You may think you need the shock of bad (or very good) news to flick the switch on a new perspective. Like a reboot for your life.
Obviously very good news is always welcome – and that flood of serotonin (the happy hormone) and possibly oxytocin (the natural love drug) in your system is enough to give you a whole new grateful perspective on life.
But bad news can be a big price to pay for gratitude’s lesson.
Of course we can grow into new (and better) perspectives by actively practicing gratitude and compassion and possibly by watching far too much bad news on TV (but who wants to become more grateful only at the expense of others. If we have to rely on others being worse off to feel better about ourselves, it’s hardly worth it).
We grow into new perspectives by allowing ourselves room to grow, by embracing change, by nurturing new habits.Aside from a regular gratitude practice (journaling, paying it forward etc), here are some ways I’ve found to quickly ‘switch on’ to a new perspective (you like the lightbulb symbol, no?!)
Zone outIt’s hard to really be present in a frustrating or sorrowful moment and simultaneously find a new perspective on dealing with the situation. But if you zone out of the situation for a moment and then refocus it’s nearly always easier. Withdraw one or more senses – close your eyes (you may have to turn away from prying eyes to do that), block your ears (ditto on turning away). In fact the physical act of turning your back is symbolic not of running away but of not letting yourself be caught up in the situation. When you turn around to face things again, do so with a straight back and the resolve to handle things. Body language makes a difference.
Zone inReally experience the frustration/loss of a difficult moment. Give yourself a minimum of a minute to stay aware of your feelings and to fully feel them – not to judge them or lament them, but simply to allow. Breathe through your feelings. Then in awareness lose your attachment to those emotions and release them, making room for resolve, positivity and kick-butt determination. The longer you hold on to negative feelings the longer you perpetuate the perspective you’d like to change.
RememberActively call up a memory of past pain but do it in a reflective way. If things sucked badly in the past then maybe this current setback isn’t so bad after all. Don’t wallow in a sense of ‘poor me again’ but remember your resilience previously and so feel confident in your ability to overcome whatever it is you are dealing with right now. Recalling your own past mistakes/pain is a great way to gain a positive perspective – chances are you’ll realise that time heals and that perhaps your concerns are more trivial than you thought. If not then remember you’ve already worked your resilience muscles.
DreamI don’t mean a wishing a situation away type of daydream. I mean big picture dreaming in a soldiering on, knowing something great awaits kind of way and projecting hindsight on your current situation. When you understand that things generally seem better with the benefit of hindsight then all you need to do is apply that shortcut to future wisdom.
Put yourself in someone else’s shoesThis is a way of both zoning out and also zoning in. I don’t mean finding someone worse off and so feeling better in comparison. I mean trying your compassionate best to really feel how they feel – letting their needs distract you from your own and understanding how helping them may help you too.
Here’s the rub – I don’t always apply these tactics (surprise, surprise) but when I do I can notice myself coping much better.
Have you got any fast (and honest) tricks for changing your perspective in a flash?
Linking up with Essentially Jess for IBOT and a new perspective for Tuesday.