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Finding Clarity Amidst Chaos: Shifting Perspectives and Embracing Support

When life throws us challenges, we often feel overwhelmed and unable to see a clear solution. In those moments, our emotions take the driver's seat, hindering our ability to tap into our problem-solving skills. This phenomenon occurs due to the activation of our sympathetic nervous system, which triggers a fight-or-flight response and temporarily shuts down the executive functions of our pre-frontal cortex.

However, have you considered that trying to find a solution to the problem may not always be the answer you are really looking for anyway?

Sometimes, what we truly need is a fresh perspective on the situation. In this article, we explore why it's difficult to find solutions in the heat of the moment and offer steps to help shift our perspective..

The Elusive Quest for Solutions

When faced with a problem or challenge, our instinct is to seek an immediate resolve. We often believe that by taking specific steps or changing external circumstances, we can ‘fix’ the issue. However, this tunnel vision blinds us from seeing the bigger picture.

Rather than solely focusing on finding a solution, we should consider the possibility that our perspective might be the key to unlocking clarity.

The Challenges of Seeking Advice

During times of distress, we may turn to others for guidance and advice. However, this can be a tricky endeavor. Deep down, what we truly seek in that moment is usually validation for our emotions and a reaffirmation that we are right and the other party is wrong. We want to be heard and understood, rather than simply receiving a solution handed to us. Recognizing this tendency within ourselves allows us to approach seeking advice with an open mind and heart, ready to explore different viewpoints.

A Shift in Perspective:

When we are in a calm, regulated emotional state we are then able to use our logical thinking brains and our emotional feeling parts of our nervous system in a balanced way, to see the situation through a different lens. We are choosing to open up to the possibilities of many different points of view, instead of seeing our own point of view as the only truth.

To shift perspective can also help us to see the good in the bad; the opportunities in the challenges; the beauty in the hard; the lessons in the pain.

Sometimes all it takes is a change in perspective that allows us to be in a place of deeper understanding and acceptance, which is enough to 'resolve' the challenge - without having to take action or expect a person to change their behaviour or a situation to change.

Understanding Canine Triggers: Navigating Moments of Their Overreaction.

Similar to humans, our dogs can also experience triggers that lead to moments of overreaction. Whether it's excessive jumping, barking, or displaying heightened responses, it's essential to handle these situations with care. In the heat of the moment, it is often best to swiftly remove yourself and your dog from the triggering environment, minimizing any unnecessary commotion.

Attempting to correct or change your dog's behavior in the moment can be counterproductive. Their fight-or-flight response has been activated, causing them to react in a way they perceive as valid or as a strategy to regain a sense of safety. In this over-aroused state, trying to negotiate or force a different response will likely prove ineffective.

Instead, granting yourself and your dog some space to "cool off" is far more beneficial. Help your dog to complete the stress cycle through movement / action / play or helping them to de-regulate through using their nose (sniffing, following a scent trail or finding treats in the grass for example). Then, take a moment to consider the factors that may have contributed to your dog's overreaction. Avoid blaming your dog or others involved; focus solely on the facts. Was the other dog or person too close for your dog’s comfort? Could you have created more distance to provide your dog with the necessary space? Was your dog experiencing stress, fatigue, or in some physical discomfort or pain that might have made them irritable and in need of additional space?

After thoughtful reflection, if you remain uncertain about the underlying cause of your dog's overreactions, it's an excellent opportunity to seek support from a canine behavior practitioner. As experts in what makes dogs happy and balanced, they can assist in identifying the root causes of your dog's behavior. By shifting perspectives and attempting to see the situation through your dog's eyes, both physically and emotionally, you may uncover the simple solution lies in meeting their physical and emotional needs. Helping them feel heard, understood, and addressing any unmet needs can create a shift in how they perceive and respond to various situations.

Steps towards Clarity before seeking advice:

1. Give Yourself Time to Complete the Stress Cycle: When triggered, it's crucial to acknowledge and honor your emotions. Allow yourself the necessary time and space to process your feelings. Engaging in activities that help complete the stress cycle, such as exercise or creative outlets, can aid in restoring balance and mental clarity.

2. Activate Your Parasympathetic Nervous System: To regain access to your problem-solving abilities, it's essential to let your parasympathetic nervous system come back online. Engaging in relaxation techniques, such as deep breathing, meditation, or spending time in nature, can help bring about a sense of calm and self-regulation.

3. Explore the Facts and Examine Your Fears: Separate the facts of the situation from the judgments and emotions attached to it. By objectively analyzing the event, you can gain a clearer understanding of the core issues at hand. Additionally, reflect on how the situation may have triggered your own fears or unmet needs. Journaling your thoughts and feelings can be a powerful tool for self-reflection.

4. Seek Help and Support: Once you have gained a new perspective and achieved a more balanced state, reaching out for help and support can provide valuable insights and guidance. Now, in a better mental space, you can be receptive to effective coaching or advice. Whether it's a trusted friend, mentor, or professional, seek someone who can offer a fresh perspective and support your growth.


In times of distress, finding a solution or to ‘fix’ the problem may not always be the immediate answer. By allowing ourselves time to process and regulate our emotions, exploring different perspectives, and seeking support, we can navigate challenges with clarity and resilience - for both ourselves and our dogs. Remember, it's not always about changing the external circumstances but rather shifting our own perception of what is happening. Embrace the power of self-reflection, openness to alternative viewpoints, and the strength that comes from seeking professional assistance when needed. In doing so, you will discover that the journey towards resolution often begins with finding a new perspective.


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