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To understand what reframing is, you need to understand what framing is. Framing or mental frame are the beliefs that people have of themselves, their roles in society and where they fit in, their situations and circumstances and how they view other people.
Framing involves interpreting and ascribing to events that happen to you in your life. How you perceive these events their effect on you is what framing is. Mental frames shape who you are and how you think.
They shape and define how you view the world, how you view yourself, how you view others and how you interpret different events in your life.
Frames are powerful as they are basically who we are. By this description, mental frames can either be positive and negative. Frames can also be in your control and out of your control. Frames affect how you live your day to day life.
They can expand your horizons if they are positive and limit your life if they are negative and this is why it is so important to always tell yourself positive things about yourself and what is happening around you.
For people with negative frames, they should always practice consciously changing their frames to end certain behavior. This is known as reframing.
Reframing aims to interrupt old negative and unhelpful thoughts and thought patterns with new perceptions of reality. Reframing helps you put events in your life, whether in the future, current or past, into a more positive and comfortable context.
It is changing what a certain even in your life means or meant to you. Framing is done by adopting more positive ways of thinking. By reframing your mind, you also affect your actions which goes a long way in changing your life. The actions you take will be inclines towards your new beliefs and ways of thinking.
The type of reframes that we have
As the name suggest, a content reframe depends on whatever you choose to focus on. This means that a situation can have positive or negative meanings or both. For instance, there might be heavy traffic when you’re leaving the workplace to home.
Usually, this would irritate you. If you decide to change and take this time to instead listen to a podcast you love, you have chosen to do something productive rather than dwelling on the frustration. By doing this, you have reframed a bad impatient and frustrating event into something positive and productive.
For it to work, you must accept the fact that you are irritated and consciously decide to do something useful with the time. Content reframing involves taking a certain situation and giving it a specific meaning.
Take two friends for example watching a movie. One friend is irritated because the other keeps on talking as they watch the movie. The friend is irritated because he wanted to watch the movie in peace. Whether or not it is irritating, the friend has taken the situation and given it meaning. To reframe this thought, the friend should ask themselves the following statements:
- What is the positive intention in this situation?
- What could this behavior mean?
- Why do they do this
- What would I like this situation to mean?
They should ask these questions in that order. By the end of answering these questions, the friend will have reframed their mind.
First, they will notice that the talking friend is only speaking because he enjoys speaking with him. It could then mean that they should have picked an activity such as a board game so they could talk.
This would therefore mean that your friend is not speaking to annoy you. Now it is up to you to decide what the situation means to you. The choice you pick ultimately influences the actions you move going forward.
This reframe changes the perception of behavior. A certain behavior you have may be appropriate in certain situations and very inappropriate is others.
Take for instance talking loudly. Talking loudly may be very inappropriate for church yet very acceptable in a sports even or concert. If you want to change a bad behavior, then a context reframe is what you need.
For example, it you consider yourself too pushy and direct with others, you need to know that this is not a necessarily a bad behavior. It may be inappropriate or appropriate depending on the situation. When in this dilemma, consider the following questions:
- In what context is this behavior acceptable?
- Is this behavior useful?
- In what context would this behavior serve me?
- How can it be resourceful?
- How has this behavior helped me in the past?
By answering these questions, you will be able to reframe your mind. What is not accepted and is considered negative in some situations is accepted and right in other situations. This is why you should never ignore your even the negative feelings as they make work for you in certain scenarios.
These reframes can solve your problems
Time frame means using a perception of time to shift how you think about a certain thing. For instance, you might have a few weeks to a certain deadline but you need to restructure this time frame to help you begin and finish this work as soon as possible.
It could be convincing yourself that you have only the next two days to complete the job. This will helps you prevent procrastination therefore saving time.
This involves the use of metaphors and analogies to help you decide a solution to a problem in a different way. By using metaphors, you are not bound by the limitations of the real physical world.
Play around with the metaphor to solve the problem or to find another way to look at it. After finding the solution, convert it to a real world solution and implement it. This will grow and sharpen your mind while helping you to think outside the box.
Redefining experience reframe
This means reinterpreting what an experience means to you to give it a whole new meaning and perspective. It is part of content reframing where you need to change the meaning of a situation to view it in a new perspective.
It is a great solution for when you are facing a difficult problem as it helps you see what the useful part of the problem is. Once you find out what it is, you can use this problem to your advantage.
Reframing the mind is a great practice we should all learn and do. It will largely improve your mental health and help you become generally a more happy and positive person.
By reframing the mind, you allow yourself to be open-minded enough to accept any situation no matter how good or bad when they come your way. However it is a conscious process that you should always be aware of and requires a lot of practice for it to become a habit.