With the New Year fast approaching, thoughts turn to the New Year, and what it might hold. As we look back on 2018, we think about the people we lost, what we gained, and review the hopes we had this time last year. As we look forward, we think about our goals for the New Year and what we hope will happen. I’m still hoping to win the lottery, just saying. For many of my patients, they struggle to identify the good things that happened over the last year. Many of them are living with severe depression so they need help to think about things as positive. No matter what kind of year you had, there are good things that happened, and there will be good things to come.
As I work with families struggling with conflict or loss, my main job is to try to help them recover and be able to find something positive in so much sadness. In working with families with conflict, I reframe events to try to find positive learning opportunities. I also work on setting goals for the next year. If needed we work on recovering from grief and loss, and we work on remembering that they can still be happy in the future, even if the present is a struggle. For many of my patients that is hard to believe, so we spend time learning how to make that true.
For some of my patients, they have made a great deal of process and don’t want to lose their forward movement. We talk about how to continue to support the changes that they made over the year, and use skills they are working on to keep their forward movement. Making progress toward their goals is hard, and at times it has taken years to reach this point. Another year moving forward, they can get anxious and worried, so we work on ways to stay focused and on track. We also review skills that work for them, the ones that didn’t work for them at this time, and offer others that they might not have tried. The important thing is to work on maintaining the progress they made.
Whether your last year was wonderful, or horrible, it helps to remember good and bad events. That helps you appreciate the positive and gives you opportunities to learn from the problems or sad parts. I’m a firm believer that there is always something we can learn, about ourselves and relationships. I think about the people in my life that I have lost, and what I learned from them. I learn things about myself every day, and I learn so much from all the people in my life. Every day is a gift, and a chance to become a better person. As long as you wake up, you can change your life.
No matter what happened in the last year, you can have a wonderful new year. You can learn from old mistakes, and make new ones that will help you become a better person. Never underestimate the power of a new day. It brings hope and possibilities for a better life. Review the past, and look forward to the New Year. It’s part of being happy, for life.