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Reframing: A mind strategy for positive thinking and a powerful tool for your health


A boy standing in the shadow in front of large steps that are covered with sunlight and is looking down at the first step.
When faced with a challenging circumstance, you have two choices: you may focus on how the situation benefits you or how the situation has defeated you.

Feelings, feelings everywhere!

Everyone has feelings, right? Sometimes we feel happy, sad, frightened, or mad. Other times, we might feel excited, curious, glad, or furious (I couldn't help but say it in rhyme 😉)

Simply defined, feelings are an emotional state or a reaction. Feelings are, in fact, a normal response to a thought. Feelings come from thoughts. And how we feel triggers our behavior, or how we act. I like to consider thinking as an art. Just like sculpting a model out of clay, you can manipulate your thoughts in different ways. You might think more unfavorably about a particular event, which is more likely to evoke negative feelings. Or you might choose to think about something in a more favorable light, encouraging more positive feelings.

Choosing how you think highly influences how you act. Your daily behaviors contribute to your health. Mindset matters when it comes to managing stressful circumstances. Below, we will dive deeper into the art of reframing, exploring its significance, techniques that can be used, and the profound impact it has on our well-being.

So, what is reframing?

Reframing is a mind strategy for positive thinking. It involves looking at a situation from a different perspective. Typically, reframing is most favorable when shifting away from a negative thought pattern to a newer, more positive interpretation about something. The result leads to improved feelings, which ultimately affect how you behave in a situation.

Why is reframing important?

Reframing is a powerful tool for health that helps you find solutions to challenges and break away from negative thinking. It is a way to see circumstances as opportunities rather than barriers. As a result, and when used regularly, reframing leads to greater resilience and creativity. Challenges will always be present, but knowing how to see them more favorably can be your best strategy for solving any problem.

What’s the best way to learn how to reframe?

Like learning any new habit, reframing your thoughts can be learned. But like learning anything new, it takes practice! The more you focus on directing your thoughts more positively, the easier it becomes to shift your perspective about most anything. If you are new to reframing or have trouble making the thought process work for you, there are ways you can practice improving your thoughts.

These are some helpful steps you can take to practice reframing:

1.      Identify the negative thought or obstacle in your way that you want to reframe.

2.      Ask yourself if there’s another way to view the situation.

3.      Consider any alternative explanations or interpretations.

4.      Look for any benefits or potential growth opportunities.

5.      Practice gratitude and focus on what you can control.

Additionally, here are some scenarios that may help give you an idea for when reframing can be beneficial:

  • Instead of seeing a setback as a failure, see it as an opportunity to learn and grow.

  • Rather than dwelling on what went wrong, focus on what you can do differently next time.

  • Instead of feeling overwhelmed by a busy schedule, see it as a sign of productivity and success.

  • Instead of thinking about what you’ve lost, focus on what you still have.

  • When faced with rejection, see the situation as an opportunity for self-discovery and redirection.

  • Rather than feeling criticized by a response, consider any words as constructive feedback and think about ways to improve.

How does reframing benefit health?

As mentioned before, reframing is a handy tool to help break negative thought patterns about something. It allows you to focus on building a positive mindset. By consistently thinking more positively, you have a greater chance to look for a solution to a problem rather than centering yourself on a defeat or feeling hindered. Furthermore, you are likely to view a complex situation as a learning opportunity, and, as a result, you contribute to personal growth.

When you practice focusing on seeing a benefit to situations more regularly, you are able to bounce back a lot quicker from setbacks. With time, you build resilience, which improves your motivation to keep moving forward. Your concentration will improve and any future goals you set will feel easier to achieve. Your overall mood will improve, lowering feelings of stress, which slows your heart rate, lowers your blood pressure, and reduces inflammation. Your body will reward you by reducing your risk for illness or disease.

Tips to help you practice reframing:

  1. Start small. Gradually work your way up to more challenging situations. For example, instead of getting angry at a dangerous driver on the road, focus on your driving and getting to your destination safely.

  2. Be patient. It takes time to change ingrained thought patterns.

  3. Surround yourself with supportive people who can help you see things from different perspectives.

  4. Practice mindfulness and self-awareness to catch negative thoughts as they arise.

Reframing as a whole

Reframing allows you to think more creatively and helps to cultivate a more positive outlook on life. When challenging negative thought patterns and finding alternate perspectives, you overcome obstacles, build resilience, and enhance your well-being. Like building a habit, reframing takes practice, patience, and time. Reframing less intense situations will help you later during more frustrating moments. Focusing on how you can benefit, practicing mindfulness, and surrounding yourself with supportive individuals will lower your stress and contribute to improving your productivity and overall health.

A bee flying above the word positive.

A gray sealed envelope.

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