In the hustle and bustle of our daily lives, it's easy to feel overwhelmed and lose sight of what truly matters to us. As a licensed psychotherapist and coach specializing in anxiety, I often witness the impact of this fast-paced world on our mental well-being. That's why I want to delve into the transformative power of setting intentions in this month's newsletter.
Intentions serve as compass points, guiding us toward the life we want to lead. Whether you're navigating the challenges of anxiety or simply seeking a more purposeful existence, the practice of setting intentions can bring clarity and focus to your journey.
Join me on this exploration of intention-setting – a valuable tool for cultivating a balanced and fulfilling life. Especially with the new year upon us. What better time to update and re-calibrate! Below, we'll look at a definition of intention setting and its benefits.
Let's embark on this journey together towards a life rooted in purpose and mindful choice.
Much like values, intentions are not goals; they are what you want in your life or how you want to be in your life.
“Sanam Hafeez, a neuropsychologist and faculty member at Columbia University in New York City, says they identify a purpose behind everything you do. “It can be the kind of life you want to live, how you want to act in a particular situation, or what you want to get out of an experience ultimately,” she says. Matthew Ferry, a spiritual teacher, happiness coach, and author of Quiet Mind Epic Life, says intentions are creative pursuits that help guide and direct your perspective about life, decisions, and ultimately your actions.” Emily DiNuzzo (January 26, 2021). ‘How to Set Intentions to Get Un-Stuck and Improve Your Mental Health,’ The Healthy. https://www.thehealthy.com/mental-health/setting-intentions/
Setting intentions can be beneficial in various aspects of life. There is a positive impact of intention-setting and then goal-setting in regard to your mental well-being. When it comes to anxiety or any other struggle, setting an intention provides a sense of purpose and direction, helping to focus your energy on positive and meaningful pursuits.
Clarity and Focus: Clearly defined intentions provide a roadmap for the upcoming year. This clarity helps individuals stay focused on their priorities and reduces the uncertainty that can contribute to anxiety.
Positive Mindset: Intentions are often framed in a positive manner, which can contribute to a positive mindset. Maintaining a positive outlook can be crucial in managing anxiety and help with acceptance.
Enhanced Resilience: Knowing your intentions and staying true to them can enhance your resilience in the face of setbacks. This resilience is valuable in overcoming obstacles that may arise in the process of growing your private practice.
Empowerment: Setting intentions can empower individuals by giving them a sense of control over their lives. This can be particularly helpful for those experiencing anxiety, as a feeling of empowerment can counteract the sense of helplessness often associated with anxiety.
Mindfulness and Present Moment Awareness: Intentions often involve cultivating mindfulness and being present in the moment. This focus on the present can help individuals manage anxiety by redirecting attention away from future worries or past concerns.
Motivation: Having a clear intention provides motivation to take steps toward personal and professional growth. They provide a sense of direction, encouraging you to stay committed to your goals, especially during challenging times. This forward momentum can counteract feelings of stagnation and contribute to a sense of accomplishment, reducing anxiety.
Goal Achievement: Setting intentions is a proactive step towards achieving your goals. It helps you break down larger objectives into smaller, manageable steps, making it easier to track progress and celebrate achievements along the way.
Positive Affirmations: Intentions are often framed in positive language, serving as affirmations for desired outcomes. Regularly revisiting these affirmations can reinforce positive thinking and counter negative thought patterns associated with anxiety.
Intentions can be a powerful way to re-calibrate in your life. To create an intention, you can begin by considering the following to get inspiration and direction. You can reflect on…
What you have accomplished and what you have done well
What you may have wanted to do differently (and then give yourself compassion)
What you have learned, and
What do you want to do instead or more of or how do you want to be
Decide if there is any area you want to expand and grow
I have been working with my clients in this new year to look at setting an intention for just the first 4 months of this year. We have been able to set short-term goals that are aligned with the intention. Below are two examples:
Intention: To get in better physical health that also helps my mental health.
Goal: To identify one physical activity that I enjoy and make it a part of my regular routine by 1/9.
Goal: I will do that physical activity 3 times per week for the next 6 weeks.
Intention: Practice more self-love.
Goal: Listen to a self-love meditation at least 3 times per week.
Remember to review and adjust your intentions as needed regularly. This ensures that they remain relevant to your evolving circumstances and aspirations.
Wishing you a fabulous New Year,