Changing the way you see things can change your life

The way we perceive the world has a powerful impact on who we are, how we conduct ourselves and how we cope with major life events.

Heard the phrase, “Beauty is in the eye of the beholder?” Just as definitions of beauty vary from person to person, we each see the world in a unique way. One person might be miserable watching the cold rain pour outside their window, another will feel happy for the farmers and enjoy snuggling under a warm blanket.

Our lives are a balance of positives and negatives. Taking notice of the bright side and feeling grateful for what we have has a profound impact on our happiness and self-worth. We need to hold on tight to the good things, such as enjoying time with friends, achieving recovery milestones, becoming more independent, and pursuing our interests. If we focus on negatives, it leads to feelings of isolation and hopelessness and prevents the positives from nourishing us.

Wealth and popularity aren’t enough to bring us happiness, unless we’re thankful for them. Feeling depressed in a mansion surrounded by people can be very similar to feeling depressed and alone in a granny flat.

Focusing on the bright side can be a lot more complicated than just deciding to perk up! Negativity can be a heavy load to carry, though ditching it can be challenging. It can take practice to truly believe that feelings of anxiety don’t necessarily mean that something “bad” is going to happen, that feelings of guilt don’t mean you’ve done something “wrong”, and that feeling angry isn’t always justified. Our thoughts and emotions, in themselves, are not reliable proof something is "true". It is our duty to challenge our negative beliefs. Regardless of our perceptions, we are each, ultimately responsible for our actions.

Feelings of anxiety and doubt can prevent us reaching for the things we want. When you feel daunted, rather than allowing it to dictate what you can and cannot achieve, consider exploring why you’re experiencing these feelings. Are your negative expectations based on fact? Is there an insurmountable obstacle you can identify?

I’ve experienced times of severe anxiety and depression. My brain can be abuzz. Thankfully, I am surrounded by friends and support people who are happy to hear me out. While it isn’t always pleasant, I confide in people who aren’t afraid to challenge me or my world view. It takes a true friend to tell you what you need to hear rather than what you want to hear.

By Grant J Everett, Panorama magazine


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