Here’s a New Year’s challenge for the mind: Make this the year that you quiet all those negative thoughts swirling around your brain, because constant negativity can also get in the way of happiness, add to our stress and worry level and ultimately damage our health. Be aware of who you allow into your inner circle because the truth is, some folks are more prone to negative thinking than others and being around negative people and their pessimistic outlook can drag down your mood making you feel sullen and cynical.
We all have an inner critic and at times this little voice can actually be helpful and keep us motivated toward reaching our goals, but it can also be more harmful than helpful, particularly when we find ourselves spiraling and unable to stop. By acknowledging your negative cycle and accepting it, you are on your way to taming your negative thoughts. For example, learn to notice when you’re being self-critical so you can begin to stop. Or try shifting your perspective: sometimes looking at things in the long term can help you to realize that you may be placing too great an emphasis on something. For example, you may ask yourself if something you’re upset by will really matter in five years or even one. And when it comes to relationships, the sad truth is most people don’t recognize just how toxic excessive negativity has impacted their relationships until it is often too late to repair the damage.
Another New Year’s challenge is to allow yourself to be open to attracting positive and authentic connections with people. We all need each other to be our sounding board, our shoulders to help us carry the load, to help us get and remain grounded when a storm comes through, and more. The saying “it takes a village” does not apply to just children — we all need a village or tribe to help us find our way through this world. The folks who claim to be overly strong among us will try to do it alone, and you are welcome to try to be the exception, but life is more fun and fulfilling with friends, so why fight it?
We live in an age of both under- and over- connectedness. Oftentimes folks get caught up with the business of living their own lives, and it might be harder to maintain some relationships in person. This is when you gotta get creative and learn to meet people where they are. One way to help build upon your relationships and strengthen your communication is sometimes through virtual platforms, active listening and reaching out to your friends.
Humans are social creatures that are wired to connect, and remember relationships are connections between two or more people that involve emotional or physical intimacy, whether it is with family, friends, romantic or professional partnerships. Too many of us, especially entrepreneurs and those of us who spend a lot of time in front of our computers, spend most of the time talking to people via email, Facebook, Zoom, or other outlets, and we often forget to acknowledge that we are not spending as much time building face to face connections with folks.
But we can’t overlook the fact that meeting, talking and socializing with folks in person provides a sense of intimacy, connection and empathy that is sometimes difficult to replicate online.
There are a few ways to find your tribe. The most organic way is to live your best life and let the people come to you. What are you passionate about? Find things to do that feed that passion. If you love books, go to author talks or signing or discussions. If you love art, go to museums, art walks, and talks. If you love food, go on a food tour or to a wine dinner or a tasting. Find the place where people gather to do the things you love and go there and join in!
The thing that I hope you take away from this is to never lose sight of the fact that Life trips everyone up at times, and the Universe often has an interesting sense of humor! Whenever life adds what I call a “plot twist” you need folks around you who you trust to remind you that everything is going to work out and that they got your back! Just remember to breathe, tap into that inner strength and resilience that lives inside us all, stay positive and always pour back into your community what gets poured into you!