01 JAN 2022

Channel Grace, Reap Rewards

Senior man drinking coffee and looking thoughtfully out of a window.
The New Year is the perfect time to focus on renewal, restoration and hope.

The New Year is the perfect time to focus on renewal, restoration and hope, according to NorthBay Healthcare Clinical Psychologist Corinna Press and the Behavioral Health Integration Program (BHIP) Team.

“Leave the chaos and conflicts of 2021 behind and focus on the things that helped you bring more grace and open-heartedness to yourself and others,” advises Dr. Press.

To help you get in the right frame of mind, she shares three tips:

  1. Try the Sacred Pause. Without a pause, our actions are automatic. With a pause, we have the chance to move out of habitual reaction to life’s endless challenges. When you pause, you have a chance to examine your intentions. If you have set a long-term goal, this is the time to remember it. If not, use this time to simply ask yourself what is motivating you. Are you hurt, upset, angry, seeking revenge, letting your ego take over? A pause can also be a way to take time to respond instead of react, to show ourselves and others respect and understanding. It helps us remember what matters most.
  2. Channel Kind Awareness. When we remember what matters most, it’s easier to make conscious decisions about how to respond to the disappointments and uncertainty life hands out. Increasing awareness of yourself and the world around you means gaining back precious chunks of time, because it requires you to step out of a kind of trance— of reactivity, problem-solving, blame and fear. Awareness also means doing the hard work of noticing and attending to the times when you react in some worried way that hurts you and others. But when you add some kindness to your awareness, you are much more likely to be able to repair and recover, because you will have greater insight and understanding.
  3. Apply Wise Hope. Having hope is no guarantee that everything will turn out just the way you want it. That would be naive. Wise hope acknowledges the struggle and sees things as they really are, without giving up on the belief in possibilities or new growth. The novelist Barbara Kingsolver puts it this way: “I have been thinking a lot lately about the difference between being optimistic and being hopeful. I would say that I’m a hopeful person, although not necessarily optimistic. Here’s how I would describe it. The pessimist would say, ‘It’s going to be a terrible winter; we’re all going to die.’ The optimist would say, ‘Oh, it’ll be all right; I don’t think it’ll be that bad.’ The hopeful person would say, ‘Maybe someone will still be alive in February, so I’m going to put some potatoes in the root cellar just in case.’ … Hope is …. a mode of resistance…. a gift I can try to cultivate.”

All these approaches can be gifts – to ourselves and those around us – for 2022. Even better, Dr. Press notes, they come at no cost, but the payoff is priceless.

You can read Dr. Press' full profile here and call to make an appointment at (707) 646-5500.

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