Guarding Your Thoughts

The New Year is a time for numerous resolutions like losing weight, getting fit, or changing jobs.  However, it can be also a time of year where anxiety and depression can be exacerbated.  The bright lights and music from the Holidays have passed, the visitors are gone and credit card bills start arriving.  In addition, this January has had very little sunlight which does not help our mood. 

One thing that has helped me cope is to guard my thoughts.  It is easy to go to the negative when we are feeling low.  Don’t let your thoughts define your situation.  Here are a few tips to guard negative thoughts.

  1.  Be mindful of what you are absorbing through media – television, news, twitter, Facebook or Instagram.  It is rare that we hear about “good” news on the news channel.    It is not a good way to start you day when the first thing you expose yourself to is the news which may be filled with stories of murders, car crashes, robberies, natural disasters and war.  I would love to see a news station that features only “good news”.  As for social media, it is easy to become doubtful or even jealous when you see pictures of people’s tropical vacations or cruises.  Remember, we don’t know what else is going on the lives of these vacationers.  They could have battled a serious illness, suffered the loss a loved one, or be recovering from an abusive relationship.  Things are not always how they may appear on the outside.
  • Associate with positive people.  Negative people can suck your energy and may influence your thinking.  Set parameters if there are negative people in your life that you need to interact with. For example, if a phone conversation turns negative, find a reason to get off the phone.  It is ok to say “no” even if it is a family member or close friend.  We are all responsible for out own stuff and we can really sink our own boat if we take on everyone else’s stuff.  It is one thing to be kind and caring when someone is going through a tough time.    However, if they continuously dump on you, it can be toxic to your own mental health.
  • Avoid the gossip chain.  Judging others does not make you a better person.  Gossip is a poison that can be as contagious as an infectious disease.    If you have nothing good to say about someone, better to say nothing at all.
  •  Pause before responding. Lashing out in the heat of the moment can lead to regret.  If you are feeling volatile, betters to take a time out and think things through before reacting.
  • Involve yourself in activities you enjoy. 

Wishing you all a positive 2020!