Perhaps it’s just me, but doesn’t the world feel more tension-filled and combative than ever lately? From the horrors of Syria abroad to the nonstop political infighting at home, it seems as though we’re in a state of perpetual turmoil. Lately, I’ve been thinking about this tumultuous world – and how it impacts my own little existence, too.
To provide some context on my world: I have a wonderful family and close friends, an unbelievably supportive husband, a professional life that keeps me mentally and emotionally engaged, and good health. I live comfortably, securely, and joyfully. To put it bluntly, I’m happy.
But that doesn’t prevent me from feeling anxious and unhappy, too. I stress out over work deadlines to the point of headaches and stomach aches. I have moments where I feel insecure about everything and am in a rotten mood because of it. And I engage in some serious mental gymnastics over wanting a life I don’t have. (Read: One that allows me to blog for millions of dollars and take copious vacations.)
So, you’d think that this global unrest might enhance my anxiety, right? Well, lately, it’s done the opposite: It’s provided me with a much-needed sense of perspective – and kept me healthier in the process, too.
Perspective is defined as, “the capacity to view things in their true relations or relative importance.” In other words, perspective provides us with context. Gaining five pounds is not a real problem when you understand that people are struggling to eat. Stressing out over a long day of work is inconsequential when you acknowledge that others’ are trying to figure out how to survive a day in their lives. These are extreme, perhaps clichéd examples, but it’s powerful thinking once you can start to harness it effectively.
I’m not suggesting we all stop worrying about everything because we’re not homeless or starving. That’s not realistic and that’s not my point. I am saying that, particularly in the climate of 2017, we could use the raw realities of what we’re facing globally to temper some of the more destructive and unhealthy thinking we face in our own little worlds.
Lately, when I feel myself spiraling into a negative mind frame, I take a moment to pause and find perspective. I find that approaching the challenges in my life with perspective doesn’t necessarily make them go away, but it does allow me to view them with a more clearheaded, positive mindset. Most importantly, doing so also makes a lot more room for gratitude. In this way, encountering obstacles has become an opportunity to also acknowledge blessings – which is a pretty cool train of thought, if you ask me.
Throughout this perspective process, I’ve come to realize that most of my problems aren’t particularly problems at all. They are part of life, and mine is pretty sweet one at that.