Alleviating Suffering through Perspective Shifting
By Christine Allison, MA, LPC, NCC
3 Simple Tricks for Finding Answers to Life’s Problems
This past weekend, I was assembling a piece of furniture that I had ordered online. You know that kind of furniture – it shows up in a box in a bunch of pieces with hard-to-follow directions, and it is usually a painfully slow assembly process. My partner had already tried assembling it last weekend and had given up, stating that the instructions were incorrect. Actually, he used much more colorful language than that. He was right. The images in the instructions did not match the actual pieces, especially relating to the location of the pre-drilled holes.
By shifting my perspective away from the pictures in the instructions and looking at the actual pieces of particle board, I was able to see a way to attach the pieces that he had not seen. It was a good reminder about how helpful it can be to shift our focus.
How Can I Shift My Focus?
When we are psychologically stuck, struggling or suffering, shifting our focus can be just the prompt we need to find a new direction. A new perspective can be a lifesaver. There are lots of ways to shift our perspective. For example, ask yourself these questions:
- What would you say to a dear friend struggling with the same issue?
- How would someone you deeply admire handle the situation?
- How would that person likely respond to this problem?
Often we have helpful wisdom inside of us. It is just a matter of accessing it.
Try This Method
Here is a brief visualization and journaling exercise that can help you shift perspective and access the wise and compassionate person inside of you. Bring to mind some area of your life in which you are currently stuck or struggling or not living in the way you want to live.
Write a brief description of this issue.
Then, close your eyes and imagine yourself 10 years from now. Imagine yourself as the best possible version of yourself. You are wiser and kinder. You are living a life that is fulfilling and meaningful. Take a moment to connect with this future image of yourself. See yourself and sense how it feels to be a wiser, gentler person. Now, imagine what this best possible version of yourself would say to you today about this issue with which you are struggling. What wisdom would you give to yourself? Hear in your mind what future-you would say to yourself today.
Write in your journal whatever helpful advice and gentle encouragement you would offer to yourself.
Take It to the Next Step
Journaling can be a helpful tool to draw wisdom from inside yourself and to find answers to problems. Here’s another journaling exercise that you can try. Write the answers to these questions:
- What is the probability that you might use this type of perspective-shifting again to help yourself through something that is difficult in the present moment?
- What could help you remember to shift your perspective?
- In what situations might perspective shifting be helpful for you?
- What are other ways you could shift your perspective?
Find Help from Others
Sometimes, it is hard to find the answers within ourselves. Talking with others can be a great way to organize our thoughts, draw out wisdom and chart a new path. At Wellness Treatment Center, professionals are ready to speak with you to help you find a fresh focus. Contact us for an appointment and let us help you learn to shift perspective and find the answers you need.