Strategy to restructure thoughts

10.06.2020

Sometimes being able to see things from another point of view improves our ability to handle difficulties. The positive reframing is an example of this and of how, when rethinking certain aspects or dimensions, we reduce the confusion, discomfort and those tensions that we have with people around us. It is a very useful resource that we can all use.

However, there is something that we must admit: applying this type of mental craft costs us a lot. People tend to be stubborn in our interpretations, stubborn in those appreciations we make about certain situations, circumstances and relationships. We do not hesitate to label as toxic that colleague who is always in a bad mood or a controller who is obsessed with order.

Maybe that toxic person is having a bad time and is having a hard time in silence. The one who is obsessed with order may have one of those brilliant minds from whom it would be worth learning something. Let's admit it, our reality has many faces and it is not good to be left with only the most negative.

Being able to relativize and open our eyes to other, kinder perspectives can dramatically improve our quality of life.

What is positive reframing?

Positive framing is a widely used technique in therapy. With it, it is attempted that the person is able to see things differently and to change the meanings that he attributes to them. The essential idea is to make her understand that the point of view she applies to certain realities that generate suffering acts as a filter capable of blurring everything, altering emotions, thoughts and behaviors.

Let's take an example. I am a person with a striking nose or someone extremely thin or short. Beyond working on my self-esteem or self-acceptance, I must also be able to use a positive frame for each situation. Instead of thinking that everyone is going to look at me if I go to a party, I must relativize that idea and focus it on other dimensions: on having a good time, on assuming that we all have our particularities and that is what makes us unique.

Should I avoid going to social events because of it? Obviously not. Because those mental schemes that we apply to certain areas of our lives not only limit us, they act as vetoors of happiness. And if there is something that we must consider is that a large part of us make use of these mental processes. To think that there is only one perspective and an exclusive way of looking at things is something very human.

Moving from "problem-framework" to "objective-framework"

Positive framing follows a very concrete process in which to move from negativity to a more open, constructive and hopeful attitude. To understand it better we will put ourselves in the skin of another person, in someone who has just received a very specific diagnosis: multiple sclerosis.

This particular person tells herself that her life is over, that she will never work again, and that her future is over.

  • The problem-framework is as follows: assume that this chronic disease is degenerative and that everything is lost, that there is no other option than to assume the end.
  • Well, within the therapeutic process it is essential to make use of the positive frame and for this we will apply the objective framework that consists of making the person see other options. It is to pass from the concrete problem to an objective that acts as hope, as an exit to break that negative scheme.
  • In this case, you will focus on understanding the disease, understanding it and knowing that there are options to stop it and maintain an adequate quality of life.

The positive setting does not fall into excessive optimism, it is to rethink experiences to provide solutions

The positive framing is part of the positive psychology started by Martin Seligman in the 90s. It is important to understand that this technique does not seek that someone is always able to see the bright side of life. It is enabling so that, within the context and reality of each patient, it is possible to consider what options are available to manage the situation and improve their lives.

Something like this implies understanding that sometimes we cannot change what happens to us. If I have lost my lost job it is. If I have been diagnosed with a disease, the evidence is that and not another. However, the positive frame allows me to see what approaches I can consider to cope with and face those facts.

It is to weaken the negative and defeatist bias that has trapped me in order to feed my gaze with other possibilities, with other perspectives with which to improve my motivation and the possibility that I may better manage these complex circumstances. Thanks to this resource, I find emotional calm, mental clarity and I can redefine the meanings that I give to certain things.

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