find perspective

children squat with such ease; it’s so good for the spine, hips and digestive system 

Living a less-distracted life : find perspective

I’m pretty good at feeling sorry for myself. Optimism doesn’t come easily to me; I really have to work at a positive mindset (except when I’m in the midst of a particularly challenging situation, then my outlook is brilliantly positive – odd, I know). I’m efficient at whinging, too – a terrible habit.

 But over the past few months I’ve made a concerted effort to change my auto-pilot thoughts. There’s a few practical things I’ve done that have made a big difference.
  • I own my perspective. This was a big one (and a hard one). It’s so easy to place blame and I’ll admit – I’m good at it! But lately, I’ve been reminding myself as often as is necessary, that my thoughts, feelings and perspective is me – it’s my stuff. I have to acknowledge it, consider it and work through it (and move on!). Blaming someone, something or a situation is a waste of time.
  • I stop and take a few deep breaths. Sometimes I’m so distracted that I don’t even realise I’m whinging. Sometimes the kids are so tired and cranky that I wallow along with them. And so, I’ve been making an effort to catch myself mid-moan, come into the present moment and respond to the situation instead of reacting dramatically to it.
  • We get out of the house. Everything is worse when you are surrounded by dishes and washing. Everything is better when you sit on a beach and watch your children play in the sand. So what if my house is messy? I have a beautiful, clean beach to take my children to, it’s mid-winter and it’s 20 degrees. Enough said.
  • I write a list and see the good. It’s gratitude in bullet-points and includes the facts – we enjoy good health, Daniel and I work in the creative fields that we always dreamed of being involved in, Che attends a beautiful school, we have the support of loving and doting grandparents, we can afford nourishing food, we can pay our bills, our sky is so clear we can see the stars and on, and on, and on.
Whilst I wholeheartedly understand that there are always going to be down times, that wallowing is sometimes productive and that perpetual happiness isn’t attainable, I do believe that you can change your perspective for the good. You just need to slow down to acknowledge that often, your thoughts are dictating your days.
So: acknowledge that you’re distracted, stop and listen to what you’re thinking. Breathe, get outside, write a list, see the good.
Tell me, what’s on your list?
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Showing 13 comments
  • D Nolan

    I Love you honesty. I too am trying to remind myself daily of the importance of simplicity. "Breathe and get outside" is a huge one for me also. However lately I have a voice in my head telling me that this is a "first world" problem, us with our technology and complicated lives needing to take a leaf out of other maybe less fortunate people who don't have so much stuff.

  • Jodi Gibson

    My 'word' for this year was (is) 'present'. Just to be 100% plugged in and focused on one thing at a time. It's not at all possible all of the time but it is most of the time and the difference it makes is amazing. It really simplifies things and puts everything into perspective.

  • Katrina@capturingmoments

    A great post Jodi. I love the idea of owning my perspective and have never thought about it like this before. Making gratitude lists can work wonders for the soul and mind. I am trying to think of weekly points to focus on and be grateful for, but this year, my main focus has been on my health. I vow to never take my health for granted EVER again. xx

  • Astred*designcherry

    I wallow. Well I wallowed, 2 weeks ago I told myself to pull up my boot straps. I was miserable in a 9-5 job a couple of years ago and now my freelance is getting a bit hard juggling work/child/bills/enough income I'm moping and miserable. I can make myself happy! I am living my dream and dammit I should enjoy it and the other non-worky bits of my life too. But I can't if I'm just crappy and blue all the time.
    It's worked a treat. Life is still tricky but at least my non-worky life bits are seeing the benefits of my improved mood.

  • Jessica Rebelo

    After having my baby boy (now 21 months) I quit my freelance graphic design career committing to be a full time mum. It's been such a roller coaster of emotions and doubts, guilt and low self esteem. Every day my house is a mess but it's a reminder that a little one lives with us so I embrace it with love and humour. My aunt passed away last week after years of battling cancer, it's been a wake up call to remind myself how fragile life is and how important is to focus on the things that really matter, the little things that aren't obvious. My boy is starting to talk and he does the funniest things, I never take for granted any of these! I can always come back to work and be that person again, the creative in a office surrounded by adults,but he won't be little again so I take every day as a special unique one, with the highs and lows. I cannot tell you how much I love your blog Jodi, your words are wise and your family is beautiful xx

  • Lucy W

    Such a good post!! Great strategies. I find it easy to get drawn into the kids whinging but you're so right, if you as a mother can model positivity and find joy and thankfulness in times of trial what better example can you be. Sometimes for me, changing up the routine, eg having a bath with my boys instead of batheing them or eating dinner as a picnic or taking lunch outside can break the monotony for either the kids or I when we're feeling a little out of sorts.

  • Meryl & Russell McLendon

    I agree, very good post. What you said about owning your perspective speaks to me as well. I need to stop overreacting when things don't go as planned, slow down and appreciate that mistakes and missteps are not so bad and can sometimes lead to good things. What you said about leaving the house… yes, agree!! I just made that discovery this summer. You go to the beach, I head to the trails in the wood by our house. What a difference that can make! Thanks for posting this. And thanks for the reminder that we should count our blessings.


    Oh how your words always make so much sense, Jodi!

  • Rach

    This has been much on my mind recently. I agree with what you say, but I've come to think that changing your perspective, distraction, gratitude etc comes after something else. Which is examining these dark negative thoughts and unravelling them. Feeling the discomfort and pain. E.g. blame is often masked shame, an embarrassing painful emotion, often pushed under the carpet. I think what IU've been trying to do – i.e. all you've said, may have made me lose out on some great growing opportunities.

  • Sophie Ferdinandsen

    I can easily recognize your words. It is so challenging to break old patterns. I appreciate your honesty, which reminds me that I myself should work with my perspective on things.. daily 😉

  • Katie

    I so needed this post tonight, Jodi — thank you!

  • Sylvie

    Oh but I need to say "yes" more. When they ask me to play dolls with them. When they ask me to go for a walk "right now!" with them. When they ask for another handful of berries. When they ask me to color with them. When they ask me to read another story. It's so easy to say no, maybe later… No, I'm busy. But it won't be long before they're teenagers and I'm asking them to come be with me more.

  • Sarah

    Oh, how I needed this post. Optimism is something I have to work at as well. Things have been feeling a little glass-half-empty lately. While I know these rough couple of weeks will pass and become a distant memory, it is important to embrace them, learn from them, and use them as an opportunity to practice all you have listed above. Beautiful post!

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