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When Times Are Rough, This Will Add Perspective

When Times Are Rough, This Will Add Perspective

It has often been said that it isn’t what happens to us that causes distress, rather it is our interpretation of the event that evokes emotional reactions – good or bad. Our thoughts have far more influence over the quality of our lives than many of us realize. I know this from talking to many clients who perceive life as happening to them, rather than them having control over their lives. There are many things in life that thwart our efforts and many events are beyond our control… so it makes sense to focus on what we can control – our thoughts. When times are rough, seeing the good in people, being optimistic and adopting an appreciative attitude towards what is good in your life is the first, and most crucial step to enjoying life more.

Now for a little perspective. When times are rough and all seems lost, it can help to remind yourself of a few facts:

1. When you’re stuck in traffic on the way to work

Think about those barefoot African children walking an average six miles per day just to get water. There’s no comfy car to sit in or an interesting news story to listen to on the radio. Life is reduced to basic survival.

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https://www.flickr.com/photos/unitednationsdevelopmentprogramme/9262297987/in/photostream/

    2. If you dislike your job

    Give a thought to those working in shocking conditions in sweat shops around the world. In developing countries, an estimated 250 million children ages 5 to 14 are forced to work and every cent they earn goes towards feeding their families. Many don’t have a life outside of work.

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      3. When you haven’t got much spare money at the end of the month

      Remind yourself of all those who don’t get a choice between spending money on a new pair of shoes, a cinema ticket, or using their credit card as back-up. More than 842 million people – or one in eight people in the world – do not have enough to eat. Sixty-six million primary school-age children attend classes hungry across the developing world, with 23 million in Africa alone.

      Somalia Suffers from Worst Drought in Century
        4. When you feel trapped in your marriage and feel you are going through a rough patch

        Be thankful that you are not one of the estimated 51 million girls younger than 18 that are child brides – forced into marriage with a stranger. Over the next decade, another 100 million girls will become child brides. Their lives are, in many cases, pre-determined. 

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          5. If you resent having to go to school or having to attend professional development seminars for work

          Think of the recent story about the Nigerian girls who were kidnapped from their school. All they wanted was to get an education against the odds and to build a better future for themselves. This basic right is being denied.

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            6. If you or your partner’s lack of libido is causing problems in your relationship

            Imagine the life for those that get forced into the sex trade. Human trafficking is the third largest international crime industry (behind illegal drugs and arms trafficking). It reportedly generates a profit of $32 billion every year. Of that number, $15.5 billion is made in industrialized countries. Between 14,500 and 17,500 people are trafficked into the U.S. alone each year. Love and desire are not part of the equation.

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              7. When you’re having an ‘ugly day’ or a ‘bad hair day’

              Spare a thought for those victims of acid attacks. Many victims survive the initial attack and spend the rest of their lives dealing with the psychological, physical and emotional aftermath. They also suffer from social isolation from which there is little escape. These, mostly female victims have no choice but to focus on their inner beauty and detach from their physical appearance. 

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                8. Even when life seems at an all time low

                There is still control over your experiences of the world around you, what you tell yourself and your inner mind. Viktor Frankl wrote a book about his experience as a concentration camp victim in Auschwitz. Despite the bleak surroundings, he understood that his captors could not take his spirit, his memories and his ability to choose his thoughts about the situation. (Viktor Frankl’s – Man’s Search for Meaning) 

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                  You become the person you think you are. If you think you’re someone who will never amount to anything… guess what? You’re right. What would your life look like if there were no rules and you couldn’t fail? The way that you interpret your life experience creates your identity and determines the quality of your life. Make your thinking work for you, not against you.

                  No one can ever take away your right to interpret life in a way that works for you. I say – do what works! Being a pessimist never works and nurturing an optimistic attitude will serve you well. Focus on what is good and working well in your life. Write a gratitude journal once a day listing things that make you happy – even the smallest experience such as the sun shining or birds singing.

                  No one escapes life’s challenges – we all have our ‘cross to bear.’ Priming yourself to think more positively trains your brain to use different neurological pathways, so the more you practice gratitude, the more natural this outlook will become.

                  “You are today where your thoughts have brought you; you will be tomorrow where your thoughts take you.” James Allen

                  Featured photo credit: https://www.flickr.com/photos/moriza/176374054/in/photostream/ via flickr.com

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                  Mandy Kloppers

                  Mandy is a Psychologist/CBT therapist who believes getting through life is easier with a robust sense of humour.

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                  Last Updated on July 18, 2019

                  What Makes People Happy? 20 Secrets of “Always Happy” People

                  What Makes People Happy? 20 Secrets of “Always Happy” People

                  Some people just seem to float through life with a relentless sense of happiness – through the toughest of times, they’re unfazed and aloof, stopping to smell the roses and drinking out of a glass half full.

                  They may not have much to be happy about, but the simplicity behind that fact itself may make them happy.

                  It’s all a matter of perspective, conscious effort and self-awareness. Listed below are a number of reasons why some people are always happy.

                  1. They Manage Their Expectations

                  They’re not crushed when they don’t get what they want – or misled into expecting to get the most out of every situation. They approach every situation pragmatically, hoping for the best but being prepared for the worst.

                  2. They Don’t Set Unrealistic Standards

                  Similar to the last point, they don’t live their lives in a constant pursuit towards impossible visions of perfection, only to always find themselves falling short of what they want.

                  3. They Don’t Take Anything for Granted

                  Happiness rests with feeling fulfilled – those who fail to stop and appreciate what they have every now and again will never experience true fulfillment.

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                  4. They’re Not Materialistic

                  There are arguing viewpoints on whether or not money can really buy happiness; if it can, then we know from experience that we can never be satisfied because there will always be something newer or better that we want. Who has ever had enough money?

                  5. They Don’t Dwell

                  They don’t sweat the small things or waste time worrying about things that don’t really matter at the end of the day. They don’t let negative thoughts latch onto them and drain them or distract them. Life’s too short to worry.

                  6. They Care About Themselves First

                  They’re independent, care for themselves and understand that they must put their needs first in order to accommodate the needs of others.

                  They indulge, aim to get what they want, make time for themselves and are extremely self-reliant.

                  7. They Enjoy the Little Things

                  They stop to smell the roses. They’re accustomed to find serenity when it’s available, to welcome entertainment or a stimulating discussion with a stranger when it crosses their path. They don’t overlook the small things in life that can be just as important.

                  8. They Can Adapt

                  They’re not afraid of change and they work to make the most out of new circumstances, good or bad. They thrive under pressure, are not overwhelmed easily and always embrace a change of pace.

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                  9. They Experiment

                  They try new things, experience new flavors and never shy away from something they have yet to experience. They never order twice from the same menu.

                  10. They Take Their Time

                  They don’t unnecessarily rush through life. They work on their own schedule to the extent that they can and maneuver through life at their own relaxing pace.

                  11. They Employ Different Perspectives

                  They’re not stuck in one perspective; a loss can result in a new opportunity, hitting rock bottom can mean that there’s no where to go but up.

                  12. They Seek to Learn

                  Their constant pursuit of knowledge keeps them inspired and interested in life. They cherish information and are on a life-long quest to learn as much as they can.

                  13. They Always Have a Plan

                  They don’t find themselves drifting without purpose. When something doesn’t go as planned, they have a plan for every letter in the alphabet to fall back on.

                  14. They Give Respect to Get It

                  They are respectful and, in turn, are seen as respectable; the respect they exude earns them the respect they deserve.

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                  15. They Consider Every Opportunity

                  They always have their eyes open for a new road, a new avenue worth exploring. They know how to recognize opportune moments and pounce on them to make the most of every situation. Success is inevitable for them.

                  16. They Always Seek to Improve

                  Perpetual self-improvement is the key towards their ongoing thirst for success. Whatever it is they do, they take pride in getting better and better, from social interactions to mundane tasks. Their pursuit at being the best eventually materializes.

                  17. They Don’t Take Life Too Seriously

                  They’re not ones to get offended easily over-analyze or complicate matters. They laugh at their own faults and misfortunes.

                  18. They Live in the Moment

                  They don’t live for tomorrow or dwell on what may have happened yesterday. Every day is a new opportunity, a new chapter. They live in the now, and in doing so, get the most out of every moment.

                  You can learn how to do so too: How to Live in the Moment and Stop Worrying About the Past or Future

                  19. They Say Yes

                  Much more often than they say no. They don’t have to be badgered to go out, don’t shy away from new opportunities or anything that may seem inconvenient.

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                  20. They’re Self-Aware

                  Most important, they’re wholly aware of themselves. They self-reflect and are conscious of their states of mind. If somethings bothering them, they fix it.

                  We’re all susceptible to feeling down every now and again, but we are all equipped with the necessary solutions that just have to be discovered.

                  Lack of confidence, inability to feel fulfilled, and susceptibility to stress are all matters that can be controlled through the way we handle our lives and perceive our circumstances.

                  Learn about How Self-Reflection Gives You a Happier and More Successful Life.

                  Final Thoughts

                  The main philosophy employed by the happiest includes the idea that life’s simply too short: life’s too short to let things get you down, to take things for granted, to pursue absolute and unrealistic perfection.

                  For some, employing these characteristics is a second nature – they do it without knowing. For others, a conscious effort must be put forth every now and again. Self-Awareness is key.

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                  Featured photo credit: Charles Postiaux via unsplash.com

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