(1) Be Present. Be Exactly Where You Are. We spend much of our time with our minds somewhere else. Recognize when you are ruminating about the past or worrying about the future. Anchor yourself in the now. You can do this by simply focusing on your breath for a few minutes or on your body. You may start to realize that where you are is exactly where you should be, which is actually a very pleasant and peaceful place to be!
(2) Accept the Uncertainty of Life. Much of our stress and anxiety comes from trying to control our lives and our future. However, we cannot change the often unpredictable path that our lives take. The only thing we can do is accept it fully and recognize that no matter how hard we try to control it, life just happens. Once we accept the uncertainty of life, we can start to get unstuck from the "if only ‘s" or the waiting game or the endless attempts to micromanage what we cannot control. Instead of fighting against what is, or wishing things were different, or making our happiness dependent upon someone or something, we can lean into what is, learn from it, accept it, embrace it and venture onward.
(3) Believe in Yourself. The number one stumbling block we face is self-doubt and a lack of confidence in our own abilities. Everyone has a wealth of inner strengths, but we must first recognize them in ourselves before we can share them with others. Take a little time at the start of this New Year and simply recognize that you already have all that you will ever need to succeed, you just have to believe it.
(4) Be Kind to Yourself. You as much as anyone else, deserve your own kindness. Embrace and love your perfectly imperfect self.
(5) Be Kind to Others. We never really know what is going on in other people’s lives. The best we can do is give others the benefit of the doubt and offer them kindness. We are all doing the best that we can. One quote that I think of often is, “Be kind to unkind people. They need it the most.” Or, as the Dalai Lama says, “Be kind whenever possible. It is always possible.”
(6) Take Care of Yourself. Your health and wellbeing is most important. Don’t put yourself at the end of a long list of people to take care of and of things to do. If you don’t take care of yourself, you cannot take care of others. So, always put your own oxygen mask on first, and then you will be all set to help others with theirs.
(7) Breathe Deeply. Nothing works better to relax your mind and your body, and ground you in the present moment, than a long, slow, deep breath. Think about the fact that your body’s natural instinct when you are overwhelmed or stressed is to sigh. That happens for a reason. It helps you slow down your body and your mind so you can reset and move forward with a greater sense of calm and thoughtfulness. When feeling stressed or anxious, try taking a deep inhale through your nose for 5 counts, then sigh deeply and slowly, loudly exhaling for a count of 8. Repeat this for three minutes and notice both your body and your mind slowing down and relaxing.
(8) Don't Take Yourself Too Seriously. Sometimes we get so caught up in what we are doing, or in the decisions we are making, that we lose perspective of how unimportant what we are currently dealing with actually is in the broader scheme of life. We get so buried in the minutia of daily life, that it helps to take a giant step back and look at the bigger picture, evaluate what is really important and what our goals actually are. Another favorite quote, "Don't take yourself too seriously. No one else does."
(9) Let Go. Get rid of that excess baggage. Regret, anger, resentment, the “if only’s” of life, or the “I will be happy when. . .,“ these are heavy and exhausting to carry around. Start your New Year out a lot lighter and let those go. Forgive yourself, forgive others, live in the now, accept what is, and you will greatly lighten your load in 2016.
(10) Laugh Often! Nothing quite compares to getting caught in deep, uncontrollable laughter, the kind where you try to stop laughing but you just can't, the kind that emanates from deep in your belly then takes over your entire body and finally seeps out through streams of tears gently moistening your face. They say that laughter is the best medicine, and this is true in fact. Researchers have proven that laughter can lower stress, improve blood flow and keep your heart healthy. So, try to find more opportunities to laugh in 2016. That's a prescription for happiness in the year to come.