Managing how you feel - Tip No 9

by Fe Robinson

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This is the ninth article in my series about Managing How You Feel, which aims to give you many options for influencing your emotional state, through things you can do that change your physical state or your mental representations, or the way you make meaning from the information you take in.

Tip No 9 - Change where you perceive things from

For some people, seeing things through their own eyes is really easy, they experience their own perspective on things.  They may not, however, find it so simple to look through the eyes of someone else, or to perceive things from an impartial perspective, as if they were a fly on the wall.  Alternatively, you may find it normal to look through the eyes of other people, and sense what they want and need, but not be in touch with your own perspective, finding it hard to embody your experience.  Or, you may be detached from both yourself and others, and be great at being impartial and objective, but find it trickier to get into the feelings and thoughts of either yourself or someone else.

This week's tip is about the perspective you experience things from.   Here's a simple exercise to do on your own to expand the information you have about a situation, and so change the way you feel about it:

1.  Bring to mind the situation you want to explore.  Notice who is involved.  You, and who else?

2.  Set out three chairs, one to be yours, one to be the other person's, and one to be an impartial perspective.  Position them appropriately for the situation, with the impartial chair looking on to both the others from an equal distance and even angle.

3.  Sit on the chair that is your perspective.  Notice what you see and hear from here, as you look at the other person.  Be aware of how you feel.  Say out loud the thoughts from your perspective.

4.  Then, get up, leaving your perspective on the chair, and move to the second chair, the other person's perspective.  Sit down and see things through their eyes, looking back on yourself in the first chair.  Sitting here, as the other person, what do you notice about yourself back there?  What do you see, hear, and feel?  What thoughts come to mind?

5.  Now, leave this perspective behind and go and sit in the third chair, the fly on the wall.  As you look at both people, what do you notice here.  What do you see them doing and saying?  What seems pertinent as you look at the space between them?

6.  Finally, sit back in your first chair, and bring with you what you have learned from the other two perspectives.  What do you now know?  How does this change your understanding?  What do you now want to do to change how you are interacting?

If you would like support in building your flexibility to take different perceptual positions for the benefit of your relationships and well-being, get in touch by emailing fejrobinson@gmail.com or leaving a message on my confidential answer machine on 0191 3720318.

Tips so far in this series:

1.  Change where you are looking (up to lessen intensity, down to increase it)

2.  Move

3.  Use your breathing

4.  Pay attention to what you sense right now (what you can see, hear, feel, smell and taste)

5.  Recall a memory when you had the emotional state you want now

6.  Ask yourself what would someone you trust/admire say?

7.  Count 3 Gratitudes each day

8.  Connect with nature

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