The whole month of January has a feeling of starting over. Sure, some of us get hung up on having to start new habits on January 1st, but really the whole month, in general, is a good time to focus on goals and change. Personally, I find the whole concept of starting the year with a new set of goals to be overwhelming. I am my own worst critic, so when I ask myself what I need to change I will come up with one thing, and then another, and then another and about 20 more things. I get so overwhelmed that I just do nothing!
I have been sober from drugs and alcohol for nearly 5 years. My mind has always been a dominating force in my life. Thankfully, I have worked on it a lot since getting sober but to be honest my mind still wins a lot of fights within myself. So while I have some serious resolutions I want to fulfill, such as overcome my complete sugar addiction (yes you can be addicted to sugar!) I knew I had to do something about my rotten thinking before I really hit the ground and got running this new year.
A few months ago, I started looking at how I could change the terrible thinking I walk around with all day. For me, my mind will spend a lot of time worrying about the future in an irrational way, but also will completely deconstruct my own character. I tell myself things in my head I would not say to my own worst enemy and I don’t even dislike myself anymore! The thoughts remain though, telling me I’m doing a bad job in life or that I’m not where I am supposed to be and I should be further along in life by now. I knew I had to do something about this before I stepped into the New Year with some firm resolutions to change myself.
The morning is when my mind is the loudest. I wake up and almost instantly my mind will turn into anxious mode and tell me all the things that will go wrong that day. I realized when I walk out that door with that mindset, it completely sets the tone for the day. It’s terrible.
The first thing I did was begin to look in the mirror in the morning and tell myself simple, positive phrases.
“You’re going to have a great day.”
“You’re doing a great job.”
“I love my life right now.”
“You’re a great friend.”
“I’m proud of who I have become.”
Look, I know for some people this seems really corny. I thought so, too. But let me tell you, from the first time I actually did it I felt a profound effect. Some of you may have even felt that effect from just reading my examples. I could tangibly feel the negative space in my mind being broken up by these extremely positive phrases I was using on myself.
Creating A Morning Ritual
Once the positive affirmations worked for me, I knew I was onto something. I wanted to dig deeper into things I could do in the morning, that doesn’t take a long time, but really could improve my whole day by walking out the door with a positive frame of mind.
I’m not here to tell you exactly what to do but there are so many possibilities out there if you just take 15 minutes of your morning to sit down and do things like:
- Gratitude Lists
- Daily Readings
- Planning your day
Whatever it is that resonates with you and channels your soul into a positive light before you head into your day can work absolute miracles for someone suffering from depression, anxiety, borderline personality disorder or anything else in the mental health world.
Before we head out to change our worst habits, we need to do a gut check and reflect on what our thinking looks like. The mind is the most powerful thing in the universe. We can be complete prisoners of it or we can channel it in a way that can change our lives. Taking advantage of the power of my mind in a positive light has put me in a fantastic mindset. I finally feel that the prospect of tackling my goals is possible because my mind is no longer screaming at me that I can’t do it.
Be kinder to yourself, love yourself, tell yourself every single day how much you love yourself. It can certainly change your life for this new year.
About the Author: Daniel Wittler is a writer in recovery and outreach coordinator at A Forever Recovery who shares his experience, strength and hope in order to show that anyone no matter how hopeless can recover from addiction.
The opinions and views expressed in this guest blog do not necessarily reflect those of www.rtor.org or its sponsor, Laurel House, Inc. The author and www.rtor.org have no affiliations with any products or services mentioned in this article or linked to herein.
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