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They say a change is as good as a rest and I couldn’t agree more. Have you ever noticed how when you go on holiday you can be filled with energy and inspiration? Suddenly you come up with a list of things that you want to change about your life when you get home and you are filled with such determination that you are sure it will never go away? Then you return home and after a few days you are back to the way you were before. Tired, unmotivated and annoyed with yourself for ever thinking you could change things. The truth is that it is very very difficult to make big life changes or even small ones when everything around you is exactly the same. Perhaps you are surrounded by the same people who have a negative influence, or maybe your job just destroys your motivation. Whatever filter you see the world with in your day to day life somehow becomes miraculously rose tinted when you are on holiday or somewhere totally different. You have to see the world with a new filter because you are in unknown territory and your brain is trying to normalize it for you. This takes time and you get to enjoy a fresh new perspective before your old self talk and brain filters take over and resume control.
When it comes to creating a healthy lifestyle that works for you, it can be incredibly difficult to incorporate new habits into your same old routine. It is therefore important to keep yourself on your toes by allowing your usual ‘life filters’ to change. These filters are, simply put, the way we see the world from our own perspective. When we actively try to change the way we mentally see, or frame a situation then we can start to shift our perspective. For example, a client of mine said that whenever she saw a person eating a bowl of salad she thought of them as “one of those people who eats salad all the time”, but one day she tried to look at what other situations that person might be in such as “maybe they are really hungover and want to be healthy today, maybe they are on a health kick, maybe they actually like salad”. She said that when she actively tried to change her perspective of that situation, she herself felt less guilty about what she was ordering, and even felt more like following by example! She no longer saw that person as ‘one of those people’ thus separating herself from the idea that she could ever be a ‘healthy person’ but rather she was able to see that she too could be ‘one of those people’. The idea of ‘us versus them’ was eliminated. She found herself in a new situation although physically she was sitting in the same chair at the same table as a few seconds ago. Everything had changed.
Simple exercises such a trying to see things from a different or more positive perspective can have a huge impact on our day to day lives. We are in effect taking a break from our usual ways and therefore find ourselves in different situations. Think of it like a holiday for your brain and emotions. The great thing about mental holidays is that you become better and better until eventually you can find yourself being able to apply them to emotionally draining, difficult situations and toxic people. A shift in perspective can really shake things up for you. Next time you go away and find yourself motivated and happy, instead of trying to capture the feeling and praying it will hang around long enough to help you out, pay attention to how differently you are thinking and why. How can you incorporate this filter into your everyday life when you get home?
If you aren’t planning a great escape this summer then have no fear, shifting perspective is thankfully a portable pastime and can be not only rewarding and life changing but really, really fun. The bonus here is that when you start to do this, and the more you practice the more you will notice little changes starting to happen in your life and the people you are with. Changes like these give us energy and create space in our brain for positivity. Give your mind a rest this summer.
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