By Bernadette Keogh
Our theme for our Morning Mindset sessions last week was “New Perspective November”. Why is this an important topic? Being aware of and actively engaging in new perspective taking can be a very powerful tool in managing our stress response and our levels of happiness.
For example, how we interpret events has a tremendous effect on your stress level. Read the following scenarios and notice your initial response.
When a recent date doesn’t call back, does that mean the romance is cooling off, or that the person is busy? Does a speeding ticket mean the world is against you, or that you need to slow down? Is showing your emotions a sign of weakness, or a sign of courage?
Due to the brain's natural negativity bias it is not unusual for our first response to be a negative interpretation. This often happens quickly and unconsciously - we don't even realise we're doing it. However, this lack of awareness can keep you in a self-perpetuating cycle of stress and anxiety.
The first step in taking a new perspective is noticing these automatic negative interpretations - and the second empowering and powerful step is to cultivate an awareness of other options and interpretations. To the point where something that seems like a disaster could be viewed as an opportunity.
Another way we can take a new perspective is trying out and learning new things - one of the keys to happier living. Learning affects our well-being in lots of positive ways. It exposes us to new ideas and helps us stay curious and engaged. It also gives us a sense of accomplishment and helps boost our self-confidence and resilience.
Below we share 5 ways that you can explore new perspectives over the coming week:
1. Choose a new route and see what you notice on the way
Whether it is your route to work or the supermarket or a jogging route – try a new route and see what you notice. Even just doing your usual route in reverse can bring an interesting new perspective.
2. Broaden your perspective - read a different newspaper, magazine or website
Social media and websites have algorithms that show you content based on past content you have looked at or engaged in – this really narrows your world view and reinforces your ingrained beliefs. Try something new and be open to what you might learn.
3. Look at life through someone else's eyes and see their perspective
Perhaps you have had a recent challenge with someone – can you try and view the situation from the other’s perspective? Or if you are feeling disgruntled with your life at the moment – take a moment to reflect on how someone less fortunate than you might view your life.
4. Make a list of new things you would like to do in the coming month
There are many ways to learn new things - not just through formal qualifications. We can share a skill with friends, join a club, learn to sing, play a new sport and so much more. What new activities or skills would you like to try?
5. Respond to a difficult situation in a different way
Perhaps your automatic response to difficult situations is to get angry, shout, go quiet and withdraw, feel resentment or comfort eat. The next time you face a difficult situation create some space (perhaps a few deep breaths) and consider how can you respond differently?
You can join Berni and our other mindfulness coach, Jonny, on MobGroup Live every Monday - Thursday at 08:45am.