This Christmas, give yourself the gift of mental peace
2021 was a year we all expected to be better than 2020. We had high hopes of life going back to normal, but instead we had no choice other than to adapt to a new normal: Zoom became our new classroom and office, facemasks turned into an extra part of our outfit that had to match, and new COVID variants seem to be appearing every few months. For some, 2021 turned out to be quite a decent year. This was the year they finally started that project they were thinking of, accomplished that goal they had been working towards, or simply improved in some aspect.
However, for many of us, 2021 turned out to be another particular year with its ups and downs. There were times when we felt on top of the world, and times when, frankly, the world felt on top of us, squishing hope and happiness out of us. It’s as if we were learning how to live again, adapting to new social customs. To be honest, having new year's just a few days away ignites some sort of hope that next year will be the one where things turn out the way you want.
The problem is this: be it 2022 or 2050, things are not going to get better until something in particular changes, and that is the approach you take on life.
Finding a new way to approach adversities and new events in your life can drastically change the outcomes of those events. This new approach can also give you more mental peace (something that seems to be in short supply these days). Here are some examples of mindset shifts that can help make the grass a little greener.
This is one we might hear too often, but there’s a reason for it. Be grateful for your life. You’ve had experiences, some great and some not so great, that have shaped you into the person you are today. There are people in your life that love you and support you, even if they might not be so vocal about their love. You have been able to learn from every interaction you’ve had, every person who has come into your life, every goal you have accomplished and also every mistake you have committed.
Being thankful not only makes you feel good, it also helps you value the things you have in your life much more. I’ve made a habit where every night I think about the things that I am thankful for from that particular day. It helps me focus on the positive aspects of life, but more importantly, it helps me realize how much I’ve progressed and grown. By remembering what I did throughout the day, I can notice how much closer I am to accomplishing the goals I’ve set myself.
Ideally, gratitude should be an ongoing habit; it should help to create a feeling of satisfaction towards our life, and maybe it can even help you to not go so hard on yourself. Every so often we might feel sad if we haven’t bought the newest gadgets or reached a particular milestone, but gratitude can help us cherish the things that we do have.
This might be a tough one to swallow, but holding grudges does not do you any good. On a best-case scenario, you are left with an unusual feeling towards someone every time you see them. On a worst-case scenario, holding grudges can bring out the worst in you. They can leave you in a constant feeling of anger or despair, trying to plan some kind of revenge that might make things worse.
When I say forgiveness, I do not mean you have to literally forgive everything everyone has ever done to you. You can instead just let it go, let it leave your system, not think about it anymore and move on. I just saw an Instagram post that said it best:
What happened, has happened. Free your mind from in. It’s a new moment to enter a new state. Move forwards towards your greatness. You have so much potential.
Remember that the energy in your mind is limited. You have so many thoughts available in a day before you start to feel drained. Don’t waste that energy on things or events that do not add anything meaningful to your life. Thinking about past events will not change them, but focusing on where you are now and what you can accomplish in the future can have a positive impact in your life.
The #HustleCulture has gained strength in the past few years. Nowadays there are numerous ways for you to start a business, become an influencer, grow rich, etc. These all sound like exciting ventures, but for this article I want to keep it simpler: set goals.
Figure out what is that one thing that would make you feel realized, that will make you happy and satisfied with life, and then start working towards it. Whether it is to reach a certain position in your career, accumulate x number of figures in your bank account, travel all around the world or pretty much anything that makes you feel fulfilled. Figure out what it is and set it as your goal.
After you’ve set your goal, develop a realistic plan to achieve it. What do you have to accomplish every single day to reach your goal by year 2? What milestones have you set in your path to those goals that will help you make sure you’re on track? For example, my goal is to publish at least 1 thought-provoking, helpful article per week. To reach that goal, I spend a lot of time reading about topics that interest me to find one central idea I can write about, and then I look for ways I can take that central idea and turn it into a structured narrative (at least that’s what I try, let me know in the comments if you have any tips on how I can improve). Set your own similar plan with a detailed course of action to follow; it will help you focus your mind more on what you want to accomplish and less on mind cluttering thoughts.
However, there’s an asterisk to this idea, something to keep in mind when you’re working: do not let the path ahead of you make you forget about the path you’ve accomplished. Often times we concentrate too much on what we can improve, what more we can accomplish, what extra things we can create. This leads us to forget about the accomplishments we have already achieved and the things we have done right. You can use the path ahead of you as motivation, it definitely helps, but also take some time to feel proud of the things you have already realized. Looking back to see how much you’ve grown also helps as motivation, since it shows that you’ve tackled problems before, and therefore you can tackle even more.
I went into this in more detail in my previous article:
If you are feeling sad or anxious, try finding out why the sky is blue.
A simple and calming technique from our younger selves.
Becoming aware of the things around you helps your mind rest for a while. It can provide clarity, calm and help you focus better. Becoming aware of our troubling thoughts and the emotions that accompany them can help us to better understand our mind. Over time, this practice can improve your overall state of mind, bringing you relaxation and keeping your emotions in check.
These are all changes that might feel somewhat difficult to implement at first. However, once you get the hang of it, they can bring your mind into a sense of peace and focus, aimed at valuing the good things in life and the better things to come. I hope this article has helped you and inspired you to grow and aim to become the better version of yourself. This has been my end-of-year reflection while I wait for my Christmas Eve meal to be ready, so I guess it’s time for me to end it here. I wish you and your loved ones an oh-so-wonderful Christmas, happy New Years, may you be happy and I hope 2022 turns out to be that year full of thrilling adventures and glorious days we’ve all been waiting for.