Easy Perspective Shifts to Enhance Your Life
“This is a test of the Emergency Broadcast System!”
Perspective is everything: As a kid, the above announcement would haphazardly blare from the television: I’d cover my ears, irritated by the interruptive hole it punched in any afterschool rerun we were watching. My buddy Calvin’s perspective was vastly different: the televised notice sparked nightmarish visions of Cold War annihilation, sending his anxiety skyrocketing.
Our parents, however, were reassured by the shrill drill – perhaps comforted with the perspective that the government had a broadcastable safety-net in place in case of national emergency….
As an adult, I find it fascinating that singular events can create such varied perspectives. Nowadays, a good percentage of my psychotherapy and coaching involves helping others identify, update, and then implement alternative ways of perceiving their lives in order to enhance their well-being.
What you see and what you hear greatly depends on where you are standing. It also depends on what sort of person you are.
Humans are linear thinkers. Prompted by our brain’s executive functioning abilities, we create to-do lists and schedule ourselves in attempts to manage life’s occurrences. Such habits helped us evolve: If we could control our environments, we could then contain any threats to our survival.
Today, in our multi-tasking society, it is rare for our days to unfold exactly as planned and this is taxing to our sensory setup. Our expanded abilities to travel and communicate, as well as the blistering upturn in our expectations of ourselves and others, has created a society of multi-level functioning. Controlling all of this becomes an energy-draining challenge for brains designed to 1. evaluate for threat, and 2. contain and control danger.
Perspective as a Thinking Cure
Although biologically rewiring your brain is impossible, you can update the way you use your perspective to better fit into today’s complicated scenarios. Here are two proven methods:
1. Controlling perceptions: Counterbalancing emotionality with logic is possible. Sustaining this perspective allows you to exhale and conduct yourself with enhanced confidence – which then increases your happiness and productivity. Fact-checking is a technique that neutralizes fight-or-flight tendencies. When anxious, actively scan for the perspective that is underlying the feeling you are experiencing. Ask yourself if the perceived threat is real or imagined. As you recognize the fallacy of your thought, your body will recalibrate, allowing you to regain composure.
2. Allocating time and energy: Research indicates the company you keep effects your behaviors and even your stress levels. Positive relationships and increased self-esteem go hand-and-hand. So, if a person or an event is draining you, excuse yourself and move on.
Change the way you look at things and the things you look at change.
Cleaning up negative perspectives filters fear and cynicism from our lives, which goes a long way in stabilizing our sense of wellbeing. So the next time your internal Emergency Broadcast System interrupts your day – decisively change the channel.