Feeling extra stuck these days? Unable to unwind, switch-off, or leave the demands of work behind when the day is done?
COVID lockdowns inspired many (at least at first) to be “more productive”. After all, it felt as though we had all the time in the world. But, the best laid plans don’t always come to pass. And after over a years worth of being stuck inside, doing the same thing over and over again — all work no play— it’s understandable that you might be kinda, sorta desperate for a change.
“I tried! I’ve been working 40 hours a week from my kitchen table!” — you cry out — “Am I missing something?”
If you share this problem, then you’re not alone. Today, a lot of hard workers are unable to see outside of their carefully-structured reality. This sort of selective perception can be a mental prison. Experts describe it as tunnel vision.
What Is Tunnel Vision?
Tunnel vision is a condition in which we tend to focus on a single task or idea too much — to an unhealthy degree. As if nothing else exists beyond it. No other point of view. Instead of seeing the world as a vast array of possibilities, we only see the walls of a “tunnel” with just one way out.
And that’s simply not how it really is…
As a psychological condition, tunnel vision can happen when you do the same routine too often. So when presented with a problem, you only seek solutions from your “tunnel”. You do not think outside of the structures you have created. Hence the awful panic if you can’t find a fix right away.
A good example of a ‘tunnel vision’ sufferer would be someone with low self-esteem. Let’s call her Sandra. Due to her Instagram obsession, Sandra starts to feel bad about herself, comparing her life to others. She hopes that by spending even more time on the app, watching influencers be successful, will bring her closer to the lifestyle she desires — help her find love, get fit, score her dream job. “Why isn’t it working,” asks Sandra. “I watched so may reels of people on yachts!”
But if Sandra made the effort to escape his own tunnel (in this case, living via social media), then perhaps she could imagine solving his problems in different ways — like eating healthy, joining a dating app or handing out some CVs to get the dream job . It may not be as easy as scrolling, but sometimes the graft has to be done in real life to live the dream.
More often than not, the answer to our problems lies beyond our comfort zone. And you can only find it if you conquer your fear of the unknown.
Signs Of Tunnel Vision
Tunnel vision is a tricky condition to diagnose. For starters, because you may not even be aware of what you’re not perceiving — details that are outside of your mental “tunnel”. And in order to escape this narrow worldview, you must first recognise that you have tunnel vision. Makes sense, right?
Here are some of the most common signs of tunnel vision:
- Being unwilling to accept suggestions from others
- Being so consumed with work that you refuse to take breaks
- Feeling confused when you step out of work or home
- Sense of things “not getting better” despite your best efforts
- Intense FEAR of change in your routine
- Feeling like your room is swallowing you whole
- Severe panic attacks, for no apparent reason
- Being dismissive of “strange” ideas right away
How To Get Out Of The Tunnel
Seek An Alternate Opinion
If you’re suffering from tunnel vision, you’ve come to the right place. There are many (simple) tricks you can try to help ease those feelings of being “stuck”. An easy one is to seek a second opinion on your problem, from those who don’t necessarily share the same views as you do. And then, of course, to actually consider it. This is harder than it sounds, but very worth it.
Another solution is to travel, which gets you out of your comfort zone (i.e. your home) right away. Pack up your bags and explore a foreign environment — which doesn’t have to be overseas. This way, your brain can snap out of its hamster wheel of rigid routine, and say: “Oh wait, that’s new... and I like it!”
However! Distant travels can be a no-go during lockdown, so if you don’t fancy a stay-cation, what’s next? Another solution to tunnel vision is to read about and research new topics. Especially those that lie outside of your usual interests.
A way to gently start opening yourself up to new things is via the media you consume. Why not watch a movie in a genre you wouldn’t usually pick? Watch a new series instead of Friends reruns? Check out some documentaries about things you know nothing about — other parts of the world, new technologies, important historical events that have shaped the society we live in today?
Another method that could free you from your tunnel is microdosing. When you microdose with psilocybin (the compound found in magic truffles) you are freed from the shackles your mind has created. Psilocybin has been shown to help open your mind, increase creativity, elevate mood, reduce anxiety and help with problem solving ability. This added assistance from microdosing can be the key to getting you out of your funk. Not only will you see other ways to deal with your problems, but you will feel excited about life again, more colourful and able to focus on the good. You can take a little step back from the ego that usually drives your behaviour.
The first step towards curing tunnel vision is to be aware of your blind spots, or the usual mistakes in your decision making that you have been ignoring. Y’see the ego tells us that we’re always right. Taking psilocybin via a microdose can help you become more open to the other “paths” you could take.
Remember: you are not a static character trapped in a video game. Your current reality is just one of many options! So reawaken that free will!
In the end, the only way to cure tunnel vision is to find clarity — or the cold hard truth — about what you’re facing. You may find poking your head out of the tunnel scary, but at least it’s real. And you’ll never solve your problems if you prefer to live in a fantasy world… gotta be brave!
Because, who knows? Your destiny could easily lie in the road you never thought you’d take — or the road you couldn’t even see when you were stuck in that tunnel!