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How to get perspective

Written by Richard Docwra

In the modern world, it is easy for us to get immersed in our busy, complex lives and to forget that we are each just a collection of atoms in a much wider world and universe.

At Life Squared we think that it’s important to take a step back every now and then and look at our lives within the great scheme of things. This can not only put our own lives and problems into perspective but also teach us some humility! 

This leaflet shows 10 things that will help you gain a sense of perspective on your life.

Short eBook 5 minutes to read
Audiobook 3 minutes to listen
Video 6 minutes to watch
Teaching materials - video This is the same basic video but with a different ending, to encourage conversation between children and teachers or parents
Teaching materials A set of brief notes for teachers on how to use the above video to stimulate further conversation and learning in the classroom.
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How to get perspective

1. Pause and think
Just take a minute to stop - wherever you are - and think about yourself in the great scheme of things.  This simple exercise can alter our perspective and mood.

2. Look up
Look up at the sky and think about your size and place in the wider universe.  Visit the NASA website and learn about the size of the universe - it'll put your own life into perspective!

3. Look down
Take a few moments to go the opposite way - get onto the floor, part the grass and look at the rich life that exists at a much smaller level than us.

4. Look at a globe
Or look at a world map, and see all the other places that exist even on our own planet.

5. Imagine the world without stuff
Stop where you are, take in the view and then imagine it in its' natural state, without human stuff - including roads, houses and the other things we bring.

6. Picture 7 billion
Try to get a sense of how many 7 billion is.  This link from National Geographic could help -  Then picture yourself as just one within that number.

7. Think like someone else
Try putting yourself into the head of someone else - it could be anyone else you see.  Realise they have just as much of a rich inner life as you.

8. Imagine the world without you
Would it really be that different?

9. Visit a library or browse the web
Read some history books, browse the internet to investigate the size of the universe, check out the massive range of plants and creatures on this planet - there are hundreds of things you can do for free to put life into perspective.

10.  Remember life is short
Remind yourself that you only have a window of up to 80 years or so in which to appreciate the experience of living.  This awareness of the limited time we have can not only give us perspective but also help us to get a sense of what really matters to us in life.   

© Life Squared 2013

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