How reframing your thoughts can help with anxiety and build more constructive coping skills.
Positive reframing involves thinking about a negative or challenging situation in a more positive way. This could involve thinking about a benefit or upside to a negative situation that you had not considered. Alternatively, it can involve identifying a lesson to be learned from a difficult situation. Finding something to be grateful about in a challenging situation is a type of positive reappraisal.
Aaron Beck saw negative thoughts as dysfunctional. He came up with what he saw as a number of thinking distortions. In other words, Beck saw people as often having distorted beliefs about the world. So, for example, all or nothing thinking is a pattern of negative thought that involves black and white thinking.
Albert Ellis was also concerned with the way negative thoughts impact us. He felt that being negative makes us feel stressed and anxious. Ellis identified what he termed irrational beliefs. These are thoughts like, I must do something, I have to do something, I should be able to do something. Ellis called these beliefs the basic musts, and thought we have to practice eliminating these thoughts.
One of the most rewarding parts of therapy is guiding clients to connect automatic thoughts and feelings and explore narratives they have creative overtime in order to respond to situations. Clients find it very empowering when they gain a new perspective on situations and shift their thought patterns.
Do you feel up to reframing some of your thoughts today? If so, see some examples below.