A Positive View for the New Year

Face_of_blonde_girl by Rolands Lakis.jpg

Twelfth night is behind us, the kids are back in school and we're back to reality. We've substituted the hectic period of the holidays with the hectic pace of our regular lives.

Perhaps we've made resolutions, determined that this is the year we will make the significant changes to our lives we have failed to make in prior years. Perhaps we are still focused on the family contact we enjoyed - or suffered - during the holidays. Days are short, with fewer hours of daylight, and maybe the weather is cold or snowy or some other form of miserable.

It is a tough time of the year to find happiness, or inner peace.

Maybe the best advice is to just stop for a few minutes, take a few deep breaths and put what is past behind us. Instead of measuring our accomplishments, or lack thereof, in the year prior, we should open ourselves to looking at the year ahead as a blank slate, on which we can write what we wish.

The Goal of Healing

Sometimes those who battle depression feel the goal of healing is to achieve a total remission of all symptoms. We will no longer experience deep sadness, fatigue, sleeplessness, foggy thinking, hopelessness, self-loathing, irritability and so forth.

What we tend to forget is that depression represents an extreme form of each of these symptoms. Those who do not experience depression might still be occasionally irritable, or have trouble sleeping. Any of us can feel hopeless in the moment. What is different is that the hopelessness is temporary, and we are able to move beyond it.

Perhaps our goals for the upcoming year should include measuring our healing. An emphasis on healing is a positive act, and the recognition that we are becoming less depressed is something we can mark in the success column on our blank slate.

The Subtlety of Change

Sometimes change is subtle. In the rush of our daily lives we might not take that moment to stop and recognize or examine it. That is something we need to sensitize ourselves to, so that we can acknowledge our successes. Success is positive, and can breed more success.

A few minutes of quiet reflection at the end of each day, during which we look at how we responded to the challenges we faced, might be a way to start. As we look back to our experiences during the day, can we spot the moments where our response was healthy? Where we were able to overcome a challenge rather than be overcome by it? These are the positive notations we can begin to accumulate on our blank slate.

Depression is a temporary state. We should all anticipate the day when we leave it behind. Continuing to recognize the subtle indications of healing can encourage us towards that goal.

Image courtesy Roland Lakis

 
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