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Re-Framing Negative Thoughts

We all have negative thoughts and may get into patterns of negative thinking. In times of distress these may occur more frequently and it is easy to be self-critical and focused on negative thoughts sometimes we may catastrophize the situation making it seem worse than it really is or we may blame ourselves for things getting out of control.


Recognising these thoughts and re-framing them in a way of training your brain to reduce anxiety and overthinking.


Re-framing means looking at something from a different prospective.


Reframing is broken down into six simple stages, which I will explain for you, and to do this, I am going to use an example to help you understand the process.


1. Write down the situation or the problem.


For example, Going to the Dentist and feeling anxious about it.


2. Write down your thoughts about the situation or the Problem.


Write down your thoughts about what is going through your mind when you think about this problem. For Example


  • This is going to be a very hard for me

  • It is going to be uncomfortable and painful.

  • I am dreading this process.

And whatever else your thoughts might be when you think about going for the appointment.


3. Write down the feelings and emotions that you experience when you think about the situation or the problem.


List how those thoughts make you feel.

For example I felt

  • Fear

  • Worry

  • Overwhelmed

  • Panic

  • Anxious

  • Scared

Now, that you know how you think and feel about the problem or the situation look at how you can begin the reframe.


4. Create alternative thoughts.

We now change our way of looking at the situation and think of thoughts more congruent with the situation, such as:


  • It is not going to be that bad

  • It is only going to take 10 mins

  • I can do this

  • I am more than capable of doing this

  • I have been through worse so this will be easy


5. List evidence to support these alternative thoughts.


Here, simply find evidence that supports your new alternative thoughts you just created, such as:

  • I have been to the dentist before so I can do it again

  • There are so many people I know who are not scared

  • I have to go otherwise I may have problems later in life.

  • I can use relaxing techniques while on the dentist chair.


6. Write down what feelings and emotions you feel post-reframing.


Take a deep breath and evaluate how you are feeling after reframing and changing your view on the situation. It could be that you feel relieved, confident, positive, grateful. It could mean that you began to believe in yourself again.


See how you can use this in other areas of your life or with your children.


It is always important to remember that thoughts are not facts, even though they might feel like it sometimes. However, by being able to reframe, you are able to view the situation through a clear lens and change how you feel.


Namita Bhatia

Cognitive Behavioural Hypnotherapist

07305 595603

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