Perception: an invaluable tool

This quarter has been absolutely brutal. This quarter has been challenging yet fruitful. Can’t it be spring break already? How are we already in week 10!?

Perception can be both a powerful tool and one’s own worst enemy. Throughout this quarter I’ve noticed that my state of mind has often volleyed between both of these arenas. This quarter has been very challenging. At times I’ve felt completely overwhelmed and at odds with the world. Contrastingly though, there have also been many instances in which I’ve felt absolutely ecstatic, eager to face the challenges of the day and days ahead.

Lately, I’ve really begun to become cognizant of the power of perception. I’ve started to understand how simple changes in my perception of workload or challenges can drastically alter my motivation levels and as a result, my ability to get work done. Often times it can be very easy to feel helplessly overloaded by school, work, social commitments and life in general, but, I’ve found that simply embracing a positive outlook with regards to one’s circumstances can truly aid in increasing productivity and goal achievement.

In the chance that some of you are curious about my means of perception improvement I’ll present some of my personal favorite perception improving recipes which help me get a grip on a challenging situation, stress, or simply life in general. To start, I find exercise to be an invaluable tool for staving off stress. If I’m feeling extremely tense or unsettled exercise really helps me return to a more relaxed, yet motivated state of mind.  I also frequently refer to a somewhat unorthodox, but highly motivating “mind game.” In the case that I’m feeling overwhelmed, I try to find a role model, be it celebrity, athlete, scientist, really anybody—and I try to “compete” with them. To elaborate, I try to find someone known for working very hard and I then try to outwork them in terms of time dedication, albeit usually in a completely different context. I admit that this method may seem rather unorthodox, but nevertheless, it really helps me to stay motivated and also forces me to acknowledge that there are many others out there who have faced and surmounted much greater barriers than the ones I’m currently trying to pass. Last but not least I’ll share my favorite method for attaining a quick boost in mood: a breath of fresh air. Simply stepping outside of the lab, library, home, or other confined environment for a few moments and taking in the sights, sounds, and smells of the outside world really helps boost my mood in almost any circumstance.

I am also curious to see what tools you use to improve your outlook, mood, or perception. If you have anything that helps you get back in the zone please do share below.