11 ways to build your light reserves in 2021


(Anderson) Herald Bulletin

If you haven’t felt very festive this holiday season, you’re not alone.

A survey by The Associated Press found that Americans, after a year beset by the coronavirus pandemic, a chaotic election and social unrest, are sadder, lonelier and less grateful than a year ago. Just 22% of Americans say they feel very or extremely festive, down significantly from the 49% who were feeling that way a year ago. Only 37% feel generous, down from 52% last year.

That’s a lot of darkness to combat, when light reserves, or your ability/desire to do good, are running extraordinarily low.

Replenishing those reserves is important as we begin a new year. Here are 11 ways to help the light build within yourself so that you can share it with others.

1. Decide on a mindset of positivity and progress. That’s not to say there won’t be dark times, but you’ve got to start in the right place.

2. Take a daily walk to clear your mind before you start your day or after a long day at work. During your outing, focus on your breathing, your stride and the world around you. Don’t let those thoughts turn toward worry and your to-do list.

3. Set goals for where you are going in the year. Figure out what you want to accomplish, then map a way to get there. Make sure your goal is attainable. If it seems lofty, set checkpoints to reach along the way.

4 Eat and eat well. Your body needs fuel. So does your mind. Be mindful of what you’re putting in your body. But don’t be afraid to indulge for special occasions.

5. Become a mentor who needs guidance or to learn a skill at which you excel. Sharing your knowledge is a great gift to give.

6. Feel empathy and offer sympathy to all who need it. A lot of our differences melt away when we can understand what it’s like to be in someone else’s shoes. Barriers fall when we acknowledge others’ struggles.

7. Read. Read. Read. Not only do books offer escape, but they keep our minds fresh and churning.

8. Get more sleep. Whatever it is can be done tomorrow. Close your eyes and let your mind and body rest.

9. Smile and laugh more … but realize it’s OK when those things aren’t possible. Be mindful of your mental health and the effects of depression and anxiety. Talk to a professional if things don’t seem right.

10. Expand your experience. Eat something you’ve never tried. Research a country you would like to visit one day. Learn a skill you might never need.

11. Volunteer. Nothing builds that inner light like doing something for others. If you can’t muster the strength or energy to get involved, donate if your finances allow.

2020 has been miserable for a lot of people, maybe even you. But that doesn’t have to carry over into 2021.

Find the light. Be the light.

Send comments to awoods@ aimmediaindiana.com.

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