As we approach the end of 2021, it’s a time to reflect on the year, what it brought, what we learned from it and where we can go from here.
The word that stands out for me for 2021 is ‘Acceptance’. We’ve all had to accept things this year that we haven’t wanted. Some just slightly annoying and others really hard to deal with. Whether it’s the little matter of remembering to scan into a restaurant, or bigger issues of not being able to see family in other locations for nearly 2 years, it’s all about accepting.
Drawing on Alan Sieler’s ‘6 Pack of Moods’ I’ve been reflecting on how the background moods we experience impact us.
Sieler outlines 6 basic moods and while these are not the only moods that impact us, they are helpful to consider as we reflect on 2021. Moods are not necessarily good or bad, but the top row are moods that are likely to make us less resourceful and the bottom row are moods that are likely to make us more resourceful.
Like many others, I’ve accepted that my work has shifted from meeting people in person, to spending my days on Zoom. I’ve accepted that quarantine restrictions in Hong Kong mean I’m not able to travel to see family in Canada. And on a personal level, I had to accept not completing a 100km hike I had spent months training for because a friend needed emergency medical attention. (She recovered fully and we completed it later, but I have to admit that at 4:00am after walking 70 of the 100km it was initially hard to accept!)
Acceptance brings an ability to move on despite what we may be experiencing
Learning to accept things as they are has kept me going through the year. Acceptance brings with it a level of peace and calmness. It also brings an ability to move on despite what we may be experiencing. It’s about coming to terms with what we can’t change right now.
I don’t like that I can’t travel without quarantine, but accepting it is the situation at the moment helps reduce frustration. A frustration that is not going to help me be effective or happy.
Moving to Ambition and Wonder
Truly accepting and coming to terms with a situation can also help us move to ‘ambition’.
Ambition brings energy and optimism for the year ahead. It leads to ideas and actions around what we want to accomplish.
Wonder is a curiosity about what could be possible and how we can get it. It helps us ask questions and experiment without a fear of failure.
We’re human and it’s natural to find ourselves in moods that are not helpful at times (I know I have over the past year) but it’s also possible to work on changing those moods.
Change is not always easy or instant, but there are steps we can take to work towards it;
- Be kind to yourself – there is no point in beating yourself up for not being in a happy ambitious mood. Be kind and give yourself space and time.
- Accept where you are now – it’s not possible to move on until you accept where you are now.
- Depersonalize the mood – you are not your mood. Think of it like a catching a cold, just something you have picked up and will get through.
- Listen to music – listening to uplifting music can be one of the fastest ways to shift a mood for some people
- Move you body – whether it’s a yoga class, a long hike or a massage. Body movement impacts mood.
- Breathe – the rate that blood and oxygen reaches our brain impacts our mood, taking a few deep breaths is often a good place to start.
My favourite is movement, but there is no magic formula that’s going to work for everyone. Be curious, experiment and see what works for you.
I wish you a successful 2022 full of acceptance, ambition and wonder.