You can change everything around by ‘reframing.’
Reframing our thinking is a technique to correct a few self-inflicted stress wounds by reducing or removing the stress before it can do much damage.
Reframing is all about how you act when a stressful situation presents itself and your internal response set. It involves meeting challenges with a more positive attitude. Changing our attitude toward difficulties is tough, yes, but it’s necessary.
If we’re prone to stress, anxiety and worry, it’s going to necessary to change ourselves as we cannot always change what’s going on around us.
Reframing is essentially putting our reactions to challenges into a new light, a new “frame” of reference. If being given a hard assignment at work entails your having to learn a new computer program, you might respond with a knotted stomach and dread.
Common thoughts include “Why me? The boss knows I don’t know how to do this! What if I screw it up?” A positive reframe might take the form of thinking “I have a chance to show I’m valuable to the company.
I’ll also learn something new, which will make me more flexible and able to do more.” Some of you may be grumbling about optimism not changing the facts. It may not change the facts—after all, you’re still tasked with doing a job and having to learn something new while you’re at it.
Nevertheless, consider the alternative. Pessimism brings about anxiety in most people. There is definitely a causative relationship between expecting the worst from each new situation and increased feelings of stress.
I’m not suggesting we become a Pollyanna. Hard work is made harder when we have to take on new assignments, new jobs, or are tossed nebulous requirements and uncertain due dates.
Nonetheless, from time to time we need our internal voice to tell us to stop whining and step up to the challenge. There are times we simply can’t make anxiety go away before we take on new responsibilities.
Sometimes we have to beat anxiety by doing what frightens us. Remember, emotional stress isn’t injected into our minds; it’s a reaction to an outside event! That event isn’t inside us. The stress on the other hand, is. Consequently, we can control it.
Is it that simple? Just be optimistic about everything? No, of course not. Sometimes stress relief is found in stilling our inner voice and admitting that a situation is as bad as it seems, but also owning the things we can do to remedy as much of the negative consequences of the situation as possible.
We’re just not as helpless as we feel very often. Even if a situation dictates our best choice of action is to run away, we have the choice of determining how fast to run, and where. Running right into the greedy arms of anxious indecision is not a place we need to go.