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Adjusting Your Mirrors: Changing Perspectives
Author: Dr. Pam Murphy is a child psychologist at the National Center for Telehealth & Technology (T2).
A while back, I was driving along a wide-open county road on my way to work. The speed limit was an incredibly slow 45 MPH. On two previous occasions I had the opportunity to discuss the speed limit with an officer of the law. So on this day, I was motoring peacefully along at 45 MPH.
Another car came up behind me. They had obviously not chatted with the local sheriff, or perhaps they learn even more slowly than I do. They were unable to pass and so they sat upon my back bumper … closely upon my back bumper.
I was not happy. In fact, I grew hotter and hotter as I saw them back there. Perhaps I said a few choice words. But after contemplating a wide variety of options (many of which are unprintable), I moved my mirrors. That’s right. I moved my mirrors so I could no longer see my fellow traveler. My stress level plummeted and my anger evaporated. Nothing else had changed - just my view of it.
It’s easy to forget we have a choice. Often it feels so natural to get angry we don’t even question if we might react differently. Our teenager smarts off. The grocery bag rips. A friend says the wrong thing. Someone tailgates us. So we hand over the remote control to our brain. It might take practice, but consider hitting the pause button first. Step back and see if there are other options besides blowing up in anger. See if there is a different way to view the problem. Sometimes just adjusting your mirrors works wonders.
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