At the end of the year, most people take a look back over the last year and assess their satisfaction or lack of it. Understanding what you dislike is a first step in discovering what you do want and how to achieve it. Many people might count their grievances at the end of the year, but instead of stewing in dissatisfaction, it is a good time to propel yourself into action and change in the New Year.
Here are some tips to increase life satisfaction in the coming year:
• Let it out. A study on negative life events showed that people who wrote out what was bothering them or who talked things out with someone showed an improvement in mental health and life satisfaction. So when something is bothering you, don’t keep it locked up inside. A problem can often feel less intense when burdens are shared. Release all your negative feelings and thoughts in a journal. Talk to a trusted friend, a spiritual leader, a therapist, or join an online community that focuses on helping others get through personal and emotional difficulties. There is always help out there.
• Develop an attitude of gratitude. It appears to be human nature to focus on the negative - just turn on the TV to the latest news reports. Instead of focusing on everything that is going wrong in your life however, why not focus on what’s going right? On the one hand, you may not have a great deal of money in your bank account, or your ideal partner or body. Take stock of what you have: Two eyes to read this. A heart that beats. A sunset. Friends. A car. A home. Even if you must dig deep, find all the things that you have to be appreciative of, no matter how minor they may seem.
• Find your reason for being. Whether it’s a hobby, raising your children, training/fostering animals until they’re adoptable, creating art or music, or volunteering, find something that adds meaning to your life. This sense of passion will make you feel renewed, and help you realize how special and important you really are. Not to mention the fact that you will be making a positive impact on someone’s life.
• Read inspirational books. There’s nothing more inspiring than reading about people who have gone through similar experiences and still managed to come out on top. It gives you hope and a reason to keep trying. Examples of some good inspirational books include Viktor Frankl’s “Man’s Search For Meaning”, Stephen Covey’s “7 Habits of Highly Effective People”, Louise Hay’s “You Can Heal Your Life”, Herman Hesse’s “Siddhartha”, and Barbara Delinksky’s “Uplift: Secrets from the Sisterhood of Breast Cancer Survivors”, to name just a few.
• Set goals. Even if it’s cleaning out the garage and having a garage sale, a goal sets your focus on something to achieve. It gives your life a sense of purpose. Nothing can be more draining than being in an unproductive rut. Set some firm goals that are challenging but achievable, and chances are that you’ll feel motivated to keep going. At the least, it will keep your mind off of what isn’t going well in your life.
• Remember, your moment of power is now. The past is done. The future is yet to be determined. Keeping your mind and energy focused on regrets from the past or on fear of what may come leaves you feeling powerless. All that matters is now. This is where all your power is. You have control over this instant right now. You can decide whether you will spend it worrying and fretting or spend it actually living.
Ultimate peace and satisfaction is about a loving relationship with God, yourself, others and life.
If you want to restore or improve relationships or improve your outlook, give Nancy Guenzler a call at 815-757-9724. She’s a Licensed Professional Counselor and can help you find a positive direction in your life.