It can often be difficult to take a step back. As a psychotherapist my goal is to provide an unbiased, objective look at what a client is going through. Maybe they weren’t aware it wasn’t the toilet seat being left up again that made them so angry. But after a lifetime of never being listened to, that damn toilet seat was the last straw.
An outsiders peek into any life can give new insights. It can give us some space to have a new perspective.
Speaking of space and perspectives.. (great segue huh?)
Below is a 20 minute film called Overview. It’s about the effects seeing the Earth from space had on astronauts. They realised that we really are just on a big blue dot. It’s fragile and the damage that is being caused by us humans means we all have a responsibility.
When we’re feeling down perspective is a hard thing to get. I personally don’t have my own shuttle. Which means I can’t see the Earth from space and be filled with awe. But I still have the ability and choice to look into my own experience. So do you.
The next time you see that effing toilet seat up again, take a second and think about why you’re so upset. Maybe the bigger picture isn’t about the seat at all. And ladies and gentlemen that is what perspective is all about.
“Everything we hear is an opinion, not a fact. Everything we see is a perspective, not the truth.” – Marcus Aurelius
I sure make that sound easy, don’t I?
Maybe it’s not that easy but buying less is a good start to feeling more content. It’s been found that when people have high materialistic goals they often have lower rates of happiness and are more prone to psychological dysfunction. I believe this is because they are actually looking for happiness in the things they purchase. Which of course, is impossible.
With the season of buying all around us, here are some things you can do to get out of the materialism trap. (Maybe trap is too strong of word but I’m going for a bit of drama here.)
- Turn off the television. If you prefer you can just watch less, or put it on mute when the adverts are on. They are loud, flashy and have professionals working behind them. Their job is to manipulate you into thinking that you NEED their product. You don’t.
- Make shopping more of a business trip, not a recreational activity. It has become very common in our culture to make shopping a way to hang out. How many times have you gone out with friends needing nothing and come home with loads? When you need things, get them, when you don’t, try suggesting going for a walk.
- Take part in activities that have nothing to do with the material world. Go for a hike, draw, read, go to a free music gig. If you live in Dublin there is a great way to check out all the free things going on. Go here, and welcome to the Dublin Events Guide for Free Events. Enjoy.
- Take stock of what you have and de-clutter. If there are things that you know you haven’t worn/used/enjoyed for at least a year, bin them or give them away. Items of sentimental value can obviously be excluded. But I doubt that old mobile phone charger makes you feel all warm and fuzzy… and you have 4.
If you want to see what other things you can do to get be less materialistic you can do a bit of a Google. As a start, check out this guy Scott H Young he has some great ideas.
“The things you own end up owning you. It’s only after you lose everything that you’re free to do anything.” – Chuck Palahniuk
I love watching or reading things that help change the way I see the world. I like when I’m offered a perspective that I’ve never considered.
A wonderful avenue to find new information is documentaries. There are TONS out there on every subject you can imagine. Check out this site: Top Documentary Films, browse thousands of documentaries all free online! Yep you heard right, free. You can also browse and watch hundreds of TED Talks, where you can learn just about anything you want. Ever heard of the Aquatic Ape Theory? Neither had I. Thanks Ted.
If you watch something and it blows you away, do some of your own research as well. Documentaries are supposed to be objective but as they are made by people the views can sometimes be slanted. I like to form my opinion on what I’ve learned, not just what I’ve been taught.
I watched a really interesting one a while back called Food Matters, here’s the trailer:
Eat well and be well: “True friendship is like sound health; the value of it is seldom known until it be lost.” – Charles Caleb Colton
I will thank the lights if they change just as I get there, I thank my MP3 for playing a song I like. I doubt these inanimate objects care that I have thanked them. But I care. I try to be grateful for the small things.
It’s been found that being grateful can increase happiness by 25%. In fairness, I have no idea what 25% of an emotion is, but 100% of my thoughts agree. Focusing on the things we’re grateful for means that we aren’t bogged down worrying about the stuff we’re missing.
In challenging times it’s hard to see that silver lining. If at my lowest point a blog told me to be filled with gratitude I’d punch the screen. If that’s where you are, then all want to say is that you have a choice. Be thankful for that. Today you can choose to continue to feel the way you do. Or you can choose to change. Scary isn’t it?
Be grateful that you can feel fear! Or anything for that matter. I’m glad I can feel, it means I’m alive.
Why not make a list of things you’re grateful for. Or look at the challenges you’ve been through and how they’ve helped you grow. Feeling low because you lost your job? Maybe this is a chance for a new opportunity and you hated that place anyway.
Every step you’ve taken has led you to this instant and in the moment all you can do is breathe.
Consider this: “Do not spoil what you have by desiring what you have not; remember that what you now have was once among the things you only hoped for.” – Epicurus
My name is Angela Amirault and I am a counsellor/psychotherapist. I was born and raised in Canada but have been living in Ireland for many years. I practice in Dublin and this is my home.
I started this blog in hopes this space will help promote the growth of a healthy mind, body and spirit. I know we could all use a bit of guidance the odd time. I plan to share links to helpful websites, good news stories, and a funny video here or there. I want to provide a space online that isn’t filled with bad news or the latest gossip.
I’m going to start with a great website: www.dailygood.org
This does what it says on the tin. Daily news stories filled with positive and helpful insights. From the neuroscience behind gratitude to teens delivering burritos to the homeless. Spending some time reading good news instead of bad could help with those winter doldrums. So could a hot chocolate, I prefer a chai latte myself. Either way, guilt free hot drinks should be enjoyed every now and again.
I will leave you with this quote for the day:
“Yesterday I was clever, so I wanted to change the world. Today I am wise, so I am changing myself.” – Rumi