Spring can bring renewed sense of optimism for immigrants

Credit to Author: Hazel Morley| Date: Thu, 14 Mar 2019 05:44:21 +0000

For immigrants especially, who may struggle during the cold winter months

It can be chaotic building and settling into a new life in a new country, especially during the cold winter months. The arrival of March and anticipation of spring can provide a renewed sense of optimism and energy. Daylight hours extend, spring flowers emerge, temperatures warm up (at least they usually do, here on the West Coast of Canada!) and new beginnings can feel more achievable.

March is a great time to pause and review, to take stock of how we feel and where we are at in our life, compared to where we would like to be. It is an opportunity to think about what we have experienced and achieved three months into the year and what more we would like to experience.

If all that feels too heavy and emotionally challenging, if you are not feeling content with how things are going, remember that all is not lost. There are nine months ahead of us, so now can be a convenient time to stop and consciously think about what you need to move onwards and upwards.

Research suggests we spend 95 per cent of our time operating from our subconscious, i.e. not paying attention to what we are thinking, feeling or doing because it has become a routine, or a habit. When we pause, and consider whether we are attending to what really matters to us, we can find the motivation we sometimes need for change or continued effort.

It is possible that you have achieved more than you realize, or give yourself credit for. We often overlook the smaller triumphs; the day-to-day wins that we take for granted, as we get busy with the everyday routine and distracted by the bigger challenges in life. While it may be true that you have not have done all that you intended, or expected, to do it is likely you still did the best you could, under the circumstances. When we take time to acknowledge this and even ‘celebrate’ the small wins it frees up more mental energy to keep us moving forward.

March can be a great time to gather energy for those things that are important to us. You may decide to find one or two new ideas, or take one new opportunity, that will help you build your new life in Canada. Maybe you have a habit you would like to change, or would like to complete a task you have been avoiding. Now is the perfect time to come out of any hibernation you may have fallen into over the colder months and become more conscious about the choices and decisions you are making in your life so that you don’t get to the end of another three months (or longer) and look back with regret.

The right frame of mind for moving forward

New ideas and fresh thinking occur when the mind is open and we feel relaxed. You won’t find inspiration when you’re feeling anxious or frustrated. Spend some quality time daydreaming, in a place where you feel at ease. Whether that is outside in nature, or in the comfort of your home, set aside some time for yourself where you won’t be interrupted for a while. Stay curious and positive, ask great questions and listen to the answers from your heart (as well as your head). Get clear about what you want for the rest of the year, take regular small steps, believe and trust you will find what you’re looking for. Consciously direct your attention and energy towards your being the person you want to be.

Be mindful of getting distracted by:

  • Negative comments and influence from others.
  • Negative self-talk (unhealthy thought patterns that become a critical voice in your head dragging you down).
  • Settling for less (the “good” can be the enemy of the “best”).
  • Comfort and convenience — they can stop us from growing.
  • Challenges and setbacks — while these are usually inevitable, what matters most is how you handle these.

If you are thinking, “I don’t have time to slow down and reflect” remember two things:

  1. Research shows that people who think and plan are happier, more productive and less burned out.
  2. “Naturedoes not hurry, yet everything is accomplished.” — Lao Tzu.