How to Keep your Problems in Perspective

A few months ago, I lost my job. I was beyond devastated because I really liked the job and I thought it was my ticket to moving up to doing what I really wanted to do.  For the first month, I was depressed and cried a lot over this loss. I went through the usual stages of grief. At first I was in denial. I sat there and my jaw dropped as I was let go by my supervisor. I drove home and couldn’t believe what had just happened. All that work and this is the thanks I get? I had worked overtime to cover for someone who had left her position and now I was left with no job at all. I went through the guilt stage, quickly followed by anger. How could my boss do this to me? I was fired in the month of December, no less, the worst month of the year to get the axe for obvious reasons. Eventually, though, I was able to put this particular problem into perspective. I was able to look at it from a different angle. Losing this job, I got onto unemployment, studied for my licensing exam, took the test and now I’m licensed in my field. I’d never had the time to pursue that before because I had been so busy working. Now a whole new bunch of opportunities were available to me which I never had before.


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Put your Problems in Perspective

We’ve all got problems, right? Whether our problems our in our home life, work life or something else, these problems are real. What we need to do is put these problems into perspective so that they do not overwhelm us and impede our functioning.

One way to put our problems into perspective is to compartmentalize them. Let’s say at work you have a task that’s been assigned to you that’s just overwhelming. At home, your wife is on your case constantly because you don’t spend enough time with your kids. Finally, you just got your electric bill which is five hundred dollars more than usual and your credit card interest rate just went up after you just used it to make a large furniture purchase. You are feeling overwhelmed and you feel like tearing your hair out because this is all just too much to deal with! The art of compartmentalizing is simply this – you take all the issues and put them in different “compartments”. That way, you set them aside until they need to be dealt with. So, if you are at work, you put the other problems in different compartments, like the wife, the electric bill, and the credit card bills. Those stay in those compartments until you can deal with them. That way, these problems won’t affect your performance at work. When we take our problems and split them into different parts it makes them seem a lot more manageable and is a great way to decrease stress related to problems. This is an excellent way to keep you mentally healthy.

Positive Thoughts can put Problems in Perspective as well!

Another way to put problems into perspective is to focus on the positive. Let’s start with the worst we could imagine. Say, a family member dies and you are devastated. You can’t imagine how you can live without them in your life. This situation doesn’t seem like it’s rife with positives, but it can be. Maybe that family member had a particularly aggressive form of cancer that was causing them to be in excruciating pain day in and day out. In this case, the positive might be that that person’s pain has ceased. They are finally resting in peace. Another example could be a car accident. Say you got into a horrible car accident in which you were injured. On your way to the hospital, all you can think of is that you hope the other driver is okay and you just wish the pain would go away. It’s hard to imagine a positive in this scenario, right? Maybe at the hospital you met a nurse that showed you such overwhelming kindness that it changed your perspective on life. Maybe that nurse renewed your faith in humanity. This could be one thing. There is always a positive thing to be found even in the darkest of times because there is always a light. Take my example at the beginning. I had just lost a job that I had worked really hard to get and to keep and it was swept out from underneath me in one moment. However, I was able to find a positive in all this. It afforded me time to work on getting licensure as well as to spend some much-needed time to spend with my son. There’s always a positive to be found in every negative.

Another way to put problems in perspective is to take some time out just for you. When problems get overwhelming, one way to manage them is to take some time to relax, read a book, or take a bath. Do something that you find relaxing and something that makes you feel peaceful. Whatever you choose to do with this time is up to you, but make sure that it’s quiet wherever you are. If you must listen to music, make sure that it is soothing, relaxing music and not something that will make you feel anxious or upset in anyway. That would defeat the purpose of this little self-time-out.

Another way to put problems into perspective is to get organized. Sometimes I have a month that is just plain chock full of doctor’s appointments, dentists appointments, taking my child to daycare. Some days I have an appointment in the morning and one in the afternoon. In the middle of all that I have to find time to get myself and my child fed and get some chores done at home. This is impossible to keep track of what needs to be done if I am not organized. For a long time, I didn’t even have a calendar I was using. I just had a ton of post-it notes all over the place next to a calendar that I never wrote on. Now, I’m very organized and have each appointment written down exactly where it should be so that I can plan ahead for those crazy days when I feel like I’m in ten places at once. Trust me when I say getting organized is a key way to getting your problems into perspective. Once you’re organized, problems don’t seem as big and some things you used to view as problems, you might now not see as problems anymore. All this is because you are now on top of things and you are in control.

The key, above all else, is to not let your problems take over your life. Keep in control and you will be just fine.

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