Every December many people find it beneficial to spend some personal time on a year-end reflection. So, let us begin by taking some time to ponder on what this year has meant for us. Whether you faced success beyond imagination, or were met by challenging obstacles, this year has been full of many productive lessons about life.
In this fast-paced world we live in today, it can be difficult for people to know where to begin reflecting. It is much too common that we are geared towards what is ahead of us that we are never able to slow down to look around in the present moment.
This is why practicing reflection can be a beneficial skill for your overall mental health. Reflection is a time to recognize your professional achievements and personal accomplishments. It is also a time to review the uphill battles you have had to face, and the lessons you have learned.
Every experience you have had this year – good or bad – has summed up to these moments and makes us who we are. The reality of the situation is that not everyone has had the best year – but that is okay. Part of reflecting on this year comes making future plans for personal improvements so you can tend to your needs that may have gotten neglected along the way.
This is also a wonderful time to consider any future goals you want to set for the following year. With goals that include more self-care or that work to overcome any challenges you faced this year, your new year is completely in your hands. More importantly, you can reflect on areas in your life that have negatively impacted you in order to start on a path towards addressing issues to increase your overall happiness.
You can also take the time to review your accomplishments along with the obstacles you overcame to help boost your confidence and resilience.
Moreover, upon personal reflection comes a time to spend on what you can be thankful for. There are countless studies on the topic of gratitude and how influential it can be in increasing positivity in your life.
Here are some ways you can work to cultivate gratitude in your life:
1. Thank others around you. Not only can you spread positivity by thanking those around you, but you can also foster healthier relationships with another person by this small expression.
2. Count your blessings. A common phrase comes to mind when thinking of what to be thankful for – “Every day may not be good, but there is something good in every day.”
3. Create a Gratitude Journal. Studies have found that those who continue to find aspects to be thankful for in their daily lives increase positivity and overall mental health in the long-run.
4. Be grateful for your experiences. Although some people may have had some “don’t want to talk about it” experiences, try to find a lesson to be thankful for in each situation you have endured and surpassed.
Ultimately, the end of the year can be full of excitement and nerves in anticipation for the new year to come. It’s a great chance to envision what you want this next chapter of your life to look like. Once you feel you have reflected enough, feel free to close the door of 2021 and open the new door to 2022 and begin working towards your new goals.
Author: Anton Babushkin, PhD, LMSW
Therapist & Start My Wellness CEO