I’m so excited to kick off my “Year of Genuine Wellness” with Month One’s topic, PERSPECTIVE. To get some background info regarding my Year of Wellness, check out my recent blog posts where I lay out twelve of my favorite tips for genuine mental wellness. Spoiler, I will be focusing on one of the twelve topics each month for a year (sounds fun, right!?). You can see part I here and part II here.
Perspective. This is probably the topic that comes up most whenever I’m discussing my personal wellness journey, so it makes sense that I’m focusing on this topic first. I think it particularly applies to me because my obsessive need for control is a leading contributor to my anxiety, and while I can’t control most things in life, I can control my perspective and how I approach a given situation. It’s such an important and integral tool for me when it comes to my mental wellbeing. It allows me to enjoy situations that I normally wouldn’t enjoy. It allows me to let things go that I normally would have a hard time letting slide. It allows me to feel gratitude & pride when I would normally feel like I’m failing at something or not living my best life. And it allows me to see the bright side of seemingly dark scenarios.
I can actually remember a specific instance when I realized how powerful it is to be in control of my perspective. This instance was an out-of-town weekend away celebrating a specific event with a group of people I’ve had some “meh” experiences with. As an introvert, being outside of my comfort zone with large groups of people I’m not comfortable with is simply not my cup of tea. But at the same time, I love traveling with my soon-to-be fiancé and exploring new places. So while this weekend was exciting because I was traveling with Matt, it was also stressful because of where we were going and what we were doing. So I found myself in this weird place, looking forward to a long weekend of fun with my partner-in-crime in a new city, but also worrying that it was going to be blah & dramatic because of our obligations to the group of people we were with and also because we had zero say in the activities or control over the schedule. Keep in mind, I don’t go into every situation with large groups of people dreading it and wishing I was the center of attention. There is far more background into the dynamics of this group, which I won’t get into, but I’m sure you can imagine.
So here’s where a mindful & intentional change in perspective saved the weekend….
Initial Perspective: I’m so excited for a weekend away with Matt, it’s going to be so much fun exploring this new city, finding the best spots for plant-forward food, window shopping the downtown area & day drinking. I hope we have lots of time to ourselves, and that we aren’t expected to be with the group 100% of the time. This is a mini vacation for us and we should be able to enjoy it.
Adjusted Perspective: This weekend is not about Matt & me. This is a planned event where someone else is the focus and if I’m going to be there, my role is to participate in the scheduled activities, to be as helpful as possible and to lead the charge in positive energy. This might not feel like a vacation, and we might not get any time to ourselves, but that’s ok, because this is one weekend of my life, and I am grateful to be included.
Actual Results: I ended up having a blast! I focused on being a positive force at each event, helping out wherever & whenever possible, being flexible & going with the flow. We ended up getting some time to ourselves too, without forcing it, which felt like a bonus. I left to go home feeling bonded with the group and looking forward to the next event with them.
This was a major moment for me. I realized that any situation can become a better and/or more enriching one with a simple change in perspective. Yes, I recognize that this example is not a serious one. It’s kind of silly, not life or death, insignificant in the greater scheme of life. But the first step of being able to control perspective in more serious situations, is to begin practicing with the smaller, more trivial situations. So I hope this gives everyone something to think about. I loved writing this post because articulating my thoughts into words further solidified the message/lesson I’m trying to convey in my head – perspective is everything and that I always have the power within to control it.