Reframing is the skill required to thought stop. It changes the unwanted thoughts or emotions related to the thoughts and feelings, allowing you to walk forward in a positive or realistic thought process. Reframing helps stop the feelings from getting out of control and redirect behaviors to positive or understandable reactions.
Using the simple 80-20 rule is a quick and easy way to reframe and determine how much time you want to give to the situation or thought. Reframing can also be ‘putting that thought on trial,’ or do you have evidence for what you are thinking. So, do you have actual proof, and if you do have evidence from the past or current situations, do you want to give it all your energy or focus.
An example is: ” I am so stupid.” “I know traffic will be horrible.” “Everyone is looking at me, and I look fat in this outfit.”
The evidence does not line up with the thought- it is an emotional response to something that has happened. This response may be a learned behavior or reaction to something else in your life.
One method for challenging these anxious or stressful thoughts below; is a long way to reframe and can take more time than you would like before getting past the thought and triggers.
Taking the irrational thought which has triggered your flight, fight, freeze reactions, and work through it.
Questions to ask:
What is the worst thing that could happen?
What is the best thing that could happen?
What is probably going to happen?
Now move on to “oh my goodness, the worst has happened!” so…
how will it turn out in the following timeline: one week, one month, one year?
Let us go back to your thought, ‘everyone is looking at me, so I must look fat’: is this irrational or rational?
Is everyone actually looking at you? Everyone?! and if they are looking at you, does this mean they think you are fat?
So a few distortions are working in this scenario: catastrophizing, mind-reading, generalizing, and minimizing.
One easy way to look at your irrational thoughts is to determine if you have any proof for them.
What proof do you have against the thought or for the idea? If you add it up, how does it measure in a court of law- the courtroom in your mind.
If you need to add to the idea of a courtroom in your mind, you can take it a few steps further with the following questions.
Do I have evidence for my thoughts?
Do I have evidence against my thoughts?
Am I making it more than it is? Am I interpreting the situation without actual proof?
What would happen if I took the emotion out of my thoughts?
What would a friend say about this situation or idea?
Can I reframe it positively and take out the distortions?
Now, what does the thought look like? Is it different?
Go back to the distortions and thinking errors and see where the thought is generated.