The craziness of December is finally coming to an end and now we embark upon the hope of a new year. I have been stealing quiet moments over the past week to reflect upon the challenges of the past year and the lessons I have learned from them. I always savor this last week of the year because I seem to find more time than usual to open my mind to new possibilities and small revelations. I am also able to take advantage of my holiday gifts, which almost always revolve around comfort; new soft blankets on the couch, fluffy slippers on my feet, a silk sleep mask and heated massage cushions for my back. I meditate more often and regain the clarity of a still mind.
But the true challenge of the New Year is figuring out how tranquility can actually become something enjoyed all year, as opposed to just during vacations. I have been paying close attention this week to something known as “self-talk.” It is all the judgement that you pass on yourself every moment of the day. Much of it has become automatic, so you don’t even realize the negativity you put on yourself until you take a step back and become aware of these patterns in everyday thinking. I found myself erecting barriers that don’t exist outside of my own mind which have made it harder for me to simply live a life of reduced stress and challenge.
What I am realizing quickly is that there is much catastrophizing going on in my head in regards to future events to come. This shouldn’t be much of a shock to me, as this is essentially the definition of anxiety. And what’s furthermore even less shocking is the realization that it’s always worse in my own head than what actually happens in real life. I have survived many difficult times in my own life that I never could have even dreamed of. This small revelation is one that should be taught as early as preschool and repeatedly reinforced; you can’t control everything so stop trying. And beyond that, you are much stronger than you give yourself credit for; you will handle what’s coming.
I have heard over the last few months that this blog resonates with people; especially those who understand the struggle of anxiety. If I have made one life better by putting into words that fight, then I have succeeded. The continuum of angst is a long one and there are people on all parts of that spectrum from “not easily bothered” to “living in constant panic.” But I truly believe that all of us can benefit from listening to the voices in our own heads; they have become automatic and you might be surprised at what you find when you truly listen. My quest is for what our culture has deemed impossible, constant peace. But I continue, because I believe it exists as other cultures have found it. Cheers to the New Year and everyone finding their own version of peace in 2018.