CHARLESTON, W.Va. -- As we all do our year-end review -- and year in preview -- it's revealing how we take stock of our lives.Whether this takes place in an informal way as you turn the page on the calendar or you go off on a retreat to chart your course for the new year, we all seem to go through some kind of reflective process.I'm always amazed at those retrospectives we see around this time that show flashbacks of events that have happened during the year. It seems that I remember some of the events clearly and then others seem out of sync. It's not unlike the songs I hear on the radio, and the announcer says, "Fifteen years ago today this song was No. 1 on the charts" -- and it feels like it was just a few years ago to me.This year has certainly had its challenges on the global and political fronts. And maybe in your life as well. I've talked with a number of folks who say 2014 can't get here soon enough.It's all about perspective. That's what makes it so hard. When our thoughts are consumed with negativity, there's no way the light can shine through on our blessings. Then we can end up feeling bad that we're not more grateful. Sound familiar?While this can be a continual balancing act, we can learn to switch gears more quickly over time and with some discipline. I'm a firm believer that we need to "feel our feelings." Otherwise, we just end up stuffing them down, only to face their emergence later. On the other hand, you don't want to wallow in the cesspool too long.The trick is in recognizing that we've processed the situation enough to move on. If only there were an owner's manual for that! Obviously, it differs for each individual and for each scenario.
I have a friend and colleague -- author Jacquelyn Aldana -- who has made it her life's work to come up with triggers that help us flip those switches. Aldana conducts workshops that she calls "playshops" because she has such a joyful approach to life.Sometimes we tend to overdramatize situations. (Ask me how I know!) And Aldana's tools always help me to put things into perspective -- in 15 minutes or less. As a writer, counselor and consultant she works with individuals and groups on an ongoing basis. I thought I'd share a few nuggets from her new book, "My Miracle Manifestation Manual." While that may sound like a lofty title, her track record for positive results with clients hovers at around 96 percent. Here's a sneak preview.Positive venting technique
Whenever faced with a challenge, it's human nature to call your friends and tell them your tale of woe because it feels so good to get it off your chest, right? Although it can actually be helpful to process a stressful situation with a trusted friend or adviser, we need to keep a universal law in mind -- that the more you focus on something, the more it expands. So, you could actually amplify and perpetuate the very thing you don't want.
As if that's not bad enough, when you share what bothers you with someone who sympathizes and agrees with you, the negative energy expands.The good news is that there's a creative way to express how you authentically feel without inviting undesirable consequences into your present or future. Whenever you feel it's necessary to reference something of a negative nature, simply preface your statements with "in the past" or "up until now." These qualifiers send signals to our subconscious that neutralize any potential negative charge.Here's an example: "In the past, I've suffered from chronic insomnia. Starting today, I choose to find effective ways to consistently sleep through the night and awaken fully refreshed each morning."Four magic words
To invite more abundance into your life, precede whatever you say with "I love it when ..." Using these four simple words prevents your inner critic from filling your mind with doubt. As an example, you could declare, "I love it when I receive unexpected income." This opens the door and invites that possibility into your life in a joyful and whimsical way.Nine magic words
There are nine compelling words that take only three seconds to say. And yet they have the power to transform even the crustiest curmudgeon. Experiment with these empowering words: "Do you know what I like about you, [the person's name]?"Not only will this intriguing question inspire the person who hears it, but these heartfelt words will also instantly elevate your own sense of well being. With a sincere desire to help someone else feel better about himself or herself, try using these nine magic words. If you come from an authentic place, you may be amazed with the results. And we can always find something positive in another person if we look hard enough!Blank canvas
Here's to that fresh, blank canvas for 2014! This really is "the most wonderful time of the year" for me. Embrace these 365 brand-new days, 12 delicious months and 52 amazing weeks. It's yours to create!
Linda Arnold, M.A., M.B.A., is a certified wellness instructor, counselor and Chairwoman/CEO of The Arnold Agency, a marketing communications firm with offices in West Virginia, Montana and Washington, D.C. Reader comments are welcome and may be directed to Linda Arnold, The Arnold Agency, 117 Summers Street, Charleston, WV 25301 or e-mailed to firstname.lastname@example.org.