Reframing applied

plus a pinch of scientific background

Lately I came across a couple of occasions for applied cognitive reframing. Just three recent examples:

  • “I am wasting 2,5 hours per day for commuting.” versus “I have time to sort my brain, be on the water, hear music or even do sports – and I am arriving at some already in a mood ready for my evening ‘program’.”
  • “I am so impatient!” versus “I have a bunch of nice ideas, so many I am about to explode. That’s fine – and now I will sort & order them.”
  • “What a shitty weather today!” versus “What about cleaning up my flat now (with cool music) and have time for outdoor stuff tomorrow?”

I heard of the concept of reframing first in the first lessons of my coaching education some time ago. It took me some time to take that concepts actually in. Now I want to share with you what reframing is about and how you can use that tool for you.

Is it all about language?

Yes, language plays a big part. It is important how you talk about a sitation, a person or things. Yet language is not everything. It is also about your motivation to reframe something… and maybe then see it in a different light.

Isn’t that self-tricking?

You could say this is self-tricking, right? Yes, it is. And I am the one who decides to trick my brain – a bit. So it is about self-efficacy.
I would go further: it is not ‘tricking’ it is re-training. In my opinion we are so used and socialized to negativ-ish thinking (or let’s call it ‘self-optimization-thinking’) that we actually need some training for our brain to get used to think differently.

A nice thinking template for me is that I ask myself: “What would a good positive-thinking friend say?” (instead of me in my old thinking patterns & habits)

Good news: it is developable

When doing research for my thesis on Mindful leadership [1] I dug also into the theoretical foundations of Positive Psychology [2] and I stumbled upon the concept of Psychological Capital (PsyCap) [3]. Self-efficacy, optimism and also resiliency are components of PsyCap. So I found some scientific background information which is always very valuable for me – especially when it comes to the ‘soft’ human stuff in IT.

[1] rough contents: how mindfulness affects leaders & followers, how leadership development can make use of current mindfulness research, etc.
[2] Seligman, M. E., & Csikszentmihalyi, M. (2014). Positive psychology: An introduction. In Flow and the foundations of positive psychology (S. 279–298). Springer Netherlands.
[3] Luthans, F., & Youssef, C. M. (2004). Human, Social, and Now Positive Psychological Capital Management: Organizational Dynamics, 33(2), 143–160.