Using Perspective to Build ResilienceMay 05, 2020
One thing I am curious about is how we bounce back from life’s challenges. How do we adapt or recover during times of change or uncertainty? This is essentially what it means to be resilient. I always compare it to a rubber band that gets stretched under pressure but bounces back rather than snapping.
In the past year, I have spoken on this topic to corporates, particularly in relation to stress, but in the current climate, building resilience is something we all need to be reminded of. Whether you are going through challenges within your relationships, your health, concerns about the future of your job or business, building resilience is key to moving through change with more ease and grace.
There is a range of ways you can build resilience but today I just wanted to share one, that is very practical, one you can apply to any area of your life, and that is perspective.
Often when we feel stressed, conflicted or overwhelmed, the natural tendency is to zoom in, to look at the situation very closely, to over analyse the detail, maybe to blame others, replay it in our minds. This can leave us feeling stuck, anxious and unable to pivot in another direction.
Although there are times when we need to zoom in and look at the detail and be present to the little things, perspective enables us to zoom out, to look at the bigger picture, to put things in context, to grasp the real severity of a situation (you will see great leaders practice this). If you imagine a camera zooming out: with the wider angle you get to see the macro view, the bigger picture, vision, or meaning about a situation and you get to see the view point of others in the picture too. This is the perspective.
Here are 3 simple perspective exercises that you can do when you experience personal challenges (or a global one):
1. Visualisation Exercise
Connect with your challenge/frustration and the feeling it brings (it can be as small as an argument or as large as job loss)
See if you can picture yourself from a bird’s eye view.
Visualise yourself in your current location (at home, at work etc)
- Zoom out of the building you are in
- Zoom out of the area you live
- Zoom out of your region
- Zoom out of the country
- Zoom out above the earth and into the universe
Look down at your current situation from above and ask yourself: how big is this in the grand of scheme of things? Is my reaction justified?
2. Life Perspective
You can do a similar exercise where you zoom into the future of your life. Picture yourself at each decade of your life right up until you’re 90 or 100 years old (or you can zoom back in life). Ask yourself in the timeline of my life “do I have this situation in perspective? How big an impact will this have on my overall lifespan?”
Gratitude in itself builds resilience but it also builds perspective. When facing life’s challenges it is easy to see what we don’t have. Gratitude reminds us what we do have and rewires our mind to find the positive. Remembering that there is always someone in a worse situation, can help you realise what you are grateful for.
Simply write down 3 things that you are grateful for each day. This is made more effective by zooming out and considering other people’s lives who may not be so fortunate.
When we experience a challenging time in life, it is important not to immediately dismiss the feelings and emotions and zoom out, or compare yourself to someone in a worse situation. The first port of call is, in fact, to zoom in and mindfully acknowledge how you are feeling with curiosity and without judgment (this also builds resilience). Only when you start feeling stuck, anxious or overthinking things do you know it is time to zoom out and get perspective.
I hope you will give some of these resilience boosting exercises a try.
Did you know that you don’t have to do this on your own?
In this uncertain time, it can be challenging to navigate the range of thoughts and feelings that arise. Whether you are struggling with your mindset or feeling like this is the time for you to pivot into a new chapter of life I am here to support you.
I am offering a FREE 30-minute private introductory coaching session (online – this is how I always coach) so I can support you to move forward with greater clarity and accountability.