“If you don’t like the world you see, change the prescription of your glasses” – (Chu, 1995, p41)
This is largely about your choices and what you actively decide to focus on and attend to. It’s about where you consequently choose to direct your energy and time.
Getting this right will help you to make the time to pursue the things that lift and inspire you, to actively seek out new and fresh perspectives.
Some of this will involve your ‘self- talk’, the things you are habitually saying to yourself. For example when I am particularly tired and low, I can find myself repeatedly telling myself “I am so tired”, which is by in large true. But I think the continual repetition of this phrase doesn’t help me to feel better about myself or my situation. All it seems to do, is keep me ‘stuck’ in not such a great place. I might well be better off saying, “I need to rest and recharge” and then actively plan how I will achieve this.
So, take the time over the next few days to notice the messages you are habitually sending to yourself and the affect they are having on you. What are you are choosing to dwell on at this present time?
Also consider what others might be picking up from you. Are you inadvertently leaking or sending out ‘unhelpful’ or negative messages?
Do you have a tendency to focus and dwell on the problems you face rather than on possible solutions and opportunities? There’s a balance to be had between recognising that there is a problem and then focusing on getting through.
You might also find it helpful to consider whether you are naturally more inclined to think things are generally within your control Internal Locus of Control or that things are generally outside of your control External Locus of Control.
People with an Internal Locus of Control, generally feel more control and ownership of their destiny. They tend to attribute success and achievements in life to their own efforts and they tend to take the control they can in any given situation. Making them in general, happier, less depressed and less stressed.
However people with an External Locus of Control, will tend to feel that they are at the ‘mercy of fate’, that there is little they can do to change things. They can find it difficult to identify and take the control that is available to them and may use negative ‘self-talk’ to maintain a position of ‘victimhood’.
If you have a tendency towards an External Locus of Control, you may well need to work a little harder to refocus and identify the ways in which you can take greater control. Some strategies for this include:
1) Accepting and recognising, that you have a choice – you just may not like the choices that are available.
2) Learning to generate ideas, when feeling trapped – brainstorm options either on your own or with a friend. Be playful and open, the one idea that initially sounds ‘crazy’ might just be the thing that will move you forward.
3) Using different stances to explore the ideas you’ve generated. You could take the stance of Dreamer, Realist and Cynic to explore an idea and evaluate the pros and cons.
4) Noticing your language and changing it – change ‘I have no choice’, ‘I can’t’ to ‘I choose not to’ or ‘I don’t like my choices, but I will……
- Find a hobby, an alternative focus that absorbs and engages you.
- Find the things that give you joy and make the time do them.
- Look for the humour in situations. Most will have one, even if you have to dig it out
- Look for ways to be creative and playful
- Be grateful, ask yourself on a daily basis, what am I grateful for today?
- Use quotes and or affirmations to shift your focus and broaden your perspective, ‘tomorrow is another day’, is a favourite of mine.
- Seek out those things that uplift you:- for me this can be a as simple as looking out of the window at some clear blue sky
So in terms of your focus:
What do you need to let go of? – What unhelpful language, phrases, beliefs?
What do you need to take on? – What activities, places or people will help renew your perspective?
What are you actually going to do, now?