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6 Ways to Change your Perspective When you Can’t Change your Circumstances

Honoring where we are in our life's chapter and acknowledging when difficulties arise are necessary for survival, but sometimes all it takes is a simple shift in our perspective when we can’t change our circumstances.

The Old Salmon Falls Bridge in El Dorado, CA visible during a drought via the Sweetwater Trail

As a military wife, adapting to change is not only essential but inevitable. Frequent military assignments mean frequently uprooting our tribe, establishing a new community, and beginning a new life chapter.

Being a healthcare professional adds another layer to this as it means applying for new state licenses every three to five years, (I have held five in my entire career), finding adequate places of employment, establishing new patient relationships, and building a rapport within the local community.

As of the time of this writing, I am only eight weeks away from my family's next big move to Alaska from Northern California where we will reside for three years. During this time, I remind myself that having a clear and open perspective is the best way to remain resilient when change is inevitable.

Standing tall in front of a giant Sequoia tree in Sequoia National Park

𝐏𝐞𝐫𝐬𝐩𝐞𝐜𝐭𝐢𝐯𝐞 𝐢𝐬 𝐭𝐡𝐞 𝐰𝐚𝐲 𝐰𝐞 𝐬𝐞𝐞 𝐭𝐡𝐢𝐧𝐠𝐬 𝐰𝐡𝐞𝐧 𝐰𝐞 𝐥𝐨𝐨𝐤 𝐚𝐭 𝐭𝐡𝐞𝐦 𝐟𝐫𝐨𝐦 𝐚 𝐜𝐞𝐫𝐭𝐚𝐢𝐧 𝐝𝐢𝐬𝐭𝐚𝐧𝐜𝐞 𝐚𝐧𝐝 𝐢𝐭 𝐚𝐥𝐥𝐨𝐰𝐬 𝐮𝐬 𝐭𝐨 𝐚𝐩𝐩𝐫𝐞𝐜𝐢𝐚𝐭𝐞 𝐭𝐡𝐞𝐢𝐫 𝐭𝐫𝐮𝐞 𝐯𝐚𝐥𝐮𝐞. -Rafael E. Pino ⁣

Whether you are about to embark on change or are just stuck in a rut, here are six ways to change your perspective when you can’t change your circumstances:

1. Look on the bright side - literally, and figuratively. Exposure to sunlight increases the brain's serotonin levels boosting feelings of calm, focus, and happiness. Plus, optimism gets us further than pessimism.

2. Relinquish control. When we try to control every little detail in our lives we set ourselves up for disappointment. Rather than viewing life as a product of everything under our own control, why not take a deep breath, shift focus and embrace the change that is about to arise?

3. Empathize with others. Seeing things from someone else’s point of view may change your outlook on the situation. Empathy is a skill that can be cultivated through love, mindfulness and loving-kindness meditations.

4. Express gratitude. Neurologically speaking, when the brain is in a state of gratitude, there is no room for negative emotions. Fittingly, it also turns what we have into enough.

5. Work it out. Go for a brisk walk/hike, flow in some yoga postures, embark on a family bike ride - do whatever you need to do to get your heart rate up. Exercise is proven to not only increase oxygen to the body's cells but also the production of endorphins which in turn improves mood and creative thinking for alternative outcomes.

Looking up from the base of a forest is one of my favorite perspectives in nature.

6. Practice mindfulness in nature. Being in nature is one of my favorite ways to clear my head, boost my mood, and observe actual perspective. The vast, majestic beauty all around reminds me that this world is so much bigger than our individual circumstances. Forest bathing, mindful walking, breathing fresh air, and visual meditations like viewing the horizon are all ways to help remove personal emotions, and thereby allows us to see the forest for the trees.

Moving every four or five years certainly has it's challenges for any family, but I view it as an opportunity for our family: to embark on new adventures, see new places, experience new cultures, meet new friends and make memories to last a lifetime. It's all in the perspective.

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