3 WAYS TO CHANGE YOUR MINDSET: REFRAME. DEAL (i.e. YOU CAN HANDLE THIS). THINK POSITIVE OF FUTURE.
What is reframing?
Reframing is a general method of changing the meaning of something and thereby changing your mindset and how you handle the situation. Because so often your happiness is down due to your outlook, not the actual circumstance.
Ask yourself, what situations or people do I have a negative outlook that prevents me from doing or being my best?
How can I reframe the situation or person as a positive challenge? Are there any positive benefits of the situation or person? What can I learn from the situation and how can I make this situation into an opportunity?
Changing your interpretation of the event that occurred, or a person you ran up against, or a situation in your life, can help you expand the range of possible solutions and enlarge your capacity for action and to create an action plan to deal with it.
How does reframing apply to current situations or past events?
You can try to reframe current situations or past events. Here are some examples:
- Caregiving is stressful and taking a lot of time out of your life. Caregiving is stressful due to managing your sick spouse and their health issues, giving you burnout. You can reframe caregiving by recognizing the limitations to safeguard a spouse’s health, while still accepting the vulnerability of the spouse’s health. Caregiving takes a lot of time and you could say to yourself: yes, I can’t do everything I want but doing all the small and big things are making them happy. They are getting happiness and a better life from the time I put in.
- You have a power failure in your house and now you can’t get done what you wanted to get done that night. Or you can just view it as now I have more intimate time to spend with my significant other or my kids. If you are the only person in the house you can change your mindset to spend time meditating.
- Another example is an event that happened in the past. Your feelings are all about the story you believe in your head. And, your story feels good or not so good depending on the words you use to tell that story. Maybe you had a very bad car accident and you are left with injuries that are not fixable. If this had not happened, you may not have built up skills you may have otherwise ignored. Look up Nick Vujicic, born with no arms and no legs, he has overcome life’s challenges through strength and hope and now uses his words and voice to inspire others.
- Maybe the worst case scenario of the doctor telling you your life will be shorter due to illness. You can see it as an opportunity to make the best of yourself in the time you have left. I will write another blog on this but I saw a friend when she got the diagnosis of terminal cancer turn her whole life upside down to inspire others.
How does reframing apply to people I interact with?
Years ago I heard on the radio a therapist/ counselor talk about marriage issues of the difference of personalities between spouses that stuck in my head. She pointed out that the trait you dislike the most in your spouse may actually be the trait that someone else would love to have in their spouse. An example she gave is that you think your spouse is boring. Well, your neighbor would say I would love a boring spouse compared to my spouse who is never home, takes too many risks and has to be the life of the party. The quality of boring can be reframed as positive as someone who is very consistent and reliable. Or a spouse maybe too picky. Your neighbor may say I have a spouse who doesn’t care about anything…the house/ their dress, etc. The picky attribute maybe reframed to say she loves quality and has high standards.
A person in my life…change negative to positive attribute:
Dumps his fears: communicates needs well
Repeats himself: is expressive
Won’t let up: is persistent/ determined
Criticizes to: gives advice or guidance
Takes up a lot of time: wants connection with you
Expects a lot/ perfection: is attentive to detail
Doesn’t say thank you: expects security/ loyalty
Nothing is good/ negative: is specific of needs/ has discriminating tastes
Fearful/ dawdles: is careful/ easygoing
Bossy: a good director or natural leader
Rigid: has a high sense of order in life
Too dependent: just really connected
Not focusing well: takes time to process or has a lot of ideas
Timid: just careful
They are not giving you a hard time: they are having a hard time
And don’t sum up a person’s entire existence on a few aggravating personality traits. Instead of being frustrated just think I’m going to put kindness in my eyes and practice compassionate listening. See the positive side and compliment them on those positive attributes or behaviors.
Be someone who builds and nurtures with an understanding, forgiving heart and looks for the best in people and leaves them a little stronger than before.
How does reframing apply to things I say to myself?
Be a watcher and be conscious of yourself as a “detached witness” to see what your negative thoughts are and then try to name them to hear exactly what you are saying. Experience your emotional feeling fully; don’t try to push it away but don’t try to keep it around or increase it; just witness it. Then try to reframe it. See examples below:
Things I say to myself…change negative to positive attribute:
It’s a problem: it’s a challenge.
I’m failing or doing poorly: I’m just learning.
I’m exhausted or tired: I’m recharging.
I’m sick: my body is cleansing.
I’m in pain: I’m feeling sensations and awareness.
I’m afraid: I’m curious.
I’m overwhelmed: I’m in demand in life right now.
I’m anxious: I’m eager.
I’m stressed: I’m maximized and energized.
I’m different: I’m unique.
I hate: I prefer.
Things I say to myself…change negative to positive thinking:
I have made many failed attempts: Mistakes are part of the growth process and valuable experiences.
I make a lot of mistakes: Embrace mistakes instead of pretending that you won’t make any.
It’s too much to accomplish: Take one small step today instead of wanting to run a marathon tomorrow.
I can’t make a decision: Let go of you can’t make a choice unless you are certain of the outcome.
I can’t do this successfully: Reframe as this takes time and effort and I just have to put more time and effort into it right now; redefine your success.
I’m not getting anything done: Move towards realistic goals; do something regular every. Change your daily behavior.
I’m procrastinating: Reassess what the assignment is; make it less intimidating and fearful.
How does reframing apply to my work or business plan?
Reframing in business can apply to a leaders or CEOs as scenario planning or paradigm shifts. Leaders and CEOs must be flexible enough to perceive all alternative possible outcomes that matter.
This can be done through scenario planning which shows multiple framing of situations making you more aware and conscious of the frame that you put the situation. By rehearsing actions with alternative frames, new and better options for action can be identified and contribute to the present situation.
Here is an example of product scenario planning. The market is changing in the wrong direction for your product. Several scenarios could be that you examine the attributes or attitudes of the new changes and incorporate or highlight those in your product or description of the selling points of your product. Or you could lower your promotional spend on the product and use it to promote an upcoming new product.
Also, in the reframing you can also look at the worst case scenario. An example of this could be a large oil company owns many ships to bring out oil to farther parts of the world. Scenario plan that oil plummets or is starting to be replaced by something else as the worst case scenario. Then maybe the company shouldn’t own all the ships and rent a portion of those ships now so then when that happens they are better prepared to handle financial ups and the downs of the market place.
DEAL (or YOU CAN HANDLE THIS).
They have shown in clinical studies that if you believe can handle a situation your stress goes way down. So believe you can handle this. If the situation keeps changing say to yourself….”another plot twist” and “I can handle this”.
Stress does happen and you can choose to view the stress as “I can handle this”. Accept that this is the situation and if it can’t be changed it can help you focus on something that can be changed.
If you have negative thoughts or negative fears, it might actually help the come up with the worst case scenario. How you would how would you strategize to get through it? Say I can handle that. Also try to think of future or current negative experiences as just unlucky and it wasn’t personal or your fault.
Trust your instinct that you can build resilience and try to keep things in perspective. This is nothing compared to what problems some people in the world have. You know maybe the good side will happen.
Things I say to myself…change to I can handle it:
Nobody will help me out I can handle this.
Stress of fear of parent’s death I can handle this.
Stress of financials I can handle this.
Getting divorced I can handle this.
Etc. I can handle this.
THINK POSITIVE OF THE FUTURE.
While living in the present moment is the best way to live life fully; there are also times to think of the future.
The famous writer, Eckert Tolle, states he estimates he lives in the present moment about 80% of the time but does think of the present/ past about 20% of the time. Being present in the moment is important so you are enjoying and living life. An example is when you are washing the dishes or rubbing your spouse’s back, be there in your mind and nowhere else. Sometimes while I drive to be in the moment I feel the wheel under my hands and feel the tires hit the pavement to be in the moment.
Planning the logistics of your future endeavors as well as planning goals for future is important. Thinking of the future in a positive way is key to success. If you image yourself doing a mediocre life then you will have a mediocre life. Every thought we think is creating our future. Just spend only 20% of your time planning; not 100%.
Stop being afraid of what could go wrong and just start thinking positive about future events. Our attitude ultimately determines not only our final destination but the voyage and experiences along the way.
Many situations or people and life will be difficult and that’s part of what life is. And while that may be a reality, you can recognize the elements of difficulty and learn how to reframe them. Try this for a week for several times a day: analyze whether your thinking is positive or negative? If it’s negative, try to reframe the situation. Get out a blank piece of paper and write down 20 ways in which you can reframe the situation. Then know that you can deal with it. Look for more positive future viewpoints.
By doing this more and more in your daily life, you can learn to have a better mindset.
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