Framing & Reframing

Before sheltering in place began, I went to the grocery store. I wasn’t going to the store to prepare for what was coming, just to get my weekly groceries. I didn’t realize that people were already stocking up and most of the food bins were empty. I was shocked. I asked one of the workers in the store what was going on. “Should I be worried about getting food?” He told me no. Food was getting delivered normally so don’t worry. He thought that people were stocking up unnecessarily.

It is all a matter of perspective. Depending on how we look at a situation, we can either be positive or we can be negative. From the grocer’s point of view, food was being delivered regularly so there was nothing to worry about. From the people’s point of view, food may not be available so I better stock up while I can. (I did stock up a little just to be sure.)

We can always change our perspective. Sheltering in place began and at first, it was like a forced vacation. My daughter and I played games, finished puzzles, watched movies, baked cookies, and just had lazy days in our comfies. After three weeks, it wasn’t fun anymore and I got a little down. Depressing thoughts like, “Is this the end of the world?” flooded my head. (I know, a little dramatic!) But then it hit me. I want to turn these thoughts around.

Looking at a situation from another point of view is called reframing. Your original perspective is how you framed a situation or problem. However, you CAN change the way you choose to see a situation by reframing it. I decided to turn my doom and gloom thoughts about the Corona Virus and sheltering in place. I made a conscious decision to see the opportunity in being forced to stay home.

The first change I made was to enjoy this time that my daughter and I had together. We had so much fun hanging out. Next, I decided to set some goals that I could accomplish in just three weeks. (I reorganized my kitchen for starters!) Finally, I changed my attitude to accept the changes that are happening in the world and not resist them.

When you shift your perspective, a bleak situation can open up amazing opportunities. Life is not all roses, but the way we choose to see all the ups and downs we experience can determine whether we are troubled or happy along the way. We can reframe almost anything.

Once I reframed sheltering in place, I decided to look for ways to work from home and still be able to help people. I met a wonderful friend and we will be offering some classes together in the near future. I am not sure our paths would have crossed in the same way without sheltering in place.

Choose something in your life that you are not happy about and see if you can reframe it with another perspective. Maybe that annoying neighbor could be your path to grow in compassion. Maybe the weight you want to lose could be your push to take better care of yourself. There is always a more positive light waiting to be shed on your situation. Find it and reframe you thinking!

Here are a couple links to articles about the clinical use of reframing from the Very Well Mind website: "Using Cognitive Reframing for Mental Health" written by Amy Morin, LCSW and "How to Reframe Situations so They Create Less Stress" written by Elizabeth Scott, MS.

Please share some examples of reframing in your life!

Featured photo by Markus Spiske on Unsplash.