Happy New Year? (Focusing On Goals and Mental Health

Many of us would like to forget 2020 happened. Politics were a mess, the economy is down, and we are smack dab in the middle of a pandemic. I was sitting in a global networking group of leaders right before Christmas, and we were discussing how to move forward in business during the pandemic. There is no return to normal in the foreseeable Even though we have a vaccine, we are still going to be wearing masks and social distancing.

Depression and anxiety are still on the rise and it doesn’t look as though things are going to get better any time soon. We cannot change our environments so we need to change our mind sets to better adapt. A depressing and negative mindset, a feeling of hopelessness can drag out another year. It is important to make changes and focus on a mind reset for 2021.

We need to focus on building each other up. The news and social media have had a year of negativity that has out weighed any other year. From politics to the pandemic, people are going back and forth with their beliefs and judgments. When you are talking in a negative tone, your body gives off those negative emotions and others can sense that too. There is a saying that “misery loves company”, of course until company does not want to be miserable anymore. Eventually people don’t want to be or feel negative anymore and move on. It’s draining.

There are many things you can focus on to change your mindset. You can choose to be a leader and make others feel good. Give out more compliments, help people in need, or spend quality with friends. Schedule social time if you can, life should be a balance, and it is important to feel connections, along with positive emotions.

There is a term called “the half smile” from Dialectical Behavioral Therapy, in which you spend time turning the corners of your mouth up as if you are half smiling. It is thought that it automatically changes the brain chemistry in your brain, tricking your brain to believe that you are happy. I have clients practicing this in the mirror everyday. You can do it in the bathroom with the door locked if you feel stupid trying it. I used to practice it all the time and found myself laughing with clients.

Setting goals is a great way to have hopefulness in the future. It gives you something to look forward to. The goals do not have to be complex or complicated. It is great to have large goals like saving money, starting a family, or changing careers, but all long term goals can break down into simple things. You can save $50.00 a week, plan a wedding, or go onto media outlets and put feelers out onto websites for jobs. Small goals can give you more confidence because they are easier to achieve or attain. You can make goals to get healthy such as lose 1 lb a week, walk 10,000 steps a day, take 15 minutes a day for yourself, take 15 minutes to have face to face contact with someone you want to build a better relationship with, etc. The key is to do something everyday. You can’t make something permanent unless you make it a habit for 90 days. If you get off track, start over again and keep going.

When it comes to working a home, you can easily change your environment. It is sometimes hard working from home because your environment doesn’t change. It is up to you to change it. I work with my clients to make the workspace as pleasureable as possible. The five senses are great guidelines for quick ways to center you and ground you to your space. You can apply the theory to your personal life too. If you are feeling anxious, worried, or depressed; grab your favorite drink or snack. Enjoy a five minute break to eat or drink, or smell a scented candle. If you have a favorite scent that makes you relax, light a candle at your workspace. Fill the space with colors that make you feel good, or even pictures that evoke positive feelings. Adjusting the temperature a few degrees cooler can help you feel more alert. Music can help adjust your mood as well. If you listen to tunes quietly in the background and put on your favorite easy listening songs, it can help calm nerves.

As much as I hate to admit it, things are not changing for a long time. You will have to change your own environment and routines to feel better. I have seen and heard many times that doing “gratefulness journaling” can lift your spirits and enhance a positive attitude. It is empowering to keep a positive mindset. The better mood you are in, the more likely you will feel that you can conquer or accomplish anything. The good mood can help you keep focused on achieving goals and taking on new challenges.