To say it’s been a strange year is an understatement. Even stranger than last year, because most of us expected that 2021 would see an end to the global pandemic and political unrest. Not! So here we are, still in the world-wide chaos of COVID and politics, wondering what new disaster will befall us in 2022. Yikes!

But here’s the thing: what are we setting ourselves up for? If indeed, like attracts like, if what you think and feel brings more of the same to you, what are we setting ourselves up for? Peering out into 2022 and seeing only more to worry about narrows our focus. Our attention is caught in wretched “what if-s?” and sails right on by positive possibilities. Yet we don’t want to ignore reality and pretend all is well, when it surely isn’t.

What to do?

Pay attention to what you are setting yourself up for. When you find yourself catastrophizing, barreling down the gloom-and-doom scenarios, stop. Yes. Just plain old – stop! Ask yourself, “Self, what else might happen here? What good thing just might happen along the way?” Because when you’re looking for it, you’ll always find something valuable, something to be grateful for, happening, in your – our – world.

A couple of months ago, I fell badly during a ballroom dance competition. I couldn’t get up off the dance floor. Literally. I was terrified. What if I’d injured myself so badly I’d never dance again? Walk properly again? How would I take care of my big dogs? And down the rabbit-hole of catastrophizing I went, imagining every dire consequence of this fall. Yet people around me were taking care of me in a myriad of ways, from getting me to the ER, to getting me home safely, to referring me to a great PT, to caring for my dogs, and so much more. Which finally yanked me out of my catastrophizing into “Wait a minute. I’m being helped here. There’s hope. I’m gonna be OK.” Which I was, eventually. I had worried myself needlessly for days. And knowing what I know about how negative thoughts and feelings depress our immune system and ability to heal, you’d think I’d have remembered that and avoided catastrophizing entirely. Sigh . . .

So no, you don’t want to deny the reality of this past year. But there’s no need to dwell on its awfulness either. Instead, set yourself up for a great 2022 by looking to what is going right in your life. To what opportunities for growth, adventure, fun, love and laughter exist, even if only as mere glimmerings, in your life.

2022 will be, to a large extent, what you make of it. So walk right past that rabbit hole and into the very best 2022 you can imagine.

Author's Bio: 

Noelle C. Nelson, Ph.D., is a clinical psychologist, consultant, popular speaker and author of over a dozen best-selling books. Dr. Nelson focuses on how we can all enjoy happy, fulfilling lives while accomplishing great things in love, at home and at work, as we appreciate ourselves, our world and all others. She is the author of "Phoenix Rising: Surviving Catastrophic Loss: Fires, Floods, Hurricanes and Tornadoes" and “Happy Healthy…Dead: Why What You Think You Know About Aging Is Wrong and How To Get It Right." Visit,, #MeetTheAmazings, @drnoellenelson, and listen to her podcast Up! Uplifting, Inspiring, Practical on Spotify, Google Podcasts and on YouTube.