Have you ever had one of THOSE days? It seems like for many people lately, having one of THOSE days is happening much more frequently.
Recently, I was having one of THOSE days… Quite honestly, I was frustrated and fed-up with “it”! I decided I need to spend a little time in nature. As I walked on the beach, high tide forced me to go up on the dune in order to continue with my walk. As I stopped on the dune and looked out at Cape Cod Bay, I discovered a very cool new angle to this very familiar stretch of beach. This new perspective caused me to look at something I often took for granted in a new and different way.
As I continued my walk, I considered how changing my perspective about some of the frustrating things that had occurred earlier that day, could actually improve my current feelings about those situations so I could successfully move forward.
When we’re immersed in a situation, that is not going well, and it’s causing us to get upset, frustrated or even angry, it may seem almost impossible to shift our perspective. However, I would propose shifting our perspective is a skill we can learn, just like patience and kindness.
How do you start to learn to shift your perspective? Since my walk on the beach, here are a few tips that have been working for me.
1. Take a Deep Breath
One of the very first things I do when I notice I’m starting to head into one of “THOSE” situations or days is take a few deep breaths. And, if I’m standing, as I do the deep breaths, I will also consciously notice how my feet feel pressing against the ground.
2. Ask a Simple Question
I may then ask myself, “How can I see this differently?”. For example, if the situation is with another person, I put myself in the other person’s shoes and look at it from their perspective. Acknowledging, the other person’s perspective, even if you don’t agree with them, shows the person you are engaged and have heard what they have said. This can go a long way to moving something forward when there isn’t agreement.
Laughing at myself can help to diffuse a situation AND more importantly, it gives me the opportunity to see myself from a different perspective. I may not be thrilled with that perspective and that can be a great motivator for change.
4. Take a Break
Sometimes I find the best antidote to one of “THOSE” situations, is to take a break and/or remove myself from the situation. Getting outside is one of my favorite ways to clear my head. Spending a little time doing something you love to do even completing a task that doesn’t require much brain power can also be a great way to take a break.
5. Be Grateful
Finally, if I am really struggling shifting to a new perspective in a situation, I look for something I can be grateful. For example, when I found out I was scheduled to do a presentation for my networking group very early the morning after I have an evening program, instead of getting overwhelmed, I thought about the opportunities associated with both of these speaking engagements. I was also grateful it wasn’t book on some of the other dates on my calendar, when it might have been an even crazier time.
Sometimes when we get very attached to our own perspectives, it becomes difficult to see a situation in a different way. I find, taking the deep breaths and finding a new angle to see things from (like up on the dune during my beach walk), can help me shift the situation and improve the ability to come to a resolution more quickly.
What would change for you, if you looked at some of your challenging situations from a new perspective?