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How to use 2020 as an opportunity to make a positive change in your life

Dec 29, 2020, 3:06 PM
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SALT LAKE CITY — 2020 brought so many ups and downs but it also gave us the opportunity to make positive changes.

Dr. Matt Woolley, a Clinical psychologist for the University of Utah and cohost of the ‘Project Recovery’ podcast, recently spoke about the importance of using the impact of the pandemic as motivation to change for the better.

The different ways 2020 made an impact on our mental health

If there is one thing that we can directly correlate with 2020 is the state of our mental health.

A recent poll found that nearly 8 in 10 adults (78%) say the coronavirus pandemic is a significant source of stress in their lives. But studies and polls aren’t yet able to include how we will manage the stress of the past year moving forward.

There are countless factors that can contribute to such stress. One aspect of being tested can stem from taking life’s most simple luxuries for granted according to Dr. Woolley.

“2020 has challenged our sense of financial stability, mental stability, emotional stability, social stability,” Dr. Woolley described. “So many things that we just used to take for granted have come into question this year.”

A great way to come out of the pandemic with positive change is to understand how we’ve grown. By absorbing and reflecting on these feelings we can then strive to be a better person because of it says Dr. Woolley.

“Resistance promotes growth … things that are hard for us to do have the potential for growth,” Dr. Matt Woolley said. “This year has been a huge potential for growth. Hopefully, we can stock in our own lives and see how we’ve grown.”

Why being prepared for anything is more important than ever

Not many could have seen a pandemic of this magnitude coming and have the impact it did. If there is anything we can take from its impact is that it’s best to be prepared and ready to adapt to anything.

Whether it’s managing our finances, keeping a proper inventory of toilet paper, or just investing in our mental health. The better prepared we are, the easier these impacts will be on our lives in general.

One way to ensure that we are prepared mentally for such changes is to address those issues right now and learn from them.

“Are we waiting for a crisis? Do we have to have an accident or some crisis in life to make these huge changes that we want to make? Or can we make them based on insight or by learning from other people,” Dr. Woolley described.

By adjusting our mindset to focus on our physical and mental well-being, we can begin to truly understand the improvement we want to see. Furthermore, Dr. Woolley explains that by reflecting on that change, those thoughts can lead to behaviors. In turn, those behaviors will lead to positive change.

“When you really dig deep and have introspection, the reflection leads to behavior change and improvement,” he said.

Using discouragement as an opportunity to promote positive change

Naturally, the year has brought forth so many challenges to overcome. Whether it’s personal, career-focused, or even handling the stress and sadness of losing a loved one — there are many opportunities to feel discouraged this year.

But by understanding those feelings and by using introspection, you can turn those discouraging feelings into growth. It all starts with how you thinking about those challenges. As you turn those negative thoughts into positive actions, you set yourself up for the potential to grow from these challenges.

Dr. Woolley describes these moments as a perfect example to promote positive change within yourself.

“Regardless of how discouraged you feel and justified in your discouragement, are you willing to still push those boundaries to get what you want,” Dr. Woolley said. “To be the captain of your destiny.”

Listen to the podcast to learn more about creating positive change in your life

For more information on opioid prevention or if you or someone you know is struggling, you can find more information on Facebook, KSL TV, or Know Your Script. To hear more from Casey Scott and Dr. Matt Woolley, you can listen below or subscribe to the ‘Project Recovery’ podcast on Apple Podcasts or wherever you get major podcasts.

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How to use 2020 as an opportunity to make a positive change in your life