Seven Creative Ways to Change Your Perspective
Do little things make you unnecessarily stressed?
Do you feel a nagging sense of dissatisfaction with your life?
Do you struggle to see other peopleâ€™s point of view?
Itâ€™s often hard to keep a sense of perspective in our lives. Weâ€™re constantly bombarded with urgent-seeming stimuli â€“ 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.
And we often grumble and complain about problems in our life, while ignoring all the good things which we have. We might get blinkered and feel that our opinions are the right ones.
Changing your perspective can be incredibly refreshing. It might:
- Open up new possibilities that you hadnâ€™t thought of before
- Help you to heal a relationship with someone who you thought had â€œstupidâ€ values and opinions
- Calm you down when youâ€™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:
#1: Ask â€œWill it Matter in Five Yearsâ€?
When Iâ€™m anxious about something, this is what I often ask myself. Almost always, the answer is that it wonâ€™t matter in a week, let alone in five years.
Some days â€“ even some moments â€“ are life-changing. Youâ€™ve probably been through some of these â€“ like exams, job interviews, the decision to get married, or buying a house.
Most of what we worry about, though, is fleeting and trivial. Maybe youâ€™ve made a mistake at work, or youâ€™ve had a dinner crisis which means your family is eating pizza for the third time in three days. Itâ€™s really not worth stressing yourself over.
#2: Draw or Write About a Situation
Maybe youâ€™ve got a big decision to make, or a big problem to confront. It might have been on your mind for days or weeks; it could even be something that youâ€™ve talked about (or argued about) with your partner.
The problem is, you feel like youâ€™re not getting anywhere. Youâ€™re just as uncertain or anxious as you were before.
This is a great time to grab a pen and paper. Either write about the problem â€“ perhaps in the style of a journal entry, or as a list of ideas â€“ or draw something which 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, perspective. Chances are, youâ€™ll find several possible solutions.
#3: Write a List of Things Youâ€™re Grateful For
Whatever your current situation, youâ€™ve got loads of great things in your life too. Some of us (me included!) find it all too easy to moan about stuff which isnâ€™t going well â€“ but pretty hard to spot the everyday good things which we take for granted.
Spend five minutes writing a list of things which youâ€™re grateful for. They can be big (â€œmy parentsâ€™ love and supportâ€) or small (â€œfresh coffeeâ€). This is a powerful exercise to do on a regular basis, perhaps every week. You can also do it as a family.
#4: Go For a Walk
When Iâ€™m feeling a bit fed up or out of sorts, I try to get outside for a walk. Often I donâ€™t feel like doing it â€“ but as soon as Iâ€™m out and moving, I find my mood dramatically improving.
Walking is a great way to get yourself physically away from whateverâ€™s stressing you (your work, the state of the house…) and to give yourself a chance to think. If you can head somewhere relaxing, like a local park or area of woodland, youâ€™ll find that your thoughts quieten down and that itâ€™s easier to get things into perspective.
#5: Go Travelling
Getting away from home â€“ whether thatâ€™s for a few days or a few months â€“ 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 youâ€™d like to add into your daily life).
If you go abroad, youâ€™ll be able to experience a completely new perspective. Youâ€™ll see how life can be lived in hundreds of very different ways. Youâ€™ll have the space and time to reflect on your own life, and you may well be motivated to make big changes.
Even the duller bits of travelling can be powerful: a long airplane ride might be a rare opportunity to read a whole book in one sitting, for instance.
#6: Ask â€œWhyâ€ â€“ And Keep Asking
Next time youâ€™re struggling to get perspective, ask why you do something. Channel your inner child here â€“ be tenacious in pushing for a real answer!
If youâ€™re working a job you hate, why are you doing it? Perhaps itâ€™s for the money â€“ but do you really need that money? (You may well do. But itâ€™s possible that youâ€™re trying to support a lifestyle thatâ€™s actually making you miserable.)
It can be uncomfortable to look at the reasons why weâ€™re pursuing the goals that we have. But by being honest with yourself, you can open up the possibility of change.
#7: Listen to An Argument for The Other Side
Most of us have deeply held beliefs on some subjects â€“ perhaps religion, politics, morality, social justice, or similar weighty issues.
You might find it very hard to understand how anyone could be so crazy as to support the â€œopponentsâ€ of your particular viewpoint. Itâ€™s an interesting exercise to read or listen to an argument put forwards by a group which youâ€™d normally totally disagree with.
Iâ€™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 well disagree with them â€“ but itâ€™s useful to see where theyâ€™re coming from.
This can be a powerful and even upsetting way to change your perspective, so proceed with caution, and donâ€™t get drawn into arguments yourself: just listen and make the effort to understand.
Are there any areas of life where you need to get some perspective? If youâ€™ve got any thoughts or ideas to share, the comments are open…
Photo by Helga Weber