Still Reframing.

Hi.

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.

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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

Jon X

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.

Jon Adkin BAHyp Hypnotherapist. Based in Haverhill Suffolk.

 

You’ve been framed!

Hi welcome back.

This week I want to talk about reframing. No I’m not going to talk about my art (I will if you want to) or my photography. No, reframing is a technique used in therapy to help create a different way of looking at a situation, person, or relationship by changing its meaning. The essential idea behind reframing is that a person’s point-of-view depends on the frame it is viewed in. When the frame is shifted, the meaning changes and thinking and behavior often change along with it.

Another way to understand the concept of reframing is to imagine looking through the frame of a camera lens. The picture seen through the lens can be changed to a view that is closer or further away. By slightly changing what is seen in the camera, the picture is both viewed and experienced differently.

What is an example of reframing? Here’s an example of positive reframing that I really love. A woman was new to a large company and was trying very hard to make a good impression on her coworkers. One day, responding to a widely sent email, she accidentally attached a personal document about her financial difficulties instead of the intended form. Realising the mistake, she quickly sent out a new email with the message “…Well at least it wasn’t a love letter ;)” Her coworkers got a kick out of her response, and an event that could have caused her to look unprofessional actually improved her coworkers’ opinions of her. Positive reframing does not change the situation, but it can certainly reduce damage and put things into a healthier perspective.

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I reframed something that helps me everyday. Due to my illnesses I have a stack of tablets to take each morning, Now when I first started taking the tablets it was a constant reminder as to how ill I really was. Then I had a eureka moment. Now each morning I take my tablets as I always do but now just as I’m about to take them I say to myself or sometimes out loud. “Today is going to be a good day.” By reframing I am reminding myself that I’m alive and well (As long as I continue to take the tablets).

reframing can be used in therapy or just in everyday life. Do you have a teenager at home? You know the ones who think they know everything.

Teenagers often think their outlook is the only way to see a problem. If a friend didn’t call back they must be mad. Or, if a teen fails a test it must mean their stupid.

Ask questions like, “Is there another way to look at this situation?” or, “What are three other possible reasons this could have happened?” Help your teen see that there are likely dozens of potential reasons a problem exists.

For example, the friend might not be returning her text messages because their busy or because they got their phone taken away. Pointing out alternatives to your teen’s insistence that their friend is angry can help them see things from another view.

You might also help them reframe the situation by saying, “Your friend may need to cool down before they talk to you because they like you a lot and doesn’t want to say something mean out of anger.”

Validate your teen’s feelings by saying, “I know you are nervous that they haven’t called you back. I know when I feel nervous I always imagine the worst case scenarios but often, those things I imagine aren’t even true.”

You also might help your teen stay mentally strong by asking, “What would you say to a friend who had this problem?” Your teen is likely to speak to others in a kinder and more compassionate way than they talk to themselves.

The goal should be to help your teen develop healthy self-talk. Eventually, they’ll learn how to coach themselves as they begin to recognise there are many ways to view the same situation.

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The 3 things I always do when reframing
1) I don’t argue
Delivering reframes isn’t about ‘putting them right’. Direct advice giving seldom works because people need to feel: competent, persuaded not bamboozled – even with the best of intentions. It is much more effective to present reframes as innocent questions, observations, misunderstandings or even truisms.

Yes, I see a lot of clients for vomiting phobia, is an undeniable truism – but also subtly reframes the vomit phobic’s conviction that they are ‘the only one’ who feels like this.

2) I remember that reframes are more than just ‘cognitive’
You might be forgiven for thinking that a ‘cognitive reframe’ only works on the level of thinking. But it’s actually easier, by far, to change our feelings in order to change our thoughts than the other way round (as an aside, this is why I use hypnosis with my clients).

A reframe needs to be felt. It needs to have an emotional impact beyond its appeal to the ‘thinking mind’. This is because the new frame needs to be more emotionally compelling than the old one if it is to be accepted. We do need to calm our clients, of course, but we also need to know how to sometimes raise their emotional pitch in order to embed a new more productive way of seeing.

By discovering what’s important to my client, I find out what raises their ’emotional temperature’ and then utilise what motivates them to help them view things differently.

For example, a businessman and landlord who needed to stop cigarettes choking the life out of him was given the following analogy:

Imagine a tenant whom you had to pay to live in your house. Imagine that you paid them to be there while they soiled your furniture, wrecked your carpets, damaged the walls and roof… Would you call that a good deal for you?

After this reframe the man said he just couldn’t continue smoking. This reframe worked for him because of the nature of his own business, and as a businessman the importance to him of ‘good deals’. He could no longer think of smoking in any other terms than ‘a terrible deal’ for him.

3) I open the ‘attention gates’ before I deliver a reframe
I shouldn’t really be doing this, but I’m about to tell you something very few people have ever heard before…

Ok, that’s a bit over the top – but hopefully I’ve made my point and got your attention!

Because I need to ensure that my client is in the right state of mind to be receptive to a new, more therapeutic take on things.

I need to know not only how to construct a reframe but also how to open the client’s ‘attention gates’ so that they can become receptive enough to actually take in and absorb the reframes I offer them. No matter how elegant your reframe, if the client blocks it out, it will be useless.

I use various prepping techniques with my client so that reframes will take hold: surprise
shock
humour
curiosity
hypnosis and
practical demonstration and instruction.
All these different techniques would get people’s full attention, loosen them up and get them into the right frame of mind for his reframes to take root. I then deliver a carefully crafted and individually targeted ‘new perspective’ that would completely alter the troubling and limiting ideas that were causing them unnecessary difficulty in life.

Of course, there are many ways to deliver reframes but when you keep these three principles in mind clients  tend to leave my practise with powerful new ways of seeing which transform how they live.

I will talk more about reframing next week. Give it a go, let me know how you get on.

Have a great week.

Jon XX