By using your perspective, you can boost your wellbeing and meaning whether you’re currently facing significant problems or you’re life is humming smoothly along. Your wellbeing is important. It’s your level of comfort with yourself when your with others and when you’re by yourself. Your wellbeing is your emotional stability, your satisfaction in relationships, and your overall quality of life. Regardless of how you feel about the state of your wellbeing, you can enhance it with your perspective.
Life, however, can be rocky, and being human isn’t always easy. How can you maintain wellbeing when you’re unsure of yourself and your relationships or when you experience emotional turmoil or when it seems that the quality of your life is backsliding? Not only can you maintain your wellbeing no matter what’s going on in your head and in your life, you can enhance it. Directing your perspective is among the many effective ways to boost your wellbeing and sense of meaning in your life.
Perspective, Meaning, and the Events in Your Life
To be sure, life can be tough. Terrible things happen that sometimes derail us. Then there are just bad days and little imperfections. The idea of choosing our perspective–what we choose to pay attention to, how we shape our thoughts, our attitude–can seem hollow.
In reality, it isn’t at all hollow but is solid and legitimate. It’s about meaning-making. When something happens that’s beyond your control, the way it impacts your life and your outlook is about the meaning you give it. For example:
- Nothing is all bad, so what are the positives here?
- Will I grow from this experience?
- How will things be different? What will remain unchanged?
- How will my goals and visions for who I am, how am am, and what I do be affected by this?
- How do I interpret this and other people, places, and events in my life?
Our answers to the questions we ask ourselves shape the meaning we place on situations. Answers and meaning develop largely from our perspective–how we see, examine, and interpret our inner and outer world. Here are four ways to use your perspective to boost your wellbeing.
4 Tips For Using Perspective for Wellbeing
- Let things be how they are rather than placing a value judgement on them. The brain judges as a way to keep us safe and away from harmful situations; however, that is only an instinct. We can bypass that with the advanced parts of our brain. You might not like someone’s actions, but when you’re stuck evaluating them and overthinking them, you risk catastrophizing and other automatic negative thoughts which increases anxiety and stress. When you notice these experiences, breathe slowly and deeply and shift your attention and broaden your perspective.
- Experience things mindfully. To develop a non-judgmental perspective, practice mindfulness. Notice your surroundings. What do you see? Hear? Feel? Smell? Taste (when appropriate)? Having a mindful perspective happens when you notice the real, tangible world around you and pay attention to it on purpose rather than on anxious thoughts and upsetting judgments.
- Appreciate the good. What do you enjoy? Pause to notice what is going well? Identify what makes you happy despite things that make you unhappy? This isn’t the same as applying judgments. This is simply an acknowledgement that there are positives in your life. Having gratitude for the good helps keep the not-so-good in perspective.
- Know what’s important to you. Knowing your values is an important part of developing your perspective. The focal point of healthy perspective is about values: people and relationships, beliefs, and goals that are meaningful to you. When you notice anxiety flare, check in with yourself. What are you paying attention to, and how are you thinking about it? Is your perspective moving you toward your values?
A final question about perspective and wellbeing: Do you see the doughnut or the hole? Do positives and potential dominate your perspective, or do see and focus on the hole?
Journals can be outstanding tools to help us examine and adjust our perspective. Take a peel at The 5-Minute Anxiety Relief Journal and The Mindfulness Journal for Anxiety to help you know what you want to look for.