Do situations, events or even people drive you mad, making you think, feel and act in a certain way? A way that you do not really want to be?
Do you wish that you had the power to see things differently and/ or act differently, but just not sure how to?
Well there is a solution and the solution is entirely in your hand, up to you! Firstly, you must understand and recognise that only you, yes, only you are I control of your feelings, thoughts and actions. No one else!
This is done by REFRAMING techniques.
Reframing is a cognitive psychological technique that consists of identifying and then disputing irrational or maladaptive thoughts, feeling and behaviour. The importance is to know that all three are connected. Reframing is a way of viewing and experiencing events, ideas, situations, people, concepts and emotions to find more positive alternatives.
Positive Reframing helps you view the other person’s perspective, their motives and behaviour in a more positive light.It is all about resisting the urge to lash out, jump to conclusions by going to war. Alternatively, it is trying to think about the conflict from a more positive perspective.
Reframing is an undesirable behaviour or trait that is conferred a positive intention. Reframing occurs in life regardless and is a common means by which meanings get created and lost in various situations, either deliberately or by happenstance.
By using reframing techniques to help create a different way of looking at a situation, person, or relationship by changing its meaning is an excellent tool to have in your life. It is used by many other therapists to help clients look at situations from a slightly different perspective.
The prime 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 behaviour often change along with it.
A good way to think about this is to think of the concept is to imagine looking through a camera lens. Think about how you can adjust a view through the lens by changing it by bringing it closer, further away, blurring the edges by focusing in the centre or vice versa. By slightly changing what is seen in the camera, the picture is both viewed and experienced very differently; giving different thoughts and feelings about the image.
Reframing can be used with any age to change the way they think, feel, and behave. I’d like to share some examples:
- A young teenager struggling to accept the limitations of having a chronic illness. To reframe how the teenager views his illness he is asked, “Can you think of your illness as a built-in reminder to take care of your health throughout your life?”
- A teenager or child is upset he/ she didn’t make the basketball team. He/ She is asked, “What positive things could come from not making the team”. He/she is able to say, “ I will have more free time and with enough practice, I might be able to make the team next year.” He/ She is now looking at it differently in a more positive aspect with positive alternatives.
- A teenage boy states that his mother has and is ruining his life by not allowing him to use his smartphone when he wants, taking away his smartphone because he was caught texting while driving. To set the scene questions are asked based round the consequences by drawing out the answers from the boy. He is asked, “What are the dangers of texting whilst driving to you or someone else?” “What are the consequences if you are caught?” “What is the impact of your action on others?” Talking about and asking open think questions about the dangers of texting while driving and the reasons his parents may want to teach him not to do that eventually enabled him to see that his mother’s actions weren’t meant to ruin his life, but instead, were meant to save his life.
- Jade complains bitterly that her mother is overly involved in her life, constantly interfering and nagging her about what and how she should be doing things in her life. In order to attempt shifting Jade’s negative view of her mother, this is reframed by asking, “If things so wrong or you find life hard, who is there to listen and guide you?” “Isn’t it loving of your mother to teach you ways to take care of yourself so that you will be prepared to live on your own and begin to make sensible decisions without her?” By doing this, eventually Jade was able to see her situation from a much more positive light.
- Teenagers often think their outlook is the only way to see a problem. If a friend didn’t call back she must be mad. Or, if a teen fails a test it must mean he’s stupid. So by asking questions like, “Is there another way to look at this situation?” or, “What are three other possible reasons this could have happened?” Helps your teenager see that there are likely dozens of potential reasons a problem exists. This can be used in many different scenarios.
- Another common example amongst teenagers is her friend might not be returning her text messages because she’s busy or because she got her phone taken away. But this is not always viewed this way. Other worse scenarios begin to overload a child’s mind leaving them thinking and feeling anxious, lonely etc… Pointing out alternatives to your teenager’s insistence that her friend is angry can help her see things from another view.
- You may help her by reframing the situation by saying, “Your friend may need to cool down before she talks to you because she likes you a lot and doesn’t want to say something mean out of anger.” By validating feelings by saying, “I know you are nervous that she hasn’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.” This can be very powerful and eye-opening.
- Reframing is a great tool to help your teenagers stay mentally strong. As we know that this is a huge growing concern amongst youngsters. To develop empathy and compassion you may ask, “What would you say to a friend who had this problem?” “What thoughts and feelings could be going round your friends mind?” Eventually, realising that your teenager is more likely to speak to others in a kinder and more compassionate way having empathy.
The goal is to help develop healthy self-talk. By doing so Eventually, teenagers, children and young people (also adults) learn how to coach themselves as they begin to recognise that there are many ways to view the same situation. Sometimes things just need to be said differently because as human beings we naturally tend to let our emotions heighten which affects the way we think and behave, often irrationally. With practice, you or they will begin to realise that the initial conclusion is only one possible explanation but there are many more paths, options and solutions. Stepping back and taking time is what needs to be done.
Author: Zeenat Noorani
Resilience Wellbeing Coach & NLP Practitioner
“Empower Your Mind- To Live The Life You Desire”