Changing your perspective is not easy; especially when life throws curve balls at you.
Maybe you didn’t get that promotion and your bills are piling up. Or, you’re experiencing pain in your back and you don’t know why.
Perhaps you got a flat tire on your way into work and you missed an important meeting.
Some days, it could be all of these things wrapped into one…or at least it feels like it.
In times like this, we can fall back on some wise words from Captain Jack Sparrow: “The problem is not the problem. Your attitude about the problem is the problem.”
Captain Jack’s words might seem harsh, but they ring true.
The words of wisdom are actually rooted in a widely accepted and ancient philosophy called Stoicism.
The Stoics believed in many things, but one of their core ideas was this; it is possible to change your perspective to eliminate personal suffering, allowing you to see the beauty in every single second.
Sounds pretty awesome, right?
Obviously, this is easier said than done.
But the Stoics were on to something here. The power of perspective is talked about everywhere you look.
It’s even one of the core teachings in Buddhism.
Essentially, it comes down to this: Pain is inevitable, but suffering is optional.
We have control over the way we perceive the world and the things that happen to us on a daily basis.
Changing our perspective is a skill, and once we develop that skill we can make some real magic happen.
Finding the Right Tools for the Job
Once you recognize that your perspective is under your control it’s time to get to work.
Before you can build up the skill of shifting your perception, you need the right tools.
Some techniques might work wonders for you, and some might fall short. The game is finding what works for you and sticking with it.
Here are 3 tools you can use to help gain control over your perspective.
The way we breathe not only affects our brain chemistry, but also the way we respond and react to everything we experience.
When something goes wrong, our first reaction is almost always going to be negative.
Remember that fun thing we have called negativity bias? We can combat this reaction by changing our breathing patterns.
Even just a few, deep rhythmic breaths can dramatically shift our state of mind.
Breathwork starts to change our overall perspective of life when we adopt it as a frequent habit.
It trains us to slows down our judgments and reactions and allows us to separate ourselves from our perceived problems.
Box breathing is a great exercise to start with.
Gratitude is a superpower, plain and simple. There is no other emotion that has such profound effects on our overall perspective of life.
One of the amazing things about gratitude is that it upstages other emotions if you practice at it.
For example, if you feel anxious and then do a gratitude exercise, the feeling of gratefulness can overtake the feeling of anxiety.
The key to gratitude is you need to actively pursue it. It needs to be cultivated, like a garden.
The more time you spend tending to your garden of gratitude, the taller it grows.
There are dozens of ways to build up your skill of gratitude, you can start here.
Often times, our perspective is clouded by ruminating on the past or worrying about the future.
Mindfulness teaches us how to anchor ourselves in the present. This eliminates all of the stress and worries about the past and future.
It is only when we are truly in the present that we can see the beauty in every single second, just like the Stoics talked about.
Out of all of these tools, mindfulness takes the most practice. But, it can also be the most powerful technique, when it comes to changing your perspective.
Get started with this free, guided exercise.