation, but for many others, it is a time of uncertainty, insecurity and possibly even outright chaos.

Recently, my pastor shared the thought that life is 10 percent of what happens to us and 90 percent of how we respond.  So while work, family, health, financial and social concerns are the majority of our life, how we react to these stressors is what’s important.

I’d like to share a few thoughts on how I try to keep a positive outlook.  I share these in hopes that you are able to use a couple of them throughout 2018, even in the midst of your stress.

Lean on your faith
The Bible says that the Lord will not give us more than we can handle.  Buddha was quoted to have said, “When you realize how perfect everything is, you will tilt your head back and laugh at the sky.” No matter what your spiritual beliefs are, remember that all things, even the bad, work together for good.

Call on your family & friends
I have been blessed with a supportive family and group of friends and couldn’t imagine life without them.  Call on your support system in your time of need, allowing them to be there for you. Chances are they want to be.  If you aren’t able to rely on your family, may I suggest seeking a therapist/counselor or even a support group?

Meditation: No chanting required
Other than faith, meditation is a staple in my coping toolbox. Taking time each day to quiet my thoughts helps me remain centered.  Find a quiet spot, close your eyes, take a few deep breaths and let your thoughts slip away. Even just a few minutes a week will lower your stress levels, and don’t worry, there is no correct way to meditate.

Look on the bright side
Every cloud has a silver lining, and while we aren’t often able to see that lining in the moment, we must have the faith to know that it’s there. This lining could be your opportunity to reevaluate your current situation, learn compassion, forgive or be forgiven.  Remember, only you have the power to change your outlook.

How can you benefit others
I found a while ago that serving others is what fills my cup.  There is just something about giving that does our hearts good.  There are many causes that you can donate your time or finances to. Just find one that speaks to you.

Let’s throw those cumbersome New Year’s resolutions out the window and resolve to be kind to ourselves.  Let’s follow the ebb and flow of this life and remember that only you can control your reactions.  My prayer for you is for peace in 2018 and beyond.