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Turn the pages and change the story of your life

By Joseph Pond

When my kids were little I used to 'read' them a book called Zoom. There are no words but the first page shows red triangles. The next page zooms out and you realise that it's really a rooster's comb.

The point of view keeps moving back so that you see it's a farm scene, that the farm and all its animals are just toys in a child's bedroom, that all of this is really an ad in a magazine which is being read on a cruise ship, that the ship is a photograph on a billboard in New York, and so on. The 'story' keeps changing based on the viewpoint of the observer.

As a therapist, I attempt to help people who feel overwhelmed by a problem to change their perspective on whatever's troubling them.

Of course, there are many different ways one can achieve this. In the storybook, the change occurs as a result of the observer taking a step back. However one can also take a trip through time, or look metaphorically through a filter. (This last one is what we mean when we say so-and-so sees everything through rose-tinted glasses.)

In order to change your own perspective on a problem, I've been recommending weekly that you try mindfulness. You can also benefit from other tools.

Try this: think of a problem in your own life. As you recall a problem, do you have a picture? Most people do. Zoom into it in minute detail, down to the molecular level. Move out as far away from the image as you have to so that it no longer bothers you. Make the image so small that it's hardly visible anymore. Turn it into a still image if it's a movie and put a frame around it like it's a painting in a museum.

Experiment with different frames until you have one that turns your once insurmountable difficulty into something manageable.

Humans are smart so if you make the new image more enjoyable than the previous one, chances are the change will be permanent. Like the book says, you can change your life story.

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