As 2020 finally came to an end, many will say that it was the most stressful year they can remember:
- a pandemic
- economic collapse
- sickness, death and fear
- stress with virtual school
- isolation from families and friends
- a political election.
For many of you, that stress was on top of the stress you were already experiencing: managing a chronic condition or disability, for yourself or a loved one, day after day.
At the end of one year and the beginning of another, it’s an opportunity to turn the page and move forward in a more positive direction. But how?
Change Your Perspective
Did you know that stressed spelled backwards is desserts? One word has a negative connotation, the other good. A 180-degree difference. So, what is the lesson here? Looking at something from a different angle or perspective could completely change the way you feel or think about something. So, how do you turn the page from the stress of 2020?
There is no one right answer for anyone. Circumstances, priorities, and values are different for each person reading this blog today. The following are suggestions and tips on how to change your perspective on your current circumstances. As you read through, which one stands out as a possibility for you?
Treat Yourself Like a Friend
We tend to show more compassion to others than ourselves. If a friend were going through the same thing you are experiencing, what advice would you give them? Maybe you would tell them to not be so hard on themselves. To ask for help. Or to make time to care for themselves. Maybe you would compliment how strong they have been in difficult circumstance. Or generous and giving. If you treated yourself like a friend, what compassion could you show yourself today?
Practice Mental Agility
This is the ability to see adversity in a “big picture” kind of way. It is natural when we are scared to think about the worse-case scenario. Once that thought is in our heads, it’s hard to ignore. But worse-case scenarios can create fear that paralyzes us from moving forward or making decisions. A strategy to combat major negative thinking is to write down or talk about the worse-case scenario. Next, think of what the best-case scenario might be. Then, consider where the middle might be between those two scenarios. Thinking of alternatives to the worse-case scenario may help us deal with stress better. And we may find that our emotions are out of proportion to what’s actually happening.
Look at the Same Situation Differently
Is EVERYTHING wrong in your life? You may, in fact, be able to create a list of the many things that are going in the wrong direction. But is ANYTHING going alright? Can you make a list, even if it’s a small list, of those things that have or are going right in your life? Intentionally look for the things that are going well, no matter how small, can change your perspective.
Or, have you experienced adversity in the past and overcome it? If yes, what strengths, abilities, or strategies did you use in the past that helped you succeed? Can you draw on those same strengths now to handle difficult circumstances?
Think Positive Thoughts
Identify negative thoughts that hold you back. These negative thoughts are also called limiting beliefs – they limit what you believe you can achieve or do. Examples of limiting beliefs include:
I am a failure.
I can’t do this.
I’ve never been able to (fill in the blank).
I deserve this.
If you are swirling in negative thoughts, what new thoughts can you come up with instead that focus on something positive?
2020 was a stressful year in so many ways. But 2021 can take a different direction. Remember, stressed spelled backwards is desserts. You can try to look at your current circumstances differently. These strategies will take time and practice to create the change you are looking for. But you can do this.
If you need help getting started on a better path, contact me and let’s talk.
Disclaimer: This blog is a resource through which you may obtain information regarding your health and wellness. Information is intended for the general reader and is not a substitute for medical advice. The content in this blog is intended to be informational only and not interpreted as specific advice for you. There may be delays, omissions, or inaccuracies in information contained in this blog. You should always consult with a licensed healthcare professional who is familiar with your health and past medical history before making any changes you may read about in this blog.