I just was browsing my Facebook feed and noticed a post from someone who was encouraging people to reframe their disappointments from 2013. What does it mean to reframe your thoughts? In psychological terms, it means that you take a situation which you originally had put a negative ‘frame’ around, and you make a conscious choice to remove the negative connotation, and replace it with a more positive ‘frame’. This is cognitive reframing, or thought reframing.
Let me use an example from my own life. In October, I made a personal choice to eliminate sugar from my diet. This was not something I did on a whim. It was a choice based on careful consideration and discussion with my family physician, and for personal health reasons. I was very successful with my decision through Halloween and Thanksgiving. I found sugar-free recipes for some of my favorite holiday treats, like pumpkin pie. But I did not make it through the festivities of Christmas sugar-free. I gave in to the multitude of temptations surrounding me at home, at work, and at social gatherings. Basically, the entire month of December, up until today, has not been sugar-free. So, I can view this as a failure on my part, and frame it in a way that guarantees further failure. Self-talk which reinforces black and white thinking, would go something like this, ‘You really blew it! Now you’ve ruined all the progress you had made. What a failure you are.’ A healthy reframe would go something like this, ‘You have succeeded in the past with eliminating sugar from your diet, and you can succeed again, starting today.’
Using reframing is a healthy psychological way of turning what could be a negative stumbling block into an opportunity to build more success into your life. What disappointments have you had recently that could use some reframing? It’s amazing what a difference a positive point of view can make.
Wishing you beautifully framed realities today and in all of 2014.