Life is a continuous cycle of highs and lows. Sometimes you’re up, sometimes you’re down.
Those bad days can be really hard to shake.
Overall though, life is usually pretty good, right?
So what makes a good day good and a bad day bad?
Sure, the stuff that happens to you. But also, the way you think about what happens to you.
The secret lies in how you look at a situation. You can reframe the thoughts that give you a negative feeling into ones that make you feel capable and in control.
You can re-frame a bad day or negative situation into one that empowers you.
Reframing is a technique used to change your point of view during a negative situation. With re-framing, you’re able to look at a situation with a new and more positive perspective.
When we change our perspective on a situation, the facts of what happened remain the same, but we make a mindful shift in how we see it. The meaning changes. And when the meaning changes, our thoughts, and behaviors can change along with it.
Reframing lets us see something in a whole new way, and allows us to see and appreciate the positive aspects of a situation. We have the power to transform our experience from a negative one into one that’s hopeful. An experience that fills us with positive emotions such as joy, gratitude, and hope.
Re-framing has been found to help:
Reframing, whether you practice it on your own or along with the help of a therapist or coach, is a really powerful way to turn perceived problems and negative thoughts into opportunities that inspire real change and growth.
Cognitive distortions are irrational or unhelpful ways of thinking. These distortions create negative thought patterns which need to be reframed.
Some of these patterns include:
Blaming: Always attributing issues to something or someone else — not taking responsibility for your own role in how things turn out.
Catastrophizing: Always thinking that the worst thing that can possibly happen is going to happen or believing that things are worse than they actually are.
Personalizing: Seeing yourself as a victim, or unlucky — the target of negative events. It’s making something that’s not about you into something that’s a personal attack on you.
Over-Generalization: to make excessively vague or general statements about something or someone or where one applies something from one situation to all other situations.
When negative thinking patterns occur, you may be so used to thinking them, that you might not even notice when they pop up. Reframing starts with learning how to recognize them before they take over. When you do this, you realize that most situations no longer appear to be all bad or all good—they’re just what you make of them.
Now, after any negative or disappointing event, it’s important to try to remember not to invalidate your emotions. Whatever you’re feeling is ok. You need to be able to feel your feelings and sort through them to accept them. So don’t try to push your feelings down deep inside you, ignore them, or pretend they don’t exist.
You’re allowed to feel bad. Even if it’s just for a little while.
You’re allowed to think: “This is hard. This is really stressing me out.”
Then, after you’ve felt your feelings, you’re free to explore why your situation is stressful and try to re-frame it into something more positive.
Reframing isn’t denying the challenges that we’re given can be difficult.
Reframing can help us come to terms with knowing that even though a circumstance may be hard right now, nothing lasts forever. Sometimes things in life are going well and sometimes things are just….well, hard.
But you can still reframe your thoughts and change the way you feel by looking for the benefits or opportunities in any given situation.
Practicing reframing can help us learn to trust that hard times — whether they last for minutes or days — can become transformational periods of opportunity or growth. We can become more resilient during these times through the power of reframing. More optimistic.
When you find yourself in a negative thought pattern, pointing out the alternatives in a situation can help be helpful for you to see things in another way. Start by evaluating the evidence in a situation where you’re feeling negative thought patterns creep in. Put aside your thoughts and emotions for just a minute, and ask yourself what the facts are.
Say you recently started a new career.
You might at first think, “I’m not cut out for this. What was I thinking? I’m probably going to fail.”
Let’s try that again. And be gentle with yourself, love.
Perhaps replace that thought with “This is just the beginning for me. Every time I make a mistake, I learn from it. I’ve worked hard to get here. It may take some time to feel confident, but I know I’m ready for this”.
Now that sounds a little more true. Right?
So next time you find yourself in a negative thought pattern, try this exercise. Write down your answers so you can refer back to them in the future and track your progress:
Situation: What happened?
Thoughts: What went through my mind?
Feelings: How did I feel?
Evidence: What is the evidence for the thoughts? What is the evidence AGAINST these thoughts?
Perspective: After weighing the evidence, what is a new perspective?
While you can practice reframing on your own, it can sometimes take a lot of time, and effort. It may also be challenging to see which negative thought patterns get in your way without someone to guide you or point them out to you. Working with a therapist or coach can help you know what to be on the lookout for so it becomes easier to do alone.
As a transitional life coach, I can help you recognize these patterns and reframe the negative thoughts in your life. Let me help you step into your highest self and live the life you were meant for.
If you’d like to book a complimentary clarity call with me here, we can begin to explore the endless possibilities there are in store for you.
The sky is the limit for you, love.