6. Find and create practices to help yourself feel as good as possible.
If your goal this year is to feel calmer, more connected, less distressed and headed to a better place by 2021, try out a few of the practices below (or others you find in your research). Practice anyone that you can commit to trying for a month. Then evaluate if you feel better as a result. If so, keep doing it. If not, that’s ok too. Just try out another practice until you find the one(s) right for you:
- Wake up in a way that feels the least anxiety-provoking. For example, I am not a morning person. Now that my kids are all grown, I give myself permission to have coffee in bed an hour or two before I have to get up and ready for work. I set my alarm clock accordingly.
- Start the day with grounding and breathing exercises and repeat as needed at least two more times throughout the day. Slowing down for brief periods may actually increase your productivity. It does mine.
- Muster your courage, risk embarrassment, and share something emotional with someone who is kind-hearted. Share from an authentic place inside you. No need to fix anything. It’s amazing how talking about our feelings openly with someone who listens compassionately transforms a bad feeling into something better.
- Start a book group or peer group to talk about life.
- At the end of every day, try a soothing ritual like taking a hot bath, having hot tea while you put the kids to bed, or stretching as you listen to music (you can do this with kids and teens too).
- Start a gratitude journal (there’s research that shows it helps). All you do is write down three new things every day for which you feel grateful. Some people write them on notes and drop them in a “gratitude box.”
Also read – 5 Ways Gratitude Improves Our Mental Health
- Cook a new healthy recipe every week.
- Write for five minutes in a journal without editing or judging what you write.
- Talk to your “future self” every now and again. Make sure you are moving toward your goals. Try this gentle exercise for a “future self” experience.
- Work the Change Triangle to name and validate your emotions. The benefits are many. The Change Triangle is the go-to tool that I use personally and professionally every single day to build emotional strength and resilience.
- With a partner or on your own, read books about psychology, trauma recovery, emotions, relationships, and communication that you can implement.
- Add your own: _______________________________
A new year is an opportunity for change. Yet, change is hard—very hard. This year, I am challenging myself with a Whole 30 diet for the month of January. It’s my second time braving this very daunting practice. It means no alcohol and no putting anything in my body that isn’t 100 percent natural.
I dread the feeling of deprivation and I am excited to exert my willpower and lose a couple of pounds. I intend to lean into the sensations of deprivation and meditate on them without gratifying my desire to feel full.
I hope you will challenge yourself in 2020 so in 2021 you can look back at this year with pride that you have done even one small thing differently and better. You can do it!
A+ for trying!
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For free resources on emotions, visit hilaryjacobshendel.com
Originally appeared on: Psychology Today Republished with permission