Setting the Tone For a Brighter Year

The year has come to an end, and it is time for reflection. How are you feeling? Are you restless, anxious, or eager to start the new year?

While we may be feeling the emotions of a challenging year: anger, fear, loss and resentment— most of this is caused by what we see and hear on the news, social media and from talking to the people around us. No matter where we go, hearing about current events, opinions and being exposed to negativity is inevitable, and it can be a lot to take in. This makes it challenging to stay positive and maintain inner peace, in a time where this is more important than ever before.

So, how do you escape slipping into a sinkhole of negativity, depression and anxiety in the New Year— even when unfortunate and devastating circumstances happen around you?

Let’s think about what happens if we let ourselves exist in a dark space. We know that what we focus on and give our energy to, directly commands what our future will be like. As the late Wayne Dyer said, “What you think about expands”. Therefore, if we focus on adversity in this moment, we’ll also find our future selves in the same place. Our thoughts to determine our future, so let’s let them be light.

Here’s how to set the tone for a better and brighter year, regardless of the events and circumstances that may happen around us.

1. Remember: Even in the Darkest Moments, There’s Much to Be Grateful For
An easy way to move from a dark space to a positive space is to remind ourselves daily of what we’re grateful for. Even on the darkest days, there’s much to be grateful for that we take for granted each day. For example, the eyesight you have to read this blog post. Always intend to look for the light. There is positive amidst much of what we’re made to believe is negative.

2. Spend as Much Time as Possible in the Present Moment
Choosing to exist in the present moment can also eliminate many sources of our stress. When we’re in a state of fear or worry, we’re thinking about the past and future. So, let’s focus on staying in the present moment to improve our inner calm and peace.

The easiest way to teach yourself to live in the present moment is by focusing on your breath. You may also find it helpful to repeat a mantra, and spend time each day meditating to help quiet your mind, and experience “thoughtless moments”. When thoughts are suspended from moments, we become free of the heavy weight of negative thinking. Focusing on your breath can also help slow down your thoughts, which can help prevent anxiety, stress and depression.

3. Ask Yourself: How Can You Be Kind to Others Each Day?

When we’re kind to others, this positive energy we give off can also allow us to release emotional pain. When we release emotional pain, we’re capable and showing and feeling more love and gratitude. Showing love and kindness to another person also allows us to get “unstuck” from negative thought patterns. This is a beautiful recipe for happiness: let it be with you throughout the whole year.

Being kind to others could be as simple as holding the door open for the person behind you, calling a relative to say “I love you”, or smiling at a stranger on the street. Any act of kindness you choose is guaranteed to go a long way.

4. Make Conscious Choices For Your Well-Being
Let’s also focus on conscious choice making, to benefit our personal health and well-being.

If you have made a commitment to take better care of yourself this year – perhaps by exercising regularly, learning to meditate, or eating more mindfully – Ayurveda offers powerful teachings to help move beyond any resistance to changing your old patterns.  In fact, the purpose of Ayurveda, a Sanskrit word meaning “wisdom of life”, is to maximize the possibility of making choices that improve our wellness.

As you begin a brand new year, here are three timeless Ayurvedic principles you can use to move beyond resistance to the fulfillment of your goals:

  • Accept the now.

When you accept life as it unfolds, offering no resistance, you become aware of the choices available in this moment.  This doesn’t imply giving up desires or being a victim, but discovering the freedom to respond creatively.

  • Pay attention to your body’s signs.

Feel all of your body’s sensations.  While the mind lives in the past and the future, the body resides in the now and never doubts itself.  It knows the truth and will guide you towards the most evolutionary choices.

  •  Accept responsibility and commit to your well-being.

With deepened awareness, you can make new choices, let go of habits that no longer serve you, and commit to taking the next step to achieve your dreams.
In other words, “put your own oxygen mask on first”. This means help yourself first so that you may help others, and be kind to yourself so that you may be kind to others.

While negative thoughts or events can ignite fear in us, which forces us to talk more about them, we must work towards deliberately shifting our thoughts and ideas toward all the goodness and opportunity in our world—- no matter how muddy the waters may seem at times.