A Simple Psychological Trick To Shift Our Perspective and Control Our Emotions - Deepstash
A Simple Psychological Trick To Shift Our Perspective and Control Our Emotions

A Simple Psychological Trick To Shift Our Perspective and Control Our Emotions

Curated from: inc.com

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The “Changing Your Glasses Technique”

People who wear glasses know that a change in prescription is sometimes required, to allow them to see more clearly.

Sometimes, we need to do the same thing mentally: our thoughts and emotions may cloud our vision and judgment. When that’s the case, we need to change our glasses: that is, change our perspective.


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Irrational Thinking Has Unhealthy Emotional Consequences

The technique of “changing your glasses” is rooted in principles of cognitive psychology.

In the 1950s, psychologist Albert Ellis taught that irrational thinking is the root cause for many emotional problems. For example, irrational beliefs lead to unhealthy emotional consequences, like self-sabotage.


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An Example:

Ben has just lost his job. He’s devastated.

"What am I going to do now?" he asks.

He falls asleep at night, swimming in a sea of negative emotions.

In the morning, he wakes up distraught. “This stuff always happen to me,” he thinks. “I have the worst luck.” Ben's negative thoughts feed themselves. They create a raging storm in his head, preventing him from starting his new job search--or doing anything else productive.


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Rational Thinking Has Healthy Emotional Consequences

Rational thinking allows us to feel disappointment and frustration, but to a limited extent. We recognize that changes in circumstances, even big and serious ones, can happen everyday and to everyone, and can even lead to positive results.


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An Example:

Amy has the exact same fate and initial reaction to Ben.

She also wakes up in the morning with a knot in her stomach. But her response is different: She takes control or her thoughts and changes her perspective:

“That job was never going to take me anywhere,” she thinks. “I'm sure I can find something better. Better yet, I’ve been wanting to go out on my own for ages. Maybe this is the jumpstart I need.”

"Losing this job will be the best thing that's ever happened to me."


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Control Of Emotions = Control Of Situation

Despite facing similar situations, Amy’s reaction is much more beneficial. By exercising emotional intelligence, she’s able to change the way she views her circumstances. This simple perspective shift allows her to get her emotions under control, leading her to also take control of the situation.


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How To Break The Cycle Of Negative Thinking

Write it down.

Putting our thoughts in writing - with actual pen and paper, not just typing - can be a powerful way to force ourselves to reckon with our feelings.

For example, let’s imagine Ben takes some time to describe his feelings on paper. He may believe that he is truly unlucky and there’s no chance he’ll find another job. But the simple process of writing these thoughts can help him slow down, think, and re-evaluate the validity of those thoughts.


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How To Break The Cycle Of Negative Thinking

Talk to someone.

As we voice our thoughts and feelings to someone we trust, we may find ourselves re-thinking our opinion as we speak.

And even if not, we give that person the chance to give valuable feedback, to put on their “glasses” for a minute. In other words, they help us see the situation through their eyes, which can help us to reassess our own thoughts and feelings.


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How To Break The Cycle Of Negative Thinking

Fill your mind with positive thoughts.

Negative feelings like self-doubt and self-pity can quickly spiral out of control. Focusing on positive thoughts can help us find balance.

For example, Ben could make a list of potential positive consequences from losing his job:

  • finding a new job he enjoys more than his previous one
  • having time to reconnect with family or friends

By focusing on these positive results, Ben can form an approach that’s more optimistic, yet still realistic. It won’t completely eliminate the negative feelings, but it can help keep them in their place.


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Glasses And Light

So, the next time you find your emotions working against you, ask yourself:

Do I need to change my glasses?

Because a change in perspective can help us see the world in a different light.


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