There isn’t any one who didn’t experience pain, challenge and suffering in 2020. In fact, the pandemic, the BLM movement, the unnerving political chaos and even the “Social Dilemma” has brought to light stark inequalities in people’s situations.
While for some, lockdown might have been a welcome opportunity to slow down and take stock, for many it has been a stressful and frightening experience.
That said, it has also created a massive opportunity for all of us to improve our mental, emotional, physical and spiritual health in 2021, so you can reset, have a fresh start, and recreate the life you’ve always wanted.
Here are 3 powerful strategies to ignite your life and get you started:
1. We can choose to suffer or grow. The choice is yours.
For a moment, set aside the longing for mass vaccinations or some other quick fix solution to make your life feel normal again.
Instead, focus on what it is that you learned in 2020 about yourself, what is important to you, and what 2020 illuminated for you about where you might be stuck, or what it is you need to learn. When you write out these lists and circle the themes or patterns you notice within them, it will change the lens of your focus and shed a light on how you can grow from the experience.
Ultimately, 2020 just might be exactly what you needed to see what it is you have previously been unwilling or unable to identify. This will enable you to LEAP rather than crawl to your 2021 goals.
And, when you have the perspective that life is happening for you, rather than to you, you are empowered to choose thoughts, habits, and behaviors that support your vision, allowing you to achieve your goals in a way that feels in flow (vs. just putting your head down and trying to power through).
2. Find your center and connect to it consistently to find inner peace.
Everything that happens in your life can potentially be a stressor, especially when things are unpredictable knowing that change can make you feel out of control and overwhelmed.
When this happens, the inner critic in your head can then issue forth a litany of “should” and shaming messages. In order to manage the resultant chronic stress, set the intention to learn how to find your place of inner calm and balance.
According to research at the Center for Healthy Minds, scientists have proven the effectiveness of training your mind to buffer against the negative effects that acute stress has on behavior and cognitive abilities.
Things like breath awareness, loving-kindness meditations, gratitude practices and focused memory/attention conditions are shown to create resiliency and can return you to a state of inner peace.
Learning specific strategies to find your center and then creating a consistent practice in which you build these habits can enable you to naturally learn how to live from a place of peace, calm and joy regardless of external circumstances.
3. Create a Community to Give and Receive Support
The latest research shows that a strong social support network is essential to help you through the stress of challenging experiences that occur in your life. And, a lack of social support can lead to isolation, anxiety and loneliness.
With a decrease in our ability to access social relationships, 2020 has been a challenging year in terms of social isolation and loneliness.
For your reset, create a new focus on finding emotionally supportive relationships. With fewer opportunities to get out and socialize, it’s important that you devote more time and attention to cultivating stronger relationships that feel closer to home.
Create a new community to increase your sense of safety, security and well-being. Practice being vulnerable in the community to create true connection. In addition, participating in a community can also provide opportunities to give support which will diminish those feelings of isolation.
Remember, true emotional support and intimacy is not the same as texting all day or scrolling for hours on apps or on your social media accounts. Instead, create a hub of support around you so that you have a psychological and emotional place where you feel safe, seen and valued for who you are.
Each of one of these strategies requires making a conscious choice and taking personal responsibility for what your heart is longing for. And most often, requires a committed inner journey.
When you realize that there is possibility in every single moment of life, even those that are most painful, you will wake up one year from now to realize you have been working to create a life of meaning beyond your wildest dreams that will serve your heart’s desire long after the pandemic has become a moment in history.