“No matter how hard the past, you can always begin again.” – Buddha
I seem to spend an inordinate amount of time looking for ‘mental fixes’ and sure-fire actions to make life happier, smoother and more peaceful. However, no matter how hard I try I have not yet succeeded (and never really expected to if I am realistic – can’t help trying though!) in finding a specific formula tailored to dealing with the mad lives we lead on this truly insane planet. I have found simple ideas though that have helped me navigate life a little more easily. I may not have all the answers and I am learning all the time, but I am sure going to keep on trying to find better ways to live and share them with my readers. (You are welcome to share your tips with me too).
So, I have put together a list of good advice that I have come across over the years to consider as you go forth into another New Year. I wish you love, warmth, understanding and kindness…
Good advice and tips for a happier New Year
Kick fear into touch
Fear is a mindset and the more you avoid, the more fear will stay with you as an ever-present shadow in your life. Shrug off the fearful thoughts and do it anyway. Fear stops us from living a full life. It limits us and restricts opportunities. Don’t let fear control your life. Be cautiously optimistic and go forth in your endeavors.
Don’t be afraid to fail
All too often when we fail, we take a global attitude and assume we are failures. That’s a big inaccurate leap from doing something that didn’t work to believing that we, as people, are inadequate. Where’s the evidence that just because something didn’t work you that you aren’t enough?
Surely there are times when you did something well? If you can think of just one thing you have done well in life, you have negated that thought that you are a failure. Evidence to the contrary proves it isn’t true. Don’t fear failure, fear doing nothing at all – that is far worse. Now get out there and fail – it teaches you stuff and helps you understand your strengths! See failure as proof that you have courage to try new things. If you do, you will be in the top 10% of the population who don’t just talk about it – they get up and give it a go.
Live in the moment
By all means have long-term goals but then avert your attention and focus back on today. Be fully present in your life and don’t check out of life and live for a future that hasn’t arrived yet.
Give up comparing your life to others
We are all here to accomplish different things at different times. Success is not linear and success isn’t necessarily financial stability or a full social calendar either. The more you are true to yourself, the less you will worry about what others are doing. You might rejoice in their successes but you won’t use it as a competition or as a reinforcer that you are failing.
When you are in your mind caught up in your worries, you are in ‘enemy territory’. I like that saying as I have found personally, and in my professional work, that people can be very hard on themselves and tend to default to negative, self-critical thinking. Use your thinking time to find solutions and make action plans. The key is to problem-solve instead of worrying. The moment you find you are ruminating over the same topic without much progress it is time to distract yourself and do something else.
Maintain balance in your life
It is hard in modern times to find time to pamper ourselves and when we do, we tend to invariably feel overwhelmed with guilt. Part of honouring and loving ourselves is accepting that we deserve love and care and that we owe it to ourselves to spoil ourselves – take a holiday (when that is possible or at least plan or a future event in order to have something to look forward to), go for a massage…everything should have its place and a clear even balance between work and play must be followed if you want to function optimally in life. Get used to rejecting guilt – a wasted emotion that you can choose to ignore.
Choose your thoughts about the world wisely
What you want to believe or choose to believe will shape your world so it is vitally important to analyse and carefully craft what you wish to believe about yourself, the world and other people. Believe negative thoughts and “confirmation bias” will automatically show you examples in life of your negative thinking. Be open-minded, not naive. Trust in good. You will be happier for it. Never give up hope and faith and positive perceptions even in the face of the opposite. I am not saying that you should accept all the awful things that happen in the world but don’t let them define you or wear you down. When we focus too much on all the negativity we can become bitter and twisted. I counteract the negative events I come across by being more aware of what I think about them and regularly give to charities and try to do my little bit to counteract suffering. We all have our own personal ways of dealing with things that upset us but never let them win and overwhelm you into seeing the whole world as bad and negative – all that will do is make you sad and angry and helpless.
Have more fun and laugh more
When life returns to normal, be adventurous, be daring, and learn to try new things regularly. How else will you learn about your strengths and weaknesses? Get out of your comfort zone and meet others, try things you feel scared of. This is the best way to conquer fear and gain confidence and you will be able to look back on your life with fewer regrets and “what ifs”. Life doesn’t have to be that serious…
It’s easy to imagine the worst-case scenario but that doesn’t mean your worst fears will come to pass. Realise that your thoughts are made up of fear and insecurity – not fact. We have experienced a bad year and there must be some good that comes from that. Give yourself a pat on the back for finding the coping skills to cope somehow. A new year could be the start of renewal and exciting new opportunities. Sometimes we need to go through negative experiences to feel more appreciative if when life is good or at least, improves.
The above suggestions are just a few ideas. Please leave comments if you would like to add any of your own ideas that have helped you get through life. Don’t let the mean people grind you down, just feel sorry for them. Try not to take things personally and be wary of making assumptions – they are usually based on our thoughts and NOT on any evidence. We really can create our own personal heaven or hell by the thoughts we wish to ‘feed’ ourselves with.
Be kind to yourself and others
There is enough hatred and misery in this world without adding to it. Make it your mission to treat yourself with respect and to give yourself a break if you make a mistake. No more self-criticism. Instead, accept that you are human like the rest of us.
Be kind to others too – it feels good. If we all made a small gesture to others and went beyond the minimum of what we have to do, imagine that happening and sweeping through the world…Wow -what a difference it would make and what a nicer world we would live in.
HAPPY NEW YEAR… after 2020 and 2021 the only way is up. I am looking forward to sharing it with you!!
Photo by Bart LaRue on Unsplash