When things get shit, gain perspective. Over the past year, I’ve become more alert to my mental health dips, and despite setbacks I have become more able to ride the wave and not get washed out to sea (for too long anyway).
A key tactic for me is to gain perspective. This might sound as though it’s easier said than done, but here’s a few ways I do it.
‘The helicopter’ technique.
I read about this in the book, ‘The Chimp Paradox’. This is a visual technique I like to use when I’m feeling stuck in or overwhelmed by a situation. Picture yourself in a helicopter, rising up directly above and looking down at the current situation, and yourself. The mere visualisation and looking down element of this technique allows you to see the situation from another level. You and those around you or the problem itself can start to appear smaller, and you start to see it for what it is…most likely not that important in the grand scheme of life. I sometimes take this technique further if I can, visualising looking down on the entire planet and realising you can’t see anyone even though you know there are billions of people below – and somehow, your issues doesn’t seem as magnified when it dawns on you the amount of people on the planet and the problems they are all facing right now.
Go a walk in a park and find a bench with a nice view.
I like to do this (weather permitting in Glasgow) at night after a crap day. During lockdown I’ve taken to walking through the local graveyard (eerie sounding I know) but I actually find it pretty peaceful there. It’s situated on a hillside and has amazing views over the city and beyond to the beautiful landscape. Again, this idea of looking down and seeing the houses, trees, skyscrapers and beyond makes me appreciate the world beyond my own, and all the people out their facing their own battles. I guess it’s the thought that it’s not all about you and your issues, there are so many others out there and in a sense we’re all just in it together trying to work out this thing called life.
Take a trip away, or even just get a change of scene.
As my granny used to say, “a change is as good as a rest”. And she was right. We can all easily get sucked into the same old routines – particularly for those working and living at home just now, as well as all the lockdown restrictions depending on where you live. We can fall into the same behaviours and thought patterns, being in the same environment and ending up in an unhealthy cycle of negative or repetitive thinking. I believe changing the environment around you is so important to gain a fresh perspective in life.
Go to a new park; walk a different route than you usually would; visit a part of the city you love and haven’t been to for a while; go a drive to the coast; try a new cafe and sit outside and watch the world go by.
Just change up the environment around you and witness your thought processes changing, often gaining a new and more positive perspective on things.
These are just some of the tactics that work for me and help me gain some perspective when things are a bit tough. I hope they help you when you need to do the same.