It’s often hard to keep a sense of perspective in our lives. We’re constantly bombarded with urgent-seeming stimuli like texts, phone calls, instant messages, tweets, and emails. We live each day in a rush, fighting our way through an endless to-do list.
We often grumble and complain about our problems, while ignoring all the good things we have. It can be overwhelming. All-to-quickly our blinders go up, and we fall into the trap of having tunnel vision and filtering everything through our feelings at the moment. It can set in motion a horrible downward spiral that can be challenging to stop, let alone reverse. But it IS possible, and sometimes all we need is a change of perspective to get us back on track!
Changing your perspective can be incredibly refreshing. It can:
- Open up new possibilities that you hadn’t thought of before
- Help you to heal a relationship
- Calm you down when you’re feeling stressed
- Let you enjoy and appreciate all the good things you already have
Here are seven simple ways to change your perspective:
Give one (or more) of them a try today!
Ask “Will it Matter in Five Years?”
When I’m anxious about something, this question is what I often ask myself. Almost always, the answer is that it won’t matter in a week, let alone in five years. Some days (even some moments) are life-changing. You’ve probably been through some of these such as job interviews, exams, the decision to get married, or buying a house. However, most of what we worry about in our day-to-day lives is fleeting and trivial. Maybe you’ve made a mistake at work, or you’ve had a dinner crisis which means your family is eating pizza for the third time in three days. Yeah, it stinks, but it’s not the end of the world, and in the grand scheme of things, it’s really not worth stressing yourself over.
Draw or Write About a Situation.
Maybe you’ve got a big decision to make, or a big problem to confront. This larger than life thing might have been on your mind for days or weeks; it could even be something that you’ve talked about (or argued about) with your partner. The problem is, you feel like you’re not getting anywhere. You’re just as uncertain or anxious as you were before. Ugh. I hate that.
So, this is a great time to grab a pen and paper. You can either write about the problem (perhaps in the style of a journal entry or as a list of ideas) or draw something that represents the current situation. By doing your thinking on paper, you automatically start creating structure and order, allowing you to see things from a new, clearer, different perspective. Chances are, you’ll find several possible solutions in this process.
Write a List of Things You’re Grateful For.
Whatever your current situation, you’ve got loads of great things in your life, too. Some of us (me included) find it easy to moan about stuff that isn’t going well, but pretty hard to spot the everyday good things that we take for granted. Spend five minutes today writing a list of things you’re grateful for. They can be big things (“my honey’s love and support”) or small things (“mmmmmm coffee”). This is a powerful exercise to do on a regular basis, perhaps even every week. You can also do it as a family or as a couple.
Go for a walk.
When I’m feeling fed up or out of sorts, I almost always drop everything and head outside for a walk. Most times, I don’t feeeeeel like doing it, but as soon as I’m out and moving, I find that my mood improves dramatically. Walking is an excellent way to get yourself physically away from whatever’s stressing you (your work, the state of the house) and to give yourself a chance to think. If you can go somewhere relaxing such as a local park or even a local body of water, you’ll find that your thoughts quiet down and that it’s so much easier to get things into perspective.
Get away (for a day or two or three).
Getting away from home (whether it’s for one day or a few) can be an incredibly powerful, even life-changing, experience. Just staying in a different city will jolt you out of your usual routine and perhaps help you figure out what you’d like to add into your daily life. You’ll have space and time to reflect on your life, and you might also be motivated to make big changes. Remember to allow yourself to be still and free from all distractions to have the greatest impact on your time away and don’t fill every moment with something to do. The more time and space you can give yourself to relax and detox from your everyday stressors the better!
Ask “Why?”… And keep asking.
Next time you’re struggling to get perspective, ask why you do something. Don;t be afraid to channel your inner child here… be tenacious in pushing for a real answer! If you’re working a job you don’t really like, why are you doing it? Perhaps it’s for the money… but do you actually need that money? (You may well do, but it’s possible that you’re trying to support a lifestyle that’s making you miserable.) It can be super uncomfortable to look at the reasons why we’re pursuing the goals that we have, but by being honest with yourself, you can open up the possibility of change.
Have friends from all kinds of tribes.
Most of us have deeply held beliefs on subjects like religion, politics, morality, social justice, or other similarly weighty issues. You might find it hard to understand how anyone could be so crazy as to support the “opponents” of your particular viewpoint. It’s an interesting exercise to read or listen to an argument by a group which you’d usually totally disagree with. I’m not suggesting that you should change your views or compromise your values, but I am suggesting that you recognize that there are intelligent, thoughtful, good people who have different opinions from you. You might still disagree with them, but it’s useful to see where they’re coming from. This can be a powerful, even upsetting way to change your perspective, so please proceed with caution, and don’t get drawn into arguments yourself. Just listen and make an effort to understand.
Are there any areas of life where you need to get some perspective? I’d love it if you shared your thoughts and ideas in a comment below…