Spring is here! Nature is coming alive and you are invited to come alive. Are you interested? Through the course of my life, I have discovered some easy ways to become light hearted and happy. What if you too adopted this attitude in your life? What if you tried one slight change in your perspective, in order to become more fully the person God is calling you to be? I have written up a few ideas that you may wish to try in order to develop a New Perspective on life.
- You can only change yourself. Make the decision to abandon thoughts of changing any situation or anyone but yourself. The only control you really have is over your own response to a given person or event. You do not have to let another person’s dysfunction create distress for you. When you discover that you generally get negative or complain more when you are with a certain person, recognize that they are sending off negativity. Try to step away if possible or look for distractions. Release your illusion that you can change that person or circumstance; you will then have more energy, time and attention to focus on improving your own life.
- Practice an attitude of “Reframing”. Since we are human, there are going to be times when we are not pleased about a situation or a person. Rather than make it into a catastrophe, say the least negative statement that is still true and you will find that it will bother you less. Instead of using the phrase “I hate”, substitute “I don’t care for” or “I don’t like”. They are gentler words that are still true but evoke less intensity.
- Make neutral statements about challenging events. Try this exercise. Think about something that you are going to do tomorrow. Put the activity into a sentence and say “I have to __________”. How does your body feel? Burdened or stressed? Now try repeating it using the phrase, “I am going to________”. Notice how much more relaxed your body feels about the same activity. We are impacted by our attitude and words. If we talk as if something is catastrophic, we experience it that way. If we speak more impartially about a situation or event, we will act as if that is the case.
- Create a list of “Touchstones”. Write a list of hobbies, places and people that fill you with joy or activities that you find intriguing and would like to explore. Pull out your calendar and make a date to do some of these activities. Keep the list of touchstones handy and choose to do another action on a day that you are bored or sad.
- Discover your passion. What fills you with enthusiasm? What would you love to do? People rarely excel at tasks they do not feel passionate about. When you attempt to follow someone else’s idea of your “passion”, you produce results but they take more time and energy. When you are living your passion, and doing what God has called you to do, you will find that you excel more effortlessly and elatedly. Get out a pencil and pad and fill in the phrase “I love to…” Write this 10 times and see what pops up.
Life is filled with endless hope and possibilities. What if you were too? The invitation is to create positive actions in your life. What I would like to propose is that you look at that list of activities that make you feel most alive or intrigued and explore it or incorporate it into your life for the next thirty days. See if it helps you develop a new perspective and embrace your life more fully.
JoAnne Ceccarelli-Egan LCSW is a motivational speaker and has a private counseling practice at Our Lady of Calvary