Start something new today
The Japanese have a tradition of starting something new when they hit sixty years old. It’s called kanreki. There is a special costume to celebrate the day, and a sense that you can have a fresh start in life. They ask themselves, "what have I done in my past sixty years that I can build upon, what do I want to let go of, and what new things can I start?”
The New Year has the same kind of energy: The wonderful chance to start something new, to be invigorated and to move into the next part of life with a fresh burst of energy. I get this sense in spring time as well; as the natural world starts to flourish, I want to take part in that growing and blossoming.
We don’t have to wait for a special time to think in this way. Every time the sun comes up in the morning is an opportunity for a fresh start. Every moment of every day contains the possibility for trying something new.
Dr Morita Shoma lived at the turn of the last century in Japan. He was a psychotherapist and his therapy centred around an important insight: How we feel, is created by what we do.
If we want to live happy and satisfied lives we should take part in positive activities.
If you want to improve your life – choose do so something new, and positive, today.
In December last year (why wait until the New Year?) I started jogging again, after a six month break. How fit and healthy we are, has a direct influence on our happiness. Our bodies and minds are strongly connected to one another. When I’m running I not only enjoy the individual runs, I also feel generally better in myself. A sedentary life leads to a slow sluggish mind and low feelings.
Be realistic: if you haven’t moved your body much since P.E. in school, start small and choose something you will enjoy.
I also started sketching over the Christmas break. Some of my drawings are terrible, but that’s not the point. I’m enjoying the creative process, I’m enjoying seeing myself improve and I’m enjoying learning a new skill. It takes me away from my computer screen and into a quiet restorative space.
Is there something creative you would like to try? Put an ‘artists date’ in your diary: Pick something that you will enjoy and make space in your life for it. Go to the theatre, visit a gallery, or buy yourself some clay to play with.
Sometimes we will hit resistance when we try new things. All change takes work, sometimes. Talk yourself through the resistance and keep going. Remind yourself what the rewards are; something good is waiting for you.
Get yourself a buddy: If you both start something new, you can support each other when the going gets tough, and celebrate your successes together.
Join a group or a class: It’s much easier to get into the swing of something new if there is a structure like a weekly meeting to help you.
Start volunteering: You’ll learn new skills, it will take you out of your ordinary life and into new areas, and you’ll be giving something back to the community too, what could be better?
Make some time to think about what you can do to lead a more satisfying life, and then do it.
About the author
Kaspa Thompson is a psychotherapist, mindfulness teacher and Buddhist priest. He works from Malvern, Worcestershire, and also via Skype. He is a BACP registered therapist.
He works with adults, and with teenagers.
"I begin by accepting the client just as they are, as much as I can, and encouraging them to do the same."
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