Reframing of thoughts


Fatma Warsia

Counselling Psychologist

To strengthen our mental health, reframing of our thoughts in a positive way is very important. So, let's learn how to reframe our thoughts together.

Reframing refers to viewing the situation from a different perspective, which can be tremendously helpful in problem solving, decision making and learning. Reframing helps to constructively move on from a situation in which a person feels stuck or confused.

The aim of reframing is to shift one’s perspective to be more empowered to act – and hopefully to learn at the same time. Many times, merely reframing one’s perspective on a situation can also help people change how they feel about the situation, as well.

What is framing?

Framing is a mental structure that is built upon the beliefs you have about yourself, your roles, your circumstances, and about other people. How you view any event is dependent upon how you frame it in your mind. As such, your mental frames shape how you see the world, how you see yourself, how you view others, and how you interpret your life.

So, what is reframing?

Reframing in its most basic form is coming up with a different interpretation of an event or experience. It is a cognitive behavioural technique that helps you to change the perceived meaning of something and therefore change the way you feel about it and thus your entire experience.

Model for reframing thoughts

Here are a few steps to reframe your thoughts. For better understanding, the personal example of a physiotherapy treatment is used. Wherever possible, please write down the steps so that you have more clarity.

1. Write down the situation or problem

Firstly, define the situation clearly. The goal or feeling or fear associated with that situation. For example, beginning physiotherapy and feeling anxious about it.

2. Write down your thoughts about the situation

Then, write down what is going through your mind when you think about this problem. For me, my thoughts were:

This is going to be a very hard, long and painful process. My neck and shoulders are stirred up and way too sensitive right now for physiotherapy. This is going to take me more than four months to succeed. I am dreading this process.

3. Write down what feelings and emotions you feel.

Here, list how those thoughts make you feel. In my case, I felt fear, worry, frustration, tired, overwhelmed, panicked, anxious, scared, dread and exhausted.

Now, we begin the reframe.

4. Create four alternative thoughts

This is where we now change our way of looking at the situation and think of thoughts more congruent with the situation, such as:

a) Discomfort means I am strengthening the muscles, which is a good thing.
b)Physiotherapy is a positive experience that is getting me closer to my end goal of being completely pain-free.
c) It is not a burden; it is an exciting healing process.
d) There is no reason it will take more than four months; there is no time frame. It could happen very quickly, in fact.

5. List evidence to support these alternative thoughts

Here, simply find evidence that supports your new alternative thoughts you just created, such as:

I started physiotherapy once before and got running in the gym, so if I can do it then I can do it now. This time, I am in a better and stronger place than I was before because I have learned so much since then.

Now, I am ready for physiotherapy because I have dealt with the underlying tension.

6. Write down what feelings and emotions you feel post-reframing

Take a deep breath and evaluate how you are feeling after reframing and changing your view on the situation.

For me, I felt relieved, confident, positive, grateful, I began to believe in myself again and I actually felt excited about starting my physiotherapy.

Final thoughts

As you can see through this simple example, a scary experience was turned into something to welcome and look forward to, simply by changing the perspective or mental frame. The next time you’re confronted with a negative situation, try this method and see if you can change your perspective about the situation.

Hope this helps you. Lots of gratitude.

View more content by Fatma Warsia

Discussion Board

Do you agree that reframing thoughts can change our perspective?

Rohit Chopra
This is a fantastic writeup! Thank you so much Fatma. Often, we get stuck in our old ways of thinking and it is very important to be able to see the situation from a fresh perspective. 💯❤️🙏
Fatma Warsia
Thank you Rohit Sir. Please do practice this in your daily life
Rohit Chopra
I'll definitely do that!! 😇
vinit hosmane
Thankyou, it helped a lot! 😌
Subhoshree Das
Very helpful technique to practice