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Refresh with Reframing

May 13, 2016

The way you respond when you learn someone’s occupation, hear their political views or behold their fashion choices (“it’s a man-bun”) reflects your frames. Framing, short for frame of reference, shapes how we make sense of a situation.  It’s the story we tell ourselves about it.

glass-300558_960_720We all have personal frames, driven by our experiences, biases, goals and assumptions.

And there’s nothing wrong with them – as long as you want more of what you’re already getting.

But what about when you want something different?

You can reframe:  let the facts stand while asking,

“What’s another way to view this that’s just as plausible but more productive?”

Reframing can help you diffuse conflict, negotiate effectively, develop your creativity and improve the quality of your relationships.

It’s free, powerful and in your control.  You can do it on your own or with others and it gets easier with practice. By refreshing your perspective, you can create possibility and positivity. The more positive your emotions, the easier it is to reframe positively.  The more positively you reframe, the easier it is to shift to a brighter emotional state.

Researchers Gross and John (2003) grouped hundreds of people into two groups. One group was encouraged to deal with their emotions by reframing and one was encouraged to suppress their feelings.  When the two groups were later compared on scales of optimism, environmental mastery, positive relationships and life satisfaction, those in the group prompted to practice reframing were significantly better off on every factor.

So the next time you’re feeling stuck, try deliberately shifting your perspective, starting from a different:

– time frame (in ten years …)
– person’s POV (what would ___ do?)
– form of speech (not a victim, a survivor … )
– priority
– analogy
– culture
– altitude
– question
– or assumption.

You may be surprised by the energy and possibilities you create.

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