Cognitive Restucturing (Changing your mindset)

Choosing a mindset during difficulties is critical. There was a time when our family went on vacation. We were coming back and the transmission went out in our van. We had several small children at the time and the financial stress as well as work pressures could easily have made the end of our trip miserable. We were forced to get a motel room for the night.

It would have been easy to get upset and find every awful aspect of that 2-day period. Instead, we chose to consider it an unexpected extension of our vacation. We took advantage of the pool and played with our kids. Essentially, we reframed the situation so that it was an enjoyable experience. Some would call it making lemons into lemonade.

Finding the positives in every situation is a talent that can be learned by most everyone.  It starts sometimes sarcastically, but after listing a few of them it becomes easier and easier to see the good aspects, blessings, or lessons which can be learned from an event. Stress is abated and the memory of the event becomes sweet.

Steps for reframing mindset for the event:

Step 1: Step away from the situation. Whether this is in your mind or physically isn’t important. Being able to look at the situation from a calm point of view is vital to being able to see it clearly. Once you have calmed down go to step two.

Step 2: Fully express what the event is that has triggered the stress.

Step 3: Explain how you feel because this event has occurred.

Step 4: What thoughts did you have because of the resulting feelings from the event? Write them down. This step is the “why” behind the frustration. It is the justification for having your frustrated feelings.

Step 5: What is the evidence that supports the way others see the situation?

Step 6: What is the evidence that supports your side?

Step 7: Now that you have seen both sides, weigh them. There are probably truths to both sides. What positives can be brought in to help balance the situation? What insights could have been implemented to make the situation better? Is there something you or the other side could have done better?

Step 8: With a better perspective of the situation, how do you feel? Has your emotional side calmed down?

Each time one critically analyzes a situation, it becomes easier and faster to analyze in the future. This helps us to balance our emotions much more effectively.



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