How did you get on last week? Did you try reframing? I’ve spoken to a few people this week who told me they found some of the tips useful, which is great.
So I thought I would dedicate another blog to help you understand how and why reframing can help in a lot of situations.
Sometimes when a day seems stressful or overwhelming, relaxation is just a positive reframe away. Positive reframe strategies take the ‘stress’ out of stressors – when we reframe, we look at the same situation in a new way that highlights possibilities rather than the “threats” involved. Viewing our stressors as challenges that we can face, even opportunities, rather than mere threats to our happiness, can help us out of feeling trapped. Once we broaden our perspectives with positive reframes, we are able to see more opportunities. More importantly, we can feel less stressed almost immediately. Try the following positive reframe strategies below. They can turn your next bad day into a day of new possibilities.
Think About What’s Stressing You. Rather than wallowing in feelings of frustration and helplessness, look at your situation with fresh eyes. What aspects of your situation are stressing you the most? What needs do you have that aren’t being met? Where do you feel a lack of control? Become aware, if you aren’t already, of the parts of your situation that you would most like to change if you could.
Look For What You Can Change. This first step may seem obvious, but it’s not always done. When you reframe, you change your perspective on things. When looking for what you can change, brainstorm for as many possibilities as you can, without judging right away if you can or can’t do them. Instead of thinking, ‘I wish I could change this,’ or even, ‘Can I change this?’, try thinking, ‘How can I change this?’ You may not be able to change everything, but with a positive reframe of the situation, you may see possibilities you weren’t aware of before.
Look For Benefits. If you’re in a situation you truly can’t change, or if there are aspects you can’t change, you can reframe your thoughts and change the way you feel about it by finding benefits in the situation you face. What opportunities might be found amidst the rubble? What strengths might you have gained by simply working through this? When you’re looking for benefits, it doesn’t mean you gloss over negatives; you simply notice positives as well and focus on them.
Find The Humor. This is my favourite. Have you ever felt that someday you’ll look back at this and laugh? Why not let ‘someday’ be today, and laugh now? When you reframe for humor, you find the aspects of your situation that are so absurd that you can’t help but laugh. You can often turn the most stressful aspects of a situation into the funniest, and share those bits of humor with those closest to you (or your 600 closest friends on Facebook) and receive support in the form of shared laughter. Find the humor in a stressful situation and the benefits of laughter as you reframe your way into a good laugh.
I have so many clients who come to me who have a problem with an inner critic. That little voice telling you, ‘you can’t do that’ or ‘you’re not good enough’ Whether you tell yourself, “I’m never going to be promoted,” or you constantly fret, “People think I’m weird,” negative self-talk affects how you feel and how you behave. In fact, the conversations you have with yourself often turn into a self-fulfilling prophecy.
For example, imagine someone who thinks, “I’m socially awkward, and no one wants to talk to me.” To cope with his awkwardness, he avoids striking up conversations with people and limits his interactions. Consequently, people think he is socially awkward, and his belief about himself is confirmed.
So whether you call yourself names, or you always talk yourself out of trying something new, here’s how to deal with negative thoughts in a healthy way:
Recognize your negative thoughts.
When you get an email from the boss that says, “I need to meet with you as soon as possible,” is your first thought that you’re about to be fired, or do you think you must be getting a raise?
Many of your thoughts are automatic. They just pop into your head without any conscious effort.
So it’s important to take a second to evaluate your thoughts, so you can recognize thoughts that are unrealistic, unproductive, or irrational.
Look for evidence that your thought is true.
Just because you think something doesn’t make it true. In fact, most of your thoughts are more likely to be opinions rather than facts.
So ask yourself, “What’s the evidence that this is true?” Sticking with the example of the email from the boss, what evidence do you have that you’re about to be fired?
Create a list of the evidence that supports your thoughts. Perhaps you called in sick for days in a row recently. Or maybe you missed a deadline on an important project a month earlier. List as many reasons as you can.
Look for evidence that your thought isn’t true.
Then create a list of reasons why your thought might not be true. Maybe you are one of the hardest workers on your team, and you know that your boss rarely fires people without good reason. Or maybe you’ve been called into meetings with the boss before, and you’ve never gotten fired.
If you struggle to find contrary evidence — which is common when your emotions run high — ask yourself, “What would I say to a friend who had this problem?” If your co-worker said, “I’m about to get fired,” you’d likely be able to conjure up some reasons why that might not be true. So give yourself the same consolation you’d give someone else.
Reframe your thought into something more realistic.
Once you’ve looked at the evidence on both sides of the equation, develop a more realistic statement. Telling yourself, “My boss wants to talk to me. There could be many reasons for that email,” can help you keep things in proper perspective.
Don’t try to convince yourself of things that are overly positive — that won’t work either. Instead, the goal should be to create a statement based in reality.
Ask yourself how bad it would be if your thought were true.
Sometimes, the best way to deal with negative self-talk is to face it head-on. Ask yourself, “How bad would it actually be if I did get fired?” Then spend a few minutes thinking how you’d respond.
Whether you decided to apply for a different job, or you chose to start your own business, you’d have options. It wouldn’t be the end of the world. Reminding yourself that you’d eventually be OK can help take some of the panic, dread, and worry out of the situation.
Practice replacing negative self-talk
You might never get rid of your negative self-talk completely — and that’s fine. The goal is to recognize that your brain’s predictions and conclusions aren’t always accurate. Then, you’ll be less affected by the thoughts that tend to stir up uncomfortable emotions or unproductive behavior.
The more you practice replacing your negative self-talk, the more equipped you’ll be to reach your greatest potential. After all, you’ll never become your best self if you’re constantly beating yourself up or dragging yourself down.
Stop fighting yourself. You are your own best friend, and you wouldn’t treat your best friend the way you treat yourself so STOP!
Thank you for reading this blog. I hope it helps you to put a new perspective on life.
Have a great week and remember think positive.
See you soon
PS. This blog consists of my thoughts and my esteemed colleagues in the health and wellbeing sector. We are here to help you. Please don’t be afraid to ask for help.
It’s ok not to be ok.