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February 20th, 2019

It's how you view the world that matters

By Dr James Duffy (Clinical Psychologist)

  • Stress
  • Anxiety

Patterns, associations, connotations.

It might sound a bit cosmic, but our individual perception is what drives our external reality.

When you hear ambulance sirens - does it bring to mind the idea of trauma, or a sound that makes you grateful to live somewhere where skilled medical professionals rush to help you if you need it?

The sound of rain - a reminder of a boring childhood stuck indoors, or walks in the forest with your loved one or dog?

The reality of these sirens and rain remains the same, the difference is how you perceive them, which comes from your experience of the world around you.

It goes without saying that some associations are so vivid, so powerful and so troubling and deep rooted that they take significant time and effort to change. When your experience tells you that something is a serious threat of some kind, naturally you respond accordingly. However, there are many associations that are less so, and for those we have more control over changing them than we might think.

Next time you notice something with a negative connotation to you, think about how you might go about changing or shifting it. It could be a song that reminds you of an ex, or a film that brings back bad memories. With effort, we can rewire our senses to perceive a new reality. The more of our world we can experience positively, the more positive our world becomes.

This isn’t about ignoring those things that trouble us, more that we can choose to create positive links between those things we seek to enjoy.

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