It's resolution season, and we all probably want 2023 to be an improvement on 2022. But what if instead of just looking for an improvement we were looking to make 2023 our most positive year yet? Wouldn’t that be something after the past few years?
What are some small steps you can take each day or week to help you move into that place of positivity? Here are some things that help me. I’d love to hear your tips, so please comment below!
Staying grounded in your body helps reduce anxiety. Sometimes, when I feel anxious, I find that I’ve been holding my breath. When I start breathing deeply, I’m better able to regulate my emotions and work towards a more positive attitude.
Breathing is very grounding – centering and relaxing you in order to calm any situation. Even spending a minute to take a few deep breaths can make a big difference. I’ve also noticed that when my children are upset and I hug them and breathe very slowly and deliberately, they’ll start following my breath, which helps calm them.
2. Try to stay present.
The cold weather and holidays mean you've probably been spending a lot of time at home. And when you’re home, it feels like countless things need to get done. But I always feel more positive when I choose moments to really be "present" with my kids, when I remember that I’m there with them, playing with Legos, eating a sandwich, picking up leaves. As one KB Mom reminds herself, “I am here too.”
Sometimes, my kids are happily entertained with the routine I’ve set up for them, but choosing to get on the floor, play with them, and be interested in what delights them keeps me in the moment. Joining in on the fun, even for a few minutes, can shift my mood.
3. State what you’re grateful for each day.
Actively practicing gratitude – especially when you would just love to focus on the negative – is incredibly helpful. You can try journaling daily, writing down things you’re grateful for and also things that went well that day; this can remind you that even if the day was tough, you got some things right. If journaling feeds you, you can also find daily affirmations or positive quotes to write about.
Try making a joy jar: write one thing each day that you’re grateful for on a slip of paper and put it in a jar; at the start of the next year, review the contents of your jar. You could also ask a friend to be your gratitude accountability partner. Each morning, text each other the thing you’re most grateful for that day; you don’t even need to reply. Figuring out one thing you’re grateful for sets the tone for the day.
4. Go outside and get active.
Being in nature always seems to refresh the soul. Going outside for even 10-15 minutes can make a huge difference. A walk, run, or hike can pick you up almost immediately.
But you don’t have to be exercising – you don’t even have to have a destination. Just being outside on the sidewalk or a patch of green and seeing the sky can help reset your day. Breathing in the fresh air – and taking a break from your home and your phone – can interrupt negative thoughts and lift spirits.
5. Monitor how you’re spending your time.
What we consume frames our outlook. Although some things are out of our control, we have the power to change certain circumstances. If something is bringing you down, change it. If the news is making you anxious, limit the amount of time you watch or read it. If social media makes you feel bad, quit it, regularly schedule 30-day breaks, or actively limit who and what you see.
Ask yourself if what you’re consuming is having a positive effect on your life. If it’s not, give yourself permission to quit it or take a hiatus. I always feel calmer, freer, and more positive when I limit myself in news and social media.
I know after the past few years, many of us are eager to return to some semblance of “normal.” For me, I don’t really want to go back to normal – or how life was before the pandemic. I want to knit a new way of life, of being, that is both personally and collectively restorative – and that starts with nurturing more positivity in my life!