Gratitude and perspective

Try reframing thoughts to turn negatives into positives

  • 25 August 2020
  • 2 min read

Awareness of our circumstances

Whilst writing this, I'm aware it's incredibly easy to look at a seemingly overwhelming set of circumstances, mixed with a state of uncertainty surrounding the future, and feel negatively especially around arriving in Portsmouth and returning to the gym. Perhaps there's also difficulty in adjusting to our new routines and other personal challenges we’re facing.

Many of us may have lost out on income, stability and valuable time in our social lives. We understand the pressures faced with disrupting studies and those who have been dealt uncertainty in exam results. Then there's the little things that we took for granted, like jetting away on holiday, or going to our favourite coffee shop for a catch up with a friend, that we may be unable to enjoy.

It's very important to state that this isn’t the whole picture. In fact, there is a bigger picture here. Let's delve further into the wider context of what our circumstances mean for us and re-frame things.

Reframing our circumstances

Let’s now choose to put extra focus on the positives that we're experiencing. I'd encourage you to pick up your pen and paper, or load up a word document, split it right down the middle, and list the positives and negatives. You'd be surprised at the outcome.

We cannot see extended family and friends as often as we'd like and meeting people will be difficult when I get to Portsmouth. We CAN FaceTime anybody in the world, for however long we wish, and we can connect on social media more so than ever before. There’s free software available enabling us to host virtual parties, book clubs, quizzes and meet ups. Join group chats and set up online events to socialise with people to help you settle in.

We cannot go out and pursue that new hobby we aspired to as easily. We CAN, using the world's information (which is more accessible than ever), learn something new via online resources, most often for free! You can also rest assured any activity that is organised will be well planned and thought out to ensure you're safe while participating in new activities.

We cannot go out to freshers events and clubs as easily. We CAN now spend that extra time with our friends and housemates. We can also spend valuable time with our friends that we'd usually never get to, to slow down rather than spending time in a club. This will soon be a distant memory, so make the most of the quality time!

We cannot bear to think about what we've lost, even if it's on a temporary basis. We CAN use perspective and show empathy that others have lost more than us. This doesn't necessarily take our own issues away, however, there are always others worse off than us. We must be grateful for what and whom we have around us.

We cannot control putting on weight and our motivation levels are plummeting. We CAN take accountability of what we eat and drink, limit the damage significantly and do our best with discipline and routine (equally, allowing ourselves the odd treat). Our Health and Fitness Facebook group provides tremendous support and a wealth of knowledge from our instructors and members alike. If you're more keen on sport than health and fitness, join our Team UOP Freshers Facebook group instead.

We cannot partake in our usual gym routines due to restrictions. We CAN maximise our workouts and enjoy the sense of community. We can utilise Sport and Recreations online services through a Digital or Complete membership and workout in our own space. We can exercise outside in our fantastic outdoor spaces like Southsea Common, run along our wonderful beach on our doorstep. Plus - think of the renewed motivation you'll have to exercise on your terms.

When things seem overwhelming, and inevitably they will at times, think that there is good in everything by reframing it. Even if it isn't apparent at the time, you will subtly have learned something about yourself. We will always find negatives if we look for them. We will also always find many positives if we look for them too. I urge you to practise gratitude and keep perspective - they’re two of the keys to happiness, which right now is just what we need.

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