Last year was fast-paced and often involved violent stories both in the United States and around the world. With that being said, I want to focus on how we can make 2015 a better year than 2014.
For many, the news was often enough to bring them down and send them hiding underneath the bed covers, only coming up long enough to watch yet another heartbreaking story, before retreating back to safety.
But, was 2014 really that much different from the last few years with all of its negative economic, social, and political news?
I contend that 2014 contained many similar stories that have been happening for quite some time now.
I’ve come up with five steps that I believe will help us all have a healthier and brighter 2015.
First, turn-off the television and stop focusing on the news unless you have to watch it continuously for your job.
Watching negative news 24/7 will give you the false sense that “all” things and “all” people are bad or that there isn’t any good news. That’s simply not true!
There are many good people and good things happening in this world. However, many stories are not being reported on because a number of news outlets believe that only sensationalism sells.
I don’t know about you but I’ve had enough melodrama and scandal to last me a lifetime.
I don’t believe I’m alone in saying that many are looking to return to a more simplistic time.
Simplifying your life will help you to focus more on real people and important things around you in your everyday life.
Begin to notice the grassroots goodness surrounding you that will probably never make the sensationalized headlines.
This new found focus will help you to be able to see the good deeds that are going on in your churches and synagogues, the caring teachers in your children’s schools, and your helpful neighbors.
Does this mean you should bury your head in the sand and never find out what’s happening in the rest of the world? No, but it does mean that you should limit your intake of negative news so that you won’t feel overwhelmed. If you are anxious then other areas of your life and your family’s lives will be negatively impacted, as well.
Secondly, focus more on your family, especially your children. Just imagine if you are feeling overwhelmed with the world as an adult, how do you suppose your children are coping?
Children identify with their same-sex parent and typically model what they see that parent doing.
If you are typically mostly overwhelmed and stressed out and your children observe this then they will most likely learn that being stressed is the only way to cope with what overwhelms them rather than learning to seek healthy outlets for relieving anxiety. You can teach them healthy alternatives to coping with frustrations.
Spend time instead, talking with them about their day, their interests, and their concerns. Enjoy family time together each day because you and they are worth the effort.
Each family member generally has a full-plate with limited time. However, make time to share at least 20-30 minutes a day just tuning out everything and tuning into your child’s life.
Your child needs a parent to help them navigate their way around in this world and you are that parent.
Thirdly, spend time praying for your family and others. It’s not enough to listen to what’s wrong with the world and complain about it. Do what you can about it by praying for the world to change. It may seem like an uphill battle at times but we are not ultimately in control. Praying helps us to do what we actually can control.
Fourth, spend time serving others. If you want to change the world and make it a better place then be the change that causes it to proceed forward.
One action can create another action that can lead to yet another good act. If all actions are positive in nature then positive change has already begun to occur. Small changes will eventually bring about big changes.
The fifth and final step is to love yourself, love others, and value each and every day.
We were magnificently and lovingly made by a Creator who loves us more than words can describe. Don’t forget that. Remember, we are all “perfect” in our imperfections.
Remember also that others are just as wonderfully loved by their Creator and imperfect, but “perfect” just in the same way that we are.
We are all in this together. We don’t have all the answers but typically people are doing the best they can with what they have been given.
Let go of any negativity that may come your way. No one knows you better than you know yourself so stop taking things personally.
Just forgive more often, love more often, and enjoy every day because our world is filled with beauty for our enjoyment, even if we’re too busy to notice!