Reframing thoughts can be a powerful way to improve your life. In this article of 10 simple tips, you will find ways you can change your thoughts to be more positive and optimistic.
What does reframing your thoughts mean?
Reframing means changing your interpretation of a situation. It is often used in psychology to describe the way that we can change our perspective on things within our environment.
For example, if you have a child who is sick, it can be important to reframe the situation. You might think that you are getting yourself in trouble by “nagging” or acting anxious towards your child. However, this is not always the case and it is best to be supportive and understanding.
In this example, if you were to reframe the situation, you may realise that your child needs your love more than she needs your opinion. Therefore you could reframe by saying something like: “I am concerned with how much love I will give my child before she gets well again”. From this perspective, it becomes easier for us to get the help that our children need.
How does reframing help us?
People who are positive tend to have positive thoughts which can improve their mood and make them feel happier. They also tend to be more successful in life.
However, it is not always easy for us to change our negative thoughts. Some thoughts are ingrained deep within our mind and we find it difficult to change them. This is why it is important to be aware of how we think or how we interpret situations. If you realise that you are thinking negatively, it can make your life easier and improve your mood.
Tips on how to use reframing:
1. Reframe the situation positively
For example, if you are bad at something, perhaps you should reframe this as a challenge instead of a problem or think that failure is a stepping stone to success (which can help with motivation).
If you are in a bad mood, perhaps you could reframe this as being passionate or compassionate (by seeing the good parts of a bad mood).
This can be beneficial for anyone because it helps them to see things from a different perspective. In other words, by changing their thoughts about an experience, it can help improve their feelings and emotions. In addition, if someone is in a negative state of mind, then they are more likely to make unwise decisions. So by reframing their thoughts, they can avoid making “bad” decisions. Therefore they will find it easier to have control over themselves and avoid making rash decisions.
2. Change the order of your thoughts
If you have a negative thought, it can be helpful to think about what the positive outcome of the situation would be. For example, if you are worried about something, it may help to think about how you will feel when you have done what you are worrying about.
You could think that this is one point where you experience joy and then shift your focus to thinking about all the other points where this positive experience will happen. Therefore, by changing your thoughts in this way, you can control how bad or good your emotional state is.
In other words, we can choose to see the bad things in our lives as a positive or a negative way of thinking and therefore change how we feel in that moment. This is because when you are in a negative mood or state of mind, it is easy to focus on the negative aspects and notice only the bad things. At these times, we may feel that there is nothing good about these situations.
However, if you change your thoughts in this way and think about all the good points and experiences in life, then the negative aspects can become less significant and balanced with some positive points. Therefore we can experience more joy and build up our confidence.
In this way, we can make better decisions and avoid having negative thoughts.
3. Use humour
Humour can be a great way to change your thoughts because it is often based on exaggeration. For example, when you make jokes, they are often not completely true. In other words, it is a form of illusion or imagination. Therefore you are more likely to think more positively and distract yourself from the negative aspects of life. This can help build up your confidence and improve your mood in the long run.
Therefore humour is a good way to reframe how you think because it changes how we feel and how we interpret our experiences in life.
4. Look for the positives in the present moment
We all have bad days, but we need to find ways of making our bad days better. Therefore we need to learn to focus on how good our life is at this moment. For example, if you are happy and content with what you are doing right now, it can make it easier to see the positive aspects of life. Therefore your mood and state of mind will improve more easily.
By seeing how good things are going right now, you can reframe how you feel about other situations that happen in your life. Therefore you will find it easier to build up your mood and be more positive.
5. Changing your environment
If you are having negative thoughts, it can be difficult to change this. However, if you change your environment it may help with your mindset. For example, if you go outside and look at nature, it is more likely to improve your mood and make you feel happier. This is because nature has been shown to have a strong positive impact on our mood and emotions in general.
In this way, we can change our environment by going for a walk or to the nearest park or beach. By seeing the natural world around us, we are less likely to focus on what is around us and so we are less likely to think negatively about our experiences in life.
6. Use meditation
Meditation is a very positive mindfulness technique that can be used to change the way that we think. Doing this, it can change how we feel and how we look at our experiences in the world. This helps to improve our mood and make us happier.
For example, if you are experiencing a bad situation in your life, it may help to meditate on what is happening to you (for example: what colour are the walls of your bedroom?). Although this may be difficult, it will help you see things from a different perspective and might make you feel better about what’s happening in your life as a whole.
7. Develop a realistic attitude
It is difficult to be in a good mood all the time. For example, it is impossible to be happy if someone close has just died in tragic circumstances. However, it can be beneficial to try and maintain a realistic attitude even when experiencing bad times in life.
It can help to think about how you will feel at different points of your life and focus on those positive emotions and thoughts instead. In this way, you can choose how you think about your experiences in life and therefore improve your mood and make yourself happier. You may even experience peace of mind or happiness when you do this.
If you are still experiencing negative thoughts, then it is worth considering how you can change your thoughts in this way. In other words, you can improve your mood and experience more peace of mind by seeing things in a new light. In this way, it can be helpful to focus on the good things in life and make your bad days better.
In addition, if you are experiencing difficult times at work or suffering from stress, then changing the way that you think can be difficult. However, there are many tools that can help to improve the way you think and reframe the situation so that things don’t seem as bad as they seem right now.
8. Focus on what you can control
We all want to change how we feel and think, but sometimes it can be hard to do this. Therefore it is useful to know what you can do to improve your life. For example, it can help to focus on what you have control over and not what you don’t have control over.
For example, if you are experiencing anxiety about an exam, then it is better to focus on all the preparation that you have done for that exam rather than dwelling on the result afterwards. If this is not possible, then consider focusing on how good it will feel when you finally finish your studies (after taking the exam).
In this way, it can be useful to understand what you can control and then focus on these things. If you do this, then it is likely that you will feel better about life as a whole.
9. Do something more productive
It’s important to know that reframing your thoughts may help to improve your mood and make you happier, but they are not a solution in themselves. They are like band-aids or temporary solutions to your problem because they will always return if the problem itself is not resolved. Therefore I recommend that if you are suffering from reframing, then the best thing to do is solve the root cause of the problem. In this way, you will be far more likely to improve your mood and make yourself happier.
For example, if you are currently suffering from anxiety about your job, then the best thing to do is to speak with your boss or manager. In this way, you can solve the problem at the source (for example: if you are underpaid or not given enough support) and make it easier for yourself.
In addition, even if it doesn’t solve the problem in itself, then reframing can be a useful technique because it makes us appreciate what is good in our life. Once we have learnt to see the good things in life, it is easier to focus on these things and make situations better.
10. Start doing things to make you happier
It is also worth highlighting that starting positive new habits can often make us happier. In this way, we are less likely to feel frustrated or unhappy in the future. For example, writing an article or taking a walk can improve our mood and help us to feel happier and more positive.
The benefits of reframing your thoughts
We all have thoughts going through our minds on a daily basis. For some of us, these thoughts can be positive and for others, these thoughts can be negative. However, what we think about tends to have an effect on how we feel as a result.
This is because we tend to focus on the negative things in life and these thoughts define our behaviours. If we focus on something bad, then it can make us feel stressed, depressed or upset. For example, if you are not getting any interviews for jobs and you are beginning to think that it isn’t going to get better, then it is unlikely that your mood will improve as a result of this (unless you change how you think).
On the other hand, if you are in a good mood and think positively, then it is much easier to take action on things that can improve your life. For example, if you are feeling confident about an interview then it will be much easier to do better at it. This can make you feel happier and improve the quality of your life as a whole.
Therefore, reframing your thoughts is one of the most important techniques that can be used to improve our mood and make us happier. The reason why this is important is that we tend to focus on negative situations and therefore these thoughts define our behaviours. If we do not focus on these situations correctly then we cannot take action as a result.