Believe it or not, 2020 is coming to a close. I don’t know about you, but this year has felt like an eternity for me for obvious reasons. I look back at last January, when Kobe Bryant tragically died in that helicopter crash, and that feels like a lifetime ago. Here we are however, looking at a fresh new year.
Traditionally, when a new year approaches we reflect on ourselves the past 12 months and it usually becomes a lot of critiquing and criticizing. Many of us are our own worst critics when it comes to this, the overflow of negativity can be overwhelming.
The main issue is how powerful our mind is, it is for the most part going non-stop as we roll through our days. There isn’t much we can do about the volume of our thinking, but we can change what we think about.
It’s time to inject positivity into 2021 after what was a tumultuous 2020.
Changing Your Mindset
I can only speak for myself, but unfortunately, as someone who has been sober over 5 years, I am not wired to be positive naturally most of the time. I realized this big time in my second year of sobriety. I had a tremendous first year, full of amazing change and exciting firsts. As I entered my second year, I was living the life I had built that first year and as it all became much more normal, I noticed negativity start to slip in my head.
It was a big realization that just because I was now sober and doing the right things, didn’t mean my mind was going to be all positive all the time. In fact, I found that I had to really start my days off right to kind of ‘plug-in’ into a positive mindset.
It helped me tremendously.
I made a morning ritual. I gave myself some extra time in the morning to get myself in a positive space before I start my day. There is something that happens overnight where no matter how great a day I had the day before, when I wake up I have this complete garbage head full of negativity.
Your ritual is just that — yours. It is up to you to create one that gets you in the right space to walk out of your door and have that positive jump start that can be vital throughout the day.
Here are some practices that helped me:
- Meditation – The first thing I do in the morning is sit on my couch in the living room and spend 5-10 minutes staying still and trying to quiet my mind. It is not easy! To main goal is to quiet the mind for as long as you can. If you are new it is so easy to get started. Remember meditation is like going to the gym, you need consistency in practice in order to get more skilled at it. It works wonders for anxiety and stress, and is a great way to charge yourself up for the day.
- Visualization – Where do you want to see yourself in 5 years? What’s your dream scenario? There is a picture that pops up when I ask that question. Every morning just let that picture enter your mind for at least a few seconds. There is a mysterious power behind visualization, science has even studied it.
- Journaling – There is a ton of power in pen to paper. Some mornings I will sit down with a pen and just write whatever I’m inspired to write. Often times I get inspired from my meditation. Sometimes I write down some positive affirmations, other times I’ll write down what I want to get done that day. It always varies but always solidifies that I am going to have at least a pretty decent day!
Take Care of Yourself!
If you are new in recovery or have just found yourself in a major funk recently. Take a look at what you do for yourself. How do you treat yourself? That can mean many different things to each individual. Regardless, very often we can get lost in the mess that is going on in our own minds that we never reflect on how we treat ourselves.
A great place to start is looking at things like sleep, diet, exercise, and water intake. The way we nourish our body can have a major effect on our mental state. Once I hit about 25 years old I realized anytime I ate fast food I felt awful nearly right after. What a blow that realization was. When I am eating right and exercising daily I feel at my best. I’m not talking hitting the gym for 2 hours a day, go for a walk, ride a bike, just get moving a little bit every day.
Besides that, look back into what has always made you simply feel good. Old hobbies, a TV series you have meant to watch, finding a new book or video game. We are obviously limited because of Covid but it is powerful enough to get still and ask yourself, ‘How can I treat myself today?’.
Show Gratitude To Others
Random acts of kindness have a lot of power behind them. Many of them are very easy to accomplish and do not take a lot of time. Something that has always been very fulfilling to me is reaching out to a close friend or family member and just let them know that I am grateful for our friendship/relationship.
Every time I do it, it’s a great experience. The conversations always go all types of different directions but at the end of it it’s obvious that both involved parties’ day has gotten better. Think about how easy it is to reach out to someone and let them know what they mean to you spontaneously. Isn’t it a shame we don’t do it to each other more often?
Positivity all starts right up between your ears in your mind. For most of us in recovery, we aren’t wired to naturally be positive. You have the power to choose and make each and every day a positive one, at least from the start. Pro-actively change up your morning routine and find the areas where you can take better care of yourself.