Advertising
Advertising

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.

Advertising

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.

    Advertising

    https://www.flickr.com/photos/ereikaion/129764558/in/photolist-dbAvHf-bzNZGh-aJmH2M-4tNFnv-aJmGY2-291Zg-ct5tY-291YM-dbAtWt-7Jd4AR-69WAgV-dbAvD1-dbAu6F-dc227e-5FVgdd-dCYwH6-88yZe7-dbAvXG-dbAu2a-dbAvSy-5PWq5D-nfQtbt-22TSgz-dbAuax-bbh9wg-8cBdxe-2AWej-5RdC3p-bm6Vcw-5w2BSd-aWQqLe-aWQqWV-aWQr8g-4iA1Kz-594KJm-594KSL-bz1NWe-dbAu4k-9xvCsw-9xvCsA-5kfGWa-23NBAw-23J5kc-23NeJ3-5ct184-bz1NTe-bm6V4Y-5ct1eH-5cxhrC-5cxhdw/

      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. 

        large_5625581525

          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.

          Advertising

          large_13949706770
            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.

            large_5611594783
              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. 

              large_8635551886

                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) 

                Advertising

                large_11920195726

                  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

                  More by this author

                  Mandy Kloppers

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

                  40 Ways to Achieve Peace Of Mind and Inner Calm 15 Simple Ways To Overcome Depression And Sadness Life Truths: 17 Universal Truths We All Share 7 Ways To Stop Yourself From Being A Slave to Your Emotions good partner 20 Ways To Recognize A Good Partner

                  Trending in Communication

                  1 How to Develop Mutual Respect in a Relationship 2 If Money Can’t Buy Happiness, What Can? 3 Having an Emotional Breakdown? 15 Ways to Re-Center Yourself 4 10 Simple Ways To Always Think Positive Thoughts 5 What’s the Easiest Language to Learn for English Speakers?

                  Read Next

                  Advertising
                  Advertising
                  Advertising

                  Last Updated on September 17, 2019

                  10 Simple Ways To Always Think Positive Thoughts

                  10 Simple Ways To Always Think Positive Thoughts

                  Positive thinking can lead to a lot of positive change in your life. Developing an optimistic outlook can be good for both your physical and mental health.

                  But sometimes, certain situations arise in life that makes it hard to keep a positive outlook. Take steps to make positive thinking become more like your second nature and you’ll reap the biggest benefits.

                  Here are 10 ways to make thinking positive thoughts easy:

                  1. Spend Time with Positive People

                  If you surround yourself with constant complainers, their negativity is likely to rub off on you.

                  Spend time with positive friends and family members to increase the likelihood that their positive thinking habits will become yours too. It’s hard to be negative when everyone around you is so positive.

                  Advertising

                  2. Take Responsibility for Your Behavior

                  When you encounter problems and difficulties in life, don’t play the role of the victim. Acknowledge your role in the situation and take responsibility for your behavior.

                  Accepting responsibility can help you learn from mistakes and prevent you from blaming others unfairly.

                  3. Contribute to the Community

                  One of the best ways to feel good about what you have, is to focus on what you have to give.

                  Volunteer in some manner and give back to the community. Helping others can give you a new outlook on the world and can assist you with positive thinking.

                  4. Read Positive and Inspirational Materials

                  Spend time each day reading something that encourages positive thinking. Read the Bible, spiritual material, or inspirational quotes to help you focus on what’s important to you in life. It can be a great way to start and end your day.

                  Advertising

                  Some recommendations for you:

                  5. Recognize and Replace Negative Thoughts

                  You won’t be successful at positive thinking if you’re still plagued by frequent negative thoughts. Learn to recognize and replace thoughts that are overly negative. Often, thoughts that include words like “always” and “never” signal that they aren’t true.

                  If you find yourself thinking something such as, “I always mess everything up,” replace it with something more realistic such as, “Sometimes I make mistakes but I learn from them.”

                  There’s no need to make your thoughts unrealistically positive, but instead, make them more realistic.

                  6. Establish and Work Toward Goals

                  It’s easier to be positive about problems and setbacks when you have goals that you’re working toward. Goals will give you motivation to overcome those obstacles when you encounter problems along the way. Without clear goals, it’s harder to make decisions and gauge your progress.

                  Advertising

                  Learn to set SMART goals to help you achieve more.

                  7. Consider the Consequences of Negativity

                  Spend some time thinking about the consequences of negative thinking. Often, it can become a self-fulfilling prophecy.

                  For example, a person who thinks, “I probably won’t get this job interview,” may put less effort into the interview. As a result, he may decrease his chances of getting the job.

                  Create a list of all the ways negative thinking impacts your life. It likely influences your behavior, your relationships, and your feelings. Then, create a list of the ways in which positive thinking could be beneficial.

                  8. Offer Compliments to Others

                  Look for reasons to compliment others. Be genuine in your praise and compliments, but offer it frequently. This will help you look for the good in other people.

                  Advertising

                  9. Create a Daily Gratitude List

                  If you start keeping a daily gratitude list, you’ll start noticing exactly how much you have to be thankful for. This can help you focus on the positive in your life instead of thinking about all the bad things that have happened in the day.

                  Getting in the habit of showing an attitude of gratitude makes positive thinking more of a habit. Here’re 40 Simple Ways To Practice Gratitude.

                  10. Practice Self-Care

                  Take good care of yourself and you’ll be more equipped to think positively.

                  Get plenty of rest and exercise and practice managing your stress well. Taking care of your physical and mental health will provide you with more energy to focus on positive thinking.

                  Learn about these 30 Self-Care Habits for a Strong and Healthy Mind, Body and Spirit.

                  More About Staying Positive

                  Featured photo credit: DESIGNECOLOGIST via unsplash.com

                  Read Next