Does your perception need prodding?

As dreamy as it sounds to never come face-to-face with hard times, the reality is a far more sordid tale of heartbreak, stress, life pressures, and that classic fable of financial strain.

The sad fact is that life throws us curb balls, and as much as we try to dodge our way around said balls like an athlete on speed, more often that not, they’re simply unavoidable. We sidestep worry, duck under pain, run away from fear, and pivot around unhappiness, choosing avoidance rather than confrontation in more cases than not.

But here’s a novel idea, Happies. What would happen if we confronted our agonies, our issues, or moments of general ‘blahness’; explored why we were suddenly feeling the way we do; made notes and serious effort to change the situations around our feelings, and then, wait for it…ALTERED OUR PERCEPTION ON THE SITUATION.

In a field of fixed outcomes (shit happens, it’s life), perception, I believe, is one of the few variables we have in our deck of cards. It’s the wildcard, if you will. The card that with a little self-belief, mind power, and dedication, you can turn into anything you like. A positive, for instance.

I am a firm believer in looking for the silver lining. In most cases of day-to-day difficulties (obviously not tragic accidents, severe depression, etc), I feel there is scope to shift your perception and turn a negative scenario into a positive one.

Take work, for example. Say you’re hating your job, unhappy with the company, your work/life balance, your day-t0-day tasks, and you feel trapped, unfulfilled, a sense of daily dread and general unhappiness. You walk into work dragging your feet, focusing only on the negatives, and over time, this cycle of negativity draws you in deeper and deeper.

Sound familiar? THEN STOP!

Stop right now. This instant. Put all those negative feelings to one side, even if you have the worst job in the world and listen up.

Firstly, I want you to write a few lists. The first list is writing down all the things you have done to change your situation. More often than not, I find people spend far too much time complaining, and not nearly enough time planning their exit strategy. If you’ve found this to be you, start penning a plan of attack to get you to your happy place.

This may involve proactively looking for work, or maybe it’s as simple as speaking to your boss about that ‘thing’ that’s been playing on your mind for a while. Ask for more money; ask to work from home; ASK FOR WHAT YOU WANT! If you don’t ask, you will never receive. You owe it to yourself.

What this list will do is provide you with hope, and hope is the express train out of Mope Town, into Positive Valley. Pin this list up on a wall, and look at it daily, checking in to make sure you’re working towards your goals and sticking with your exit plan.

Next, I want you to write a list of the positive things associated with your work. Perhaps your workmates, your flexible hours, your corner office, your comfy chair… it doesn’t matter how small or insignificant it is, write down all the GOOD things about your current environment.

Once you’ve listed all the positives, focus on these rather than the negatives. What this does is shift your perception away from the negative, into a positive mindset. It’s a short-term fix while you work on your exit strategy, but it is also a crucial step towards attracting more positivity into your life. Remember: Like attracts like, so if you’re Positive Pam, you’ll attract Positive Pams and repel Negative Naomis. If, however, you’re Negative Naomi, more Negative Naomis will be knocking on your door and you’ll all be moping around together. Not fun!

There’s no easy fix to feeling unhappy in your life, I know that, and I’m not discounting that people go through extremely tough times that are hard to pull out of. But if there’s some way you could shift your perception just a little so that you’re focusing on the positives as much as possible, your life will turn around more than you could ever imagine. No dodging required!

Stay Happy,

Yaz x

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One comment

  1. Chloe · February 9, 2012

    Great advice. My auntie gave me similar advice last year when I was getting over a really heartbreaking break-up. It was months later and my mind kept creeping back to feeling like crap everyday. Her advice was to write in a “What Went Right” journal every night, which was basically just writing down every good thing that happened that day.
    Boring days would be “caught the bus on time”, “had a nice chat with a co-worker”, to the great days which included “met a cute boy” who is now my wonderful boyfriend!
    The point is that it forced me to notice the positives (I had to write a minimum of 5 things that were good in my day) and writing it last thing at night meant I finished my day and went to sleep focusing on good things. A great idea, even if you’re not going through a hard time.

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