In her new book Judgment Detox, 2016’s The Universe Has Your Back author Gabby Bernstein shares tips on manifesting compassion—for others and for yourself. But during a busy winter in NYC of subway skulduggery, cramped roommate arrangements and rough career hustles, how do we show empathy? We asked the self-proclaimed spirit junkie and New Yorker for advice on meditating and keeping sane in the city this January and beyond.
Set a positive intention.
“If you notice yourself judging someone on the subway, set a positive intention for that person instead. You can wish for the person to have more of what you want for yourself, which does something to get out of that negative pattern and the negative energy that goes along with it.”
Focus on your own energy.
“You want to be an empathetic and caring person, but you [also] want to recognize that lowering your energy because of someone else is in no way serving them. Your positive energy has the potential to elevate them. There are people walking around with their heads in their phones; they’re [feeling] super negative. And the simplicity of walking around smiling at people and being more positive in your own space can actually change someone’s day entirely. If you walk into a room and you’re nicer to the barista or the cab driver, you have the power to change their day.”
Commit to your resolutions.
“The key to resolutions is the repetition of behavior: counting the days. When you give yourself that commitment of doing something for the next 60 or 90 days, you almost can reprogram the neural pathways in your brain, because you’re changing habits. In order to have a resolution really stick, you have to really want it. That’s the big part.”
Be nice to yourself.
“One thing I say to New Yorkers is to say nice things to yourself, because you’re the only one listening. They’re walking around all day long in their head about themselves, so they might as well start to change the dialogue internally. Focus on your rate of coming back to yourself. You don’t have to be so perfect at following these practices and being nonjudgmental all day long, but see how quickly you can come back to a peaceful place.”
“Give people your attention and enjoy their company. We’re always in our heads or in our phones, so this one is much more about asking questions to other people, being more inquisitive and giving them your full attention—and being present in your relationships. Next time you’re in a social setting, if you might have judged somebody, instead shift your focus away from what you’re judging about them and start being curious.”