I am making a conscious effort to reframe my thoughts to positive ones from negative ones. I’m not going to say it’s easy because it isn’t; especially when you’re feeling depressed. When you are depressed the negative thoughts are extremely persistent. However, you have the capability to reframe them into positive ones.
Here’s an example: it was raining this morning and I did not want to go outside. Despite this inclination after I thought “I don’t want to go outside,” I then reframed this thought to “I may not want to go outside but once I get there I will feel better.” This motivated me to go out for a walk in the nature center near my apartment.
What do you think happened next? I’ll tell you. I felt better. Even though it was raining I enjoyed looking at all the trees and hearing the birds at the nature center. And as a welcome surprise, the sun decided to come out. I felt rewarded for my hard work on reframing my negative thoughts.
It’s challenging to be positive when you’re down, but ultimately the rewards are stellar. The trick of it is remembering that it is a constant exercise that you are doing in your mind. Thinking positive is like lifting weights. It’s something that you have to continue doing over and over again in order to strengthen that muscle. It feels like over time it will get a little bit easier. But I’m trying not to rely on that because I don’t want to become complacent and then fall back into negative thinking.
Acceptance is a big part of this too. I accept that negative thoughts are going to come in and out of my mind because they’re a part of everybody’s life including my own. However, I do have the ability to reframe them and transform them into something that helps me in the end or the beginning depending on how you look at it.
Here’s another example of how I could look at something differently. Let’s say I’m running late to meet someone. I think “I am so bad at time management.” This makes me feel worse about myself. I could reframe this thought. Instead, I could say to myself “I am struggling with time management but I am working on it.” That makes me feel like I am doing something productive to change my behavior.
Old habits are hard to get rid of and negative thinking is an antiquated habit that I have developed. But I don’t see it as a permanent one. Our minds are malleable and the more I think about them that way the better I feel. Reframing your thoughts is such a wonderful exercise and I am working hard to do it each day. Another thing to remember is that it is a process and if I have difficulty reframing my thoughts that’s okay too.
Have you tried using positive reframing on your thoughts? It’s worth a shot and I have seen the benefits of it even in the early stages. See if it works for you.