Tuesday, April 14, 2009

Reframing As A Way Towards A Positive Mental Attitude

Yesterday I mentioned rephrasing or reframing as a way
of creating a positive mental attitude. I would like to expand on that just a little.

This refers to how we view something. We all have a frame of reference that we use to work out what things mean. This frame of reference is quite complex and is made up of beliefs and values that we do not question. If we change any part of that frame of reference the meaning that we put on something may also change.

If you recognise what unspoken beliefs and values are being used to view a particular situation, it
might be easier to consider alternative ways of viewing that circumstance. Change the frame from which you see the situation and see how that changes things. See how many different meanings you can get out of something. Which one serves you the best?

Another way of explaining reframing is to think of it as looking at something from another point of view. Some examples of this are:
  • See a problem as an opportunity
  • See a weakness as a strength
  • See an impossibility as a distant possibility
  • See a distant possibility as a near possibility
  • Turn oppression (something is against me) into neutral (doesn't care about me)
  • See unkindness as lack of understanding
In reframing or changing perspective, the "facts" of the situation remain the same. What actually changes are the assumptions that we make. If the "facts" of a situation are put into a different conceptual or emotional viewpoint the whole situation may well seem very different. Often these conceptual or emotional viewpoints are based on inferences or assumptions rather than on real facts.

Changing emotional state can often be enough to view something from a totally different viewpoint. For example people are more likely to be more positive or optimistic when they are happier.

Experiment with these thoughts and see if looking at something from different perspectives can help generate a more positive mental attitude.

"The greatest discovery of my generation is that a human being can alter his life by altering his attitude." William James

Positively towards success


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