Choosing a Word of the Year: Top Themes of 2022

Picking a word of the year helps you focus on the positive changes you’d like to make in your life, no matter what 2022 might have in store.,

Picking a word of the year helps you focus on the positive changes you’d like to make in your life, no matter what 2022 might have in store.

Last week, I challenged readers of this newsletter to come up with a single word to set the tone of their life for the next 12 months. I was wowed by both the creativity and the positivity from the thousands of readers who shared their words of the year.

The value of this word exercise is that it helps you focus on the things that are most meaningful to you and the positive changes you’d like to make in your life, no matter what 2022 might have in store. Here are some of the themes that emerged from your word choices.

Mindfulness, gratitude and paying attention. Many of you chose words of reflection, including awareness, awe, authenticity, breathe, notice, pause, process, cherish, experience, observe and focus.

Connection. Words of connection were especially resonant this year, including connect, community, engage, friends, family, reconnect, relationships, faith, family and comfort.

Movement and moving forward. Many of you plan to get moving, both physically and spiritually this year, with words like action, active, move, dance, energize, fitness, forward and onward.

Adventure, growth and freedom. Two years of pandemic restrictions have brought out adventure in many of you who chose words like adventurous, climb and explore. Words of growth were popular, including bloom, butterfly, evolve, expand, nourish, rejuvenate and revitalize. Freedom, liberation, carefree, catharsis, fabulous, free and liberation were also chosen.

Staying home. Others were less interested in travel and more interested in domestic changes, like declutter, downsize, donate, edit, less, organize, purge, nesting, reduce, renovate and restoration.

No limits and setting limits. Many of your words embraced possibility, including discover, imagine, dreams, leap, new, build, delve, dive, experiment and yes! Others are focused on setting limits, with words like boundaries, enough and no!

Getting things started and getting things done. Words of change included challenge, discipline, overhaul, pivot, excel, learn, curious, curiosity, discern and motivation. Others want to finish things they’ve started with words like finish, dedicated, determined, productivity, progress, resolve and follow-through.

Resilience, acceptance and hope. Many of the words reflected a desire to recover from difficult times, including adapt, intention, accept, commit, embrace, immerse, purpose, hopeful, consistency and optimism.

Some of you are cheering. Joyful words were popular, including cheer, delicious, delight, cartwheel, enjoy, enthusiasm, exuberance, ebullient, fun, gladden, happiness, harmony, laugh, joy, laughter, passion, playful, pleasure and positive.

Others are hoping for quiet. Your words included calm, chill, contemplate, gentle, grounded, introspective, listen, mindful, peace, patience, balance, center, anchor, peace and reflect.

Many of you found strength in your word. Words of persistence and determination were common, including bravery, courage, confidence, daring, dauntless, determined, endurance, intrepid, fearless, fierce, gumption, strength and overcome.

For some, your word focused on doing good. Many of you want 2022 to be about kindness: care, charity, compassion, devotion, empathy, forgiveness, generosity, giving, help and love.

While many others are hoping for a do-over. Words that start with “re” were especially popular, including reboot, rebuild, rebound, recharge, reclaim, recalibrate, reconcile, recover, renew, redemption, refocus, reframe, refresh, relaunch, reorient, repair, repurpose, revise and re-evaluate.

Thanks to everyone for contributing! In the coming weeks, I hope to share more of your words of the year and your inspiring comments in this newsletter.

Read the original article:
What’s Your Word of the Year?

Checking in on the Eat Well Challenge

I was thrilled to hear from so many of you this week as we approach the halfway mark of the Eat Well Challenge. There’s still a lot more to learn and talk about. I’m going to summarize a few of your comments here today, but I’ll devote next Thursday’s newsletter to answering more of your questions.

Forgetfulness. Several readers noted that while they like the mindful eating exercises, they sometimes forget to do them. Mindful eating takes practice and time. You don’t have to be perfect or do it at every meal. Sometimes I remember in the middle of the meal — or even on the last bite — to slow down and savor. Here’s a small tip: Stack your mindful routine on another habit, like your morning cup of coffee or tea. I like to focus on the sound of the coffee maker and the swirl of the milk frother. Then I sit with my coffee and just savor and enjoy it.

Sticky notes. More than a few readers used sticky notes (on computers, lunch bags and refrigerators) to remind them of two key mindful eating questions: Are you hungry? How will eating this make you feel?

Struggles with cravings. I’ve heard from some readers who have tried “to ride the wave of a craving,” but the craving really never ends, or they end up eating a sugary food and then feel bad about it. First, “riding the wave” doesn’t work if you are wishing the craving away. The goal is to accept it as normal and coexist with it. Mindful eating doesn’t mean constantly denying yourself foods that you enjoy. Sometimes you ride the wave and skip the cookie. Sometimes you ride the wave and eat the cookie. Both choices are fine.

You’re not alone. Several readers noted that the Eat Well Challenge has reminded them that food behaviors they once felt bad about are normal, and they’re not alone in their feelings. Ultimately, the goal of the Eat Well Challenge is for everyone to start enjoying food more through mindful eating, stop restrictive dieting that can make you miserable and start being kinder to yourself. It takes time and practice to let go of food rules we’ve imposed on ourselves for years. We’ll talk more about this on Monday!

It’s not too late to receive weekly text messages about the Eat Well Challenge. Text the word “Hi” (or any word) to 917-810-3302 for a link to join. Message and data rates may apply.

Catch up on the Eat Well Challenge:
Find the first two articles here.

The Week in Well

Here are some stories you don’t want to miss:

Amelia Nierenberg wants to talk to you about the “vampire hormone,” melatonin.

Gretchen Reynolds explores how exercise can tame anxiety.

Jane Brody has advice for navigating a hospital intensive care unit.

Paula Span wants to remind you about the flu.

Dr. Lisa Sanders has a medical mystery about a runner who could barely stand.

And of course, we’ve got the Weekly Health Quiz.

Let’s keep the conversation going. Follow me on Facebook or Twitter for daily check-ins, or write to me at

Stay well!

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