Get a new perspective – fast!

Kathy Krugergratitude, perspective35 Comments

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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).

Get a new perspective - look at life upside down

Notice the ‘V’ for victory sign in the legs

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 out

It’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 in

Really 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.

Remember

Actively 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.

Dream

I 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 shoes

This 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.

Namaste sign off_edited-1

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Kathy KrugerGet a new perspective – fast!

35 Comments on “Get a new perspective – fast!”

  1. HandbagMafia

    Putting myself in someone else’s shoes is my best technique- it can really diffuse negative feelings and replace them with empathy or compassion. Great post as always!

    1. Kathy Kruger

      Thanks Amy – there is actually a Buddhist meditation technique called Tonglen that involves taking on another’s pain, in a metaphysical sense. I have tried to meditate in this way but I need to study the technique and build my compassion muscles!

  2. JodiGibson (@JFGibsonWriter)

    Love this Kathy. It’s really simple isn’t it? We just need to do it. For me something as simple as looking up, makes me appreciate the day. By that I mean when I’m out and about doing errands and feeling ‘busy’ and under the pump I look up. Look up at the sky and remind myself how wonderful the space in which we live is. I look up at the top of the buildings (I live in a smaller country town so they’re not skyscrapers), and it’s amazing how beautiful the buildings are and how much you never realised. The other day I noticed for the first time a beautiful Victorian balcony on one of the shops in our main street. I’ve lived her nearly all my life and only just noticed it! I’d seen it before, but never noticed it, if you know what I mean. Little things like that change perspective for me.

    1. Kathy Kruger

      Love that Jodi. It is why walking places is so good and you can do that in a smaller town. New perspectives are often in the little details – maybe that should be another tip – look closer and see what you haven’t noticed before. X

  3. Lydia C. Lee

    I don’t think you need bad news to change your perspective. That’s a terrible idea. We went to Siem Reap and the people there, plus a visit to the Landmine Museum where you read about all the AMAZING work one person has done to clear mines (over 50,000 personally) was a game changer for me. To see how the world SHOULD operate, was enough for me. That it could be done has lead me to question why isn’t it so, the world over?

    1. Kathy Kruger

      Totally with you Lydia – I (and I think most people) get inspired by amazing things happening in the face of adversity – I’m sure the experience in Siem Reap would have been really powerful and perspective changing.

  4. Michelle@myslowlivingadventure

    Great advice Kathy. I call it hitting my reset button which I do when I’m feeling overwhelmed with something. I guess that’s what you are saying with Zone Out. I like to reconnect with the scenario in a totally different way once I’ve reset, usually through transient meditation.

    1. Kathy Kruger

      That’s a good strategy Malinda. I think as long as distraction doesn’t become procrastination then it’s a great way to flick the switch on a new perspective.

  5. Zanni Arnot

    I definitely like the idea of putting yourself in someone else’s shoes! If someone is a bit rude, I usually try to think “What’s going on for them right now?” It usually makes me feel better, at least.

    1. Kathy Kruger

      It’s a great attitude Zanni and it makes sense because we know instinctively that unless we’ve been in immediate conflict with someone their bad mood says more about them than it does about us.

    1. Kathy Kruger

      Thanks Tegan – you’ve got to put on the objective lens when you remember – try to strip away the judgment and look at yourself as a friend. Easier said than done of course.

    1. Kathy Kruger

      Thanks Leanda – aged care must teach you a lot – as a society we have so much to learn from older people and perspective about the ravages, lessons and wisdom of time is available to us if we listen.

  6. Grace

    Reflecting is always a good one. Tough at times but trying to peel away from the painful emotions and just try to think about the incident in a more objective view can do wonders in finding forgiveness.

    1. Kathy Kruger

      I think it takes a saint to forgive in the heat of the moment – the rest of us can only try for that space and time to find clarity and forgiveness. Thanks Grace.

  7. Liz

    Lovely ideas for snapping ourselves out of a negative mindset Kathy. The challenge now (as you say) is to remember to use them!

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