According to an old adage “perception is reality,” but is it true? In actuality, perception isn’t reality, but it does influence the way we look at the world, which means it can become our reality if we let it.
The truth is, we view things through our own personal lens. That lens is colored by our own past history, as well as factors like our education and character traits, among other factors. We don’t make a conscious decision to view things this way. It happens automatically.
But there’s some good news. By first being aware of how various factors color how we see the world, we can start to adjust our own attitude.
In 1952, a book titled The Power of Positive Thinking entered the market, prompting a revolution. The book called awareness to the fact that we see the world through filters, and that we can make changes to those filters to boost our own mental well-being.
Written by minister Norman Vincent Peale, the book remained a bestseller for years. Among Peale’s recommendations were visualizing your success, drowning out negative thoughts with positive ones, and developing a strong sense of self-respect.
You don’t need a book to learn how to work on improving your attitude, though. It’s all about recognizing what influences you and finding ways to ensure what you’re putting into your mind will give you the best results.
Choosing Information Sources
The internet has been both a blessing and a curse for mental health. While on the surface, it seems like it brings people together, it has been linked to depression and loneliness. The first step toward creating a more positive filter is to carefully curate the information you’re consuming.
Grab a pen and paper and begin taking notes about your information sources for the next week. How do you feel after an hour on your favorite social media platform? Now take some time off and instead read a book or listen to a podcast on a topic that informs or inspires you. Do you see a difference in your overall mood?
Take Responsibility and Accountability
Once you’ve achieved awareness, it’s time to hold yourself accountable for the choices you make each day. One thing that clouds our perception is the assumptions we make each day. Any time you’re feeling disappointed or upset about something, consider how your own expectations set you up for that disappointment.
Over time, not only will you find that you’re looking at the world through a brighter filter, but you’re taking charge of your own life. That feeling of control will help you see that you have the choice each day, starting with the choice you make to look at the positive side of things.
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