Aileen Cunningham
About Author
December 13, 2023
Thinking Styles

Can we change how we think?

Many clients come to us to seek help with such thoughts and fortunately, we can teach them how to take control of the thoughts and live a much happier life.

A tool that you can use to change the way you think is called Reframing. Reframing is essentially changing how you see something and then expressing it differently. It’s a psychological paradigm shift that replaces your old way of thinking with a new and improved mindset. Reframing not only changes the way you see, think, and respond to situations, but it can also keep your thoughts from sliding into a negative position.

In theory, this is a simple task, it is, but doing it can be tricky. Logic often doesn’t gel with emotions and emotions frequently outbid logic. This happens way more often than we’d like to admit. Trying to get the logical and the emotional self in sync can be a real challenge but it’s not impossible. It just begins with changing your perspective. Looking to the bright side is a must!

A sign of benefiting from reframing would be if you see the glass as half empty rather than half full, or thinking the grass is greener on the other side of the fence.  

A MAC therapist will use various techniques whilst working with you to get you where you want to be. Several of these are explained below.

Firstly, we will teach you how to ride the wave. Thoughts are simply concepts produced by your brain. They have no emotion nor inherent meaning. YOU are the author of them, and you give them meaning by how you interpret and respond to them. Just like waves, some thoughts are strong, and others are weak. Teach yourself to recognize that your thoughts are separate from who you are and allow them to freely come and go. Don’t try to hold on to unhelpful thoughts and don’t fight them; they’ll take you under. So, the next time a huge thought comes crashing toward you, don’t let it pull you out to sea. Rather, choose to “ride the wave." Not only will the view be better, but it may help you see the big picture.

Secondly, we explore viewing the situation from an outside-looking-in approach. Remove yourself from the situation by looking at the circumstances from the outside. This lets you observe what’s happening from different angles. You can even ask yourself, "What would I think if someone else were in a similar situation? What advice would I give them?"Sometimes looking from the outside incan help you put some distance between the circumstance and your emotions, all while helping you look for the best possible solution.

Thirdly we encourage you to put on your detective hat. Ask yourself, “What are the facts about the situation and what are my feelings? Do they match up or are my thoughts magnifying the situation?”Emotions can easily steal the limelight from reality. They can also make a mountain out of a molehill. By keeping your eye on the supporting evidence, you may be able to crack your case and move on to life’s next mystery.

Next, we ask you to hold your horses. When your internal dialogue is screaming out pessimistic negativity, then it’s time to mediate the situation. Rather than jumping on the bandwagon and going along with everything your inner voice tells you, take hold of the reigns and hold your horses. Oftentimes emotions can run wild, and when they do, you can end up behaving recklessly and making impulsive decisions. It's best to slow down and consider all your options before hastily acting out or jumping to a conclusion.

Lastly, we teach you how to sift through the dirt to find the gold. Challenge yourself to look beyond the doom and gloom to see the light at the end of the tunnel. Just like a gold miner, you may have to sift through a lot of dirt to get to that priceless little nugget. Don’t let unhelpful thoughts make you miss a golden opportunity.

The next time you start to feel anxious, depressed, or overwhelmed, try to reframe the situation, and look at it from a slightly different angle. If you do, you’ll likely end up in a better psychological place. Reframing is one skill that can truly change the way you think.

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