It’s fair to say that 2020 has been an extraordinary year and like no other. There were days when it felt like it would never come to an end, but somehow we made it. I think it’s safe to say that most of us are ready to put last year behind us and look ahead to the future.
A new year provides us with the opportunity to reflect on the year gone by and what we’ve been through. We tend to approach a new year with optimism and excitement for the possibilities that lie ahead and 2021 should be no different. But after the year we just had, you might be wondering how to feel hopeful about the future again.
Here are a few examples of how to train your brain to see the glass half full:
- It’s all about your mindset. Challenge yourself to shift your perspective to a more positive one. For example, when reflecting on the past year, if you find yourself only focusing on the negativity, see if you can find one good thing that has come out of it. Maybe being forced to work from home means you haven’t had to make that 2 hour work commute each day. Positive thinking is like a muscle that needs to be exercised. The more we do it, the stronger it gets and the easier it becomes to see the good in life.
- Keep a gratitude journal. A simple exercise to increase positive thinking is to journal a few minutes each day. At the end of your day, write down one or two things that you experienced or witnessed during the day that filled you with gratitude or a feeling of thankfulness. It can be something simple like enjoying your morning tea or a text message from a friend. This allows you to keep life in perspective and cultivate a positive mindset.
- Find a role model. If you want to become more optimistic, find yourself a positive role model. It can be a colleague, friend or celebrity. Read books and listen to podcasts about positivity. Whenever you feel bogged down by negative thoughts think about what your role model might do or say and then practice it.
These are three simple ways that will help to create the best new year possible. A year that is filled with more hope, light and joy. Yes, 2020 was a challenging year and it’s important to acknowledge the parts that were hard but it’s also important to feel hopeful about the future and to be intentional in our lives. Hope is a healer that allows us to see the many positive possibilities ahead of us. And after a year that felt anything but hopeful, we could all use a little more happiness and optimism in our lives.
Christine Holmberg, LMFT