Fresh Views

Use Reframing to Reimagine Life

Landscape view of lupine super bloom at Folsom Lake, California

Once you replace negative thoughts with positive ones, you’ll start having positive results. – Willie Nelson

What is reframing? 

Author Susan C. Young in her book The Power of Re3 . . . Review, Redo & Renew for Positive Change & Transformation writes that “Reframing encourages you to say, ‘Let’s look at this another way.’ By changing the frame around a situation, you not only change your perception of it, but its meaning for you as well. If you were to take one painting and view it in three different frames, each combination would offer a completely different presentation. Your perceptions work the same way.”

For example, review the photo above and photos below. They were taken in exactly the same spot, except the first one is using the regular iPhone camera setting and the second two are in “portrait mode”. By choosing a different perspective we can see the delicate details of the beautiful flowers up close.

Portrait mode of iPhone camera focused on the Lupine

An even closer portrait view of single plants

Another example of reframing is reviewing a problem differently by turning it into a challenge, looking at it from different angles, reimagining the situation, and identifying potential solutions. Reframing is a simple and impactful tool to use in taking a solution-focused approach to life with your clients (or in your own life). 

A technique we wrote about last September, adopting a growth mindset, creates an opportunity to reframe thoughts. With a growth mindset the focus is on improving ability over time and developing necessary skills. Those with a growth mindset are more concerned with “ how am I doing TODAY,” compared to yesterday or last week, as opposed to comparing yourself to others. 

Here are 3 solution-focused examples to help reframe thinking:

  1. When feeling stressed, try to identify one or two exceptions and think about a time when you were not stressed, but content. What was different at that time? Sometimes calling on your imprinted memories can help you generate those same feelings again.
  1. Big projects and complicated goals may seem overwhelming. Try to think of these as challenges! Instead of focusing on the long term outcomes, stay in the present and break down complex issues into small steps.  Agree to only focus on the first small step, no matter how small, and congratulate yourself when you do. 
  1. Appreciate your VIPs, the important people in your life who will provide  clear and honest feedback. They can help you identify opportunities for reframing based on their knowledge of your habits.

If you are a health care professional and interested in learning more about our solution-focused practice and approach, when you subscribe to our blog, we’ll send you in return a FREE resource of 10 Solution-Focused Questions to start a solution-focused discussion with your clients. 

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Deb is employed by Dexcom, but her words and opinions in this blog are her own.

Tami is employed by the University of Kentucky HealthCare Barnstable Brown Diabetes Center, but her words and opinions in this blog are her own.