“Is the glass half empty or half full?” is a commonly known expression to get a glimpse at your perspective towards numerous circumstances in your life. Let us answer a simple question to acknowledge further the significance of answering such nonsensical question.
Is the glass half full? or,
Is the glass half empty?
(P.S- if you are already aware of this then your previous knowledge might interfere with your response.)
Your chosen response gives an instantaneous peep into your current state of mental well being or to be precise your mindset. Individual with pessimistic view towards life tend to focus on glass half empty whereas people with optimistic view towards life tend to focus on glass half full, indicates numerous researchers. Pessimist sees difficulty in every opportunity while optimistic sees opportunity in every difficulty. Same glass with same level of water was seen by several of us yet, responses differ. What we obtain as a response is ,generally a mix of pessimism and optimism(in practical offline setting). Ask yourself, what is your perspective towards life in general?
Is it as simple as this or that, choose black or white? or is it something else which needs to be explored? On a lighter note, let me share images of various point of view on glass half full and glass half empty (taken from google to show how our viewpoint differs and there is no such thing as right and wrong way)before I move ahead.
At present, allow me to write down from the perspective of a Psychologist: What are your thoughts after looking at a glass?
It is fairly effortless to utter, “modify your perspective towards life” nevertheless absolutely challenging to do so. Our beliefs are deeply anchored to the experiences we have since our childhood. Positive experience probably boost positive outlook towards life. Negative experiences such as abusive and self degrading environment while growing up, lack of appreciation, unkind & demotivating words are to mention a few, might lead to negative outlook towards life.
Person X and Person Y
Let us take a hypothetical case of two individuals- person X and person Y. Both were successful businessperson. Life was going smoothly for both of them. Suddenly, as a result of covid & lockdown, they suffered unbearable losses. Due to sudden shut down of their business, both of them were going through a phase of sadness, self blame and negative thought process. As time passed, person Y’s condition became more and more chronic however, unexpectedly, person X’s condition showed improvement. Moreover, within no time, he picked up again to make a new beginning. Nowadays, he feels fortunate that he was able to overcome the hurdles and obstacles he came across.
Each of us hold a unique set of assumptions about ourselves and our world that serve to guide us through life and determine our reactions to the various situations we encounter.
What helped person X to forge ahead in life? Why person Y is still in the same mental state?
A-activating event( same for both)shut down of business
B-beliefs (thought process)(difference observed in thought process)
Person X- yes, I lost everything. All my hard work has gone into vain. Now what? Am I going to sit at home forever? No of course not. Its difficult but I know I have to restart my life. I established my business earlier also and I can do it again. I will stay positive. My family members are safe and healthy. Moreover, they are with me.I lost my work due to pandemic. It was not my fault.
Person Y-I am ruined. I shouldn’t have taken risk. What should I do now? Its all my fault. I am of no use to anyone anymore. My life is useless. I have put my family into trouble. Nothing is going to be all right again.
C-consequence(difference in outcome due to difference in thought process/belief)
Person X-He was able to restart his work. Moreover, he led fulfilling life never to look back again.
Person Y-He stopped meeting anyone, slept for long hours, shut himself in a room for days together. Presently, he is undergoing therapy to deal with his depressive thoughts.
Ellis suggested that people mistakenly blame external events for unhappiness. He argued, however, that it is our interpretation of these events that truly lies at the heart of our psychological distress. To explain this process, Albert Ellis developed what he referred to as the ABC Model.(He gave us one of the most important approach to Therapy: Rational Emotive Behavior Therapy)
A — Activating Event: Something happens in the environment around you.
B — Beliefs: You hold a belief about the event or situation.
C — Consequence: You have an emotional response to your belief.
The events and situations that people encounter throughout life are only one piece of the puzzle. In order to understand the impact of such events, it is also essential to look at the beliefs people hold about these experiences as well as the emotions that arise as a result of those beliefs. Each of us hold a unique set of assumptions about ourselves and our world that serve to guide us through life and determine our reactions to the various situations we encounter. Some people’s assumptions guide them to act and react in ways that are inappropriate and that prejudice their chances of happiness and success. Albert Ellis calls these as basic irrational assumptions.
Some people irrationally assume that they are failures if they are not loved by everyone they know – they constantly seek approval and repeatedly feel rejected. All their interactions are affected by this assumption, so that a great party can leave them dissatisfied because they don’t get enough compliments. Here,if you look back at the hypothetical case of person X and personY then you might be able to relate to the fact that belief pattern of person Y was faulty,his beilef pattern was negative and filled with irrational thoughts.Such negative thinking pattern restricted him from moving forward in life.
I admit that I, myself keep slipping into pattern of negativity on and off. Nevertheless, I acknowledge that there is no harm in lying on bed for a day, may be two days, or three days, even four days is going to be okay. However, if I notice that I have developed a pattern of just lying on bed with my mind engrossed with negative waves of thoughts all the time, I look at it as red alarm. My awareness permits me to look at the red alarm as a signal, to be alert & mindfully aware of my activities. It helps to prevent from slipping into the vicious cycle of negativity. I can recall numerous circumstances in my life when my awareness of my red alarm came to my rescue.
If you prefer not to slip into vicious circle of negativity then, prevent & protect your mental health by imbibing these simple, yet powerful routine activities
1) make introspection part of your routine, it is key to look within. It aid you to keep yourself in check for your mental well being. Practicing meditation might fasten the process of introspection.
2)maintain a daily journal to write free flowing thoughts
3)try to have at least one person in your life to whom you can speak your heart out
4)Schedule your days activities beforehand
5)don’t try to overschedule. If you are unable to do everything listed, it might disappoint you so, start small. One day at a time, one activity at a time
6) keep adding activities once you get used to previously added ones.
7)let your friends and family members know about your plan for a day so, they can also keep track of your day to day activities
8)don’t forget to socialize. Its crucial to have a social support system intact
9)read books and pen down, only if you like to
10)be consistent. You need to go for a walk but you are in no mood to walk for 45 min today, then instead of leaving it completely for a day, take a walk for at least 10 min to maintain the rhythm
11)gather courage to challenge your own thoughts
“The best years of your life are the ones in which you decide your problems are your own. You do not blame them on your mother, the ecology, or the president. You realize that you control your own destiny.”
― Albert Ellis
This quote from Albert Ellis is all about taking responsibility for your own life and choices. Clearly, there are aspects of your life that are outside of your control. While you might not be able to control all the things that happen to you or that you experience through your life, you can take charge of how you respond to these events.
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