Tag Archives: perspective

Reframing – the power of perspective

perspective photo

Reframing – the power of perspective

There are many ways to look at a single experience/event. It’s important to remember that our perceptions create our reality. If we see something as negative, our brains will use this message and create a state that makes it our reality. We see things through a ‘mental filter’ coloured by our past experiences. If we change our frame of reference by looking for an alternative story, we automatically change the way we respond to life.

Thoughts  –   Feelings  – Behaviour

Thoughts create feelings and feeling then influence our behaviour. Take a neutral situation. You come into work in the morning, say “hello” to a colleague who ignores you. We could have various thoughts from this encounter:

  1. We have upset this person and they are ignoring us deliberately
  2. They are tired and didn’t register that we said “hello”

 

There are many possible thoughts we could have about this situation and the one we settle on will create a feeling (either anger or sadness or frustration etc) and then this will influence what we do. If we feel angry we may confront the colleague or ignore them in the future. If we consider they may just not have heard us, we may carry on being friendly as before.

Our past experiences regularly influence what we think in the present – be aware of this as past experience create trigger points for us where we are more likely to be hyper vigilant and react.

Reframing in its simplest form is changing a negative statement (thought) into a more neutral or positive one by changing our frame of reference. Reframing is all about changing the meaning you have assigned to something in order to lessen it’s negative emotional impact and it’s a great skill to learn.

The first basic principle is that events or situations do not have inherent meaning; rather, you assign them a meaning based on how you interpret the event.

The second principle is that every thought has a hidden “frame” behind it. The frame is your underlying beliefs and assumptions that are implied by your thought.

The final principle is that there is a positive intention behind every negative thought.

That inner voice of yours that expresses negativity is only doing so because it wants to help you in some way. That doesn’t make the thoughts right or acceptable of course, but it does mean that your inner voice is not an enemy to be resisted.

Tips for reframing

Keep a thought journal and learn to look for evidence of your thinking. If you have a thought, “No one will ever love me”, ask yourself where is the evidence? You can’t predict the future and the past doesn’t always equal the future. It’s an irrational thought.

Use a pie chart – draw a pie chart and include as many alternatives to explain a possible issue. For example – as above, the colleague that ‘ignored’ you. What other reasons could there be for them not responding apart from the possibility that they don’t like you? Are you mind reading?

Be aware of unhelpful thinking errors – these always need reframing. Overgeneralising, personalising, all or nothing thinking, catastrophising, mind reading etc – these are all irrational, there is no evidence and they will create unhappy feelings.

Reframing is a great mental skill, you create your quality of life through your thoughts and perceptions – get into the habit of reframing and challenging your thinking regularly. Improve your ‘mental diet’ and you will lead a more contented life.

Mandy X

 

How to decatastrophise

 

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How to decatastrophise

We’ve all been there – something triggers us and we end up catastrophising and imagining the absolute worst case scenario. We make mountains out of molehills. Try out the techniques in this blog post to decatastrophise and get back to normality. One thought can sometimes spiral out of control and before we know it we have become homeless, bankrupt, single /and/or have imagined ourselves on our deathbed. Learn to deal with anxiety and stress in a calmer way and enjoy a less stressful life.

Steps to decatastrophise

Specify the catastrophic consequence clearly:

This has to be as specific as possible. “What if something bad happens?” is too vague.

Here are a few good examples:

What if my health never gets better?

What if my partner leaves me?

Losing my job

Change any “what if” statements into concrete declarations of fact:

Examples: My health will never get better

My partner will leave me

I will lose my job

Challenge the truth/validity of your statement:

Ask yourself if anything bad has ever happened before. Ask yourself how often this might happen or whether it is very likely to happen. Also ask yourself whether there is any clear evidence to suggest that your worry will come true.

Ask yourself what a friend might say if you told them about your worry. Are there any reasons to doubt your worry coming true?

Examples: My health is bad right now but I have been ill before and improved. The doctor said I had a good prognosis.

My relationship is going through a rough patch but that doesn’t mean my partner is thinking of leaving me. My partner has given me no indication that they might leave me.

I might be performing worse at work but losing my job is a big jump. Perhaps I am jumping to conclusions. There is no evidence that I am about to be fired.

Come up with three positive alternative statements:

My health will probably get better. I’m at my worst now – even if I don’t fully recover I’m likely to get better than I am now.

My relationship will survive this tricky patch

My job will still be there tomorrow

Remember that thoughts are not facts and there are times when we allow our thoughts to get the better of us and cause us great distress. Use the above exercise to restore calm to your mind and see things from a different perspective.

Mandy X

 

 

Time to reflect

 

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Time to reflect

I’ve never believed in New Year’s resolutions but I do believe in time to reflect upon where we’re at in life. Scurrying along in life blindly rarely leads to effective outcomes. Rather, taking time to reflect on whether we are happy and in the right place can help us to refocus and put ourselves back on the ‘right track’ so to speak.

I liken it to swimming lengths in a pool. We need to life our heads out of the water every now and then to make sure we are going to reach the end of the pool at approximately the right place. Swimming sideways wouldn’t be very useful. The same is relevant in life.

Are you happy with your life? Are you living a life that is mostly true to yourself or are you at least working towards it?

Fear stops us from making decisions but procrastination can lead to longer term misery and frustration. We all need goals, some short term and some long term so help us move forward. Goals helps add structure to life and can give us a sense of meaning and purpose – two of the essential ingredients for contentment.

Questions to ask yourself:

  1. Do I wake up happy most mornings? If you don’t or wake up with a feeling of dread something is out of kilter, this may be a clue that your day is filled with things you don’t enjoy doing…explore this further.
  2. Am I getting most of my needs met in my relationship?
  3. Is there more positive than negative energy filling my life? Positive energy are the things in life that inspire you and make you feel energised. Negative energy comes from things that drain you physically and emotionally – people or situations or work etc.
  4. If you are able to pinpoint the source of your unhappiness, ask yourself if you can do anything to change it. Is this something within your control or not? If you cannot control it, find a way to accept and/or let it go. If it is something you have control over, create steps to begin the change process.

Living your best possible life can be achieved more easily by taking time to reflect. I highly recommend it.

Mandy X

All about perspective

 

perspective photo

It’s all about perspective

I found the words below on twitter and thought I should share this with you. I don’t believe that positive thinking can overcome everything but I do believe that trying to choose thoughts that are hopeful will be more helpful than filling our heads with all that is wrong with the world.

Mandy X

 

Today was the absolute worst day ever
And don’t try to convince me that
There’s something good in every day
Because, when you take a closer look,
This world is a pretty evil place.
Even if
Some goodness does shine through once in a while
Satisfaction and happiness don’t last.
And it’s not true that
It’s all in the mind and heart
Because
True happiness can be obtained
Only if one’s surroundings are good
It’s not true that good exists
I’m sure you can agree that
The reality
Creates
My attitude
It’s all beyond my control
And you’ll never in a million years hear me say that
Today was a good day

Now:read from bottom to top..

I know which version makes me feel better xxx