Before my journey in cognitive behavioural therapy began, I had no idea what reframing was, but now I couldn’t live without it. This incredibly powerful tool has changed my life and I know this is something that can help others too.
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 meaning of something and therefore change the way you feel about it and thus your experience.
So for me, I have been using reframing in order to overcome my anxiety. Anxiety is having angst and fear about what may happen in the future, however, by reframing, I have been able to take a step back, look at my thinking objectively and then choose an alternative thought/belief that actually helps me to overcome my anxiety and thus make me feel physically and emotionally better.
How Do I Reframe?
Reframing is broken down into 6 simple stages which I will explain for you and to do this, I am going to use a recent example that helped me to overcome my anxiety about beginning physiotherapy for my neck and shoulder muscles.
Stage 1 – Write down the situation/problem
For example, beginning physiotherapy and feeling very anxious about it.
Stage 2 – Write down your thoughts about the situation
Here write 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 physio.
- This is going to take me four months plus to succeed at this.
- I am dreading this process.
Stage 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 TO REFRAME
Stage 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;
- Discomfort means that I am strengthening the muscles which is a good thing.
- Physiotherapy is a positive experience that is getting me closer to my end goal of being completely headache free. It is not a burden, it is an exciting healing process.
- There is no reason it will take four months plus, there is no time frame. It could happen very quickly in fact.
Stage 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 physio 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 physio because I have dealt with the underlying tension.
Stage 6 – Write down what feelings and emotions you feel post reframing
Take a deep breath and now 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.
Now THAT is the power of reframing. I went from scared, nervous and dreading the physio to feeling excited, strong and capable.
It is important to remember that THOUGHTS ARE NOT FACTS! Even though they might feel like it sometimes, but by being able to reframe, you are able to view the situation through a clear lens and thus change how you feel.
#CognitiveBehaviouralTherpay #Reframing #MyJourney #Healing