How to Reframe Negative Thoughts

Imagine yourself attempting to navigate through a busy highway during morning rush hour traffic. However, today is one of those days that seems abnormally congested, which enhances your frustration levels, close to a boiling point. Then suddenly, you are cutoff by a fellow commuter that appears to have come out of nowhere. You narrowly escape a car accident to notice, that he just cut off another motorist, and has now sped off the first exit. Stop for a moment, and imagine the thoughts going through your mind, at this point. Has the driver escalated your boiling point of frustration? Are you feeling extreme anger, fear, concern, or one of many other natural emotions? What if you then learned that the driver was in a mad dash to get his laboring wife to the hospital? How would that change your emotional perspective?
The emotions created above, without fully knowing the situation, are based on automatic mental templates that are referred to as “frames”. Frames affect every aspect of who we are, where our mind goes, what we do, and how we feel. Perception is projection, and basically meaning is subjective. A mechanical process occurs by giving meaning to each event that we encounter. This process is as follows: An event occurs, we absorb the information via our senses, and the information is then filtered as either relevant or irrelevant. This filtering is based upon values, beliefs and how we encode an experience (via deletion, distortion and generalizations). We then create an internal map of the occurrence, which influences your state of mind and affects your behavior.
“Meaning” and “frames” are two very powerful, yet controllable, items. The ability to control provides much greater control over one’s life. By simply implementing the power of “reframing”, one can change the entire direction of their life. As you navigate the treacherous and scenic roads of life, you can enjoy the luxury of concentrating on the road ahead, rather than the distractions in the rearview mirror.
To achieve this objective of reframing, I like to compare to one of my favorite motto’s, I heard in the Navy. A popular Navy Seal’s saying is “slow is smooth…..smooth is fast”. What that means is to slow down, ground yourself, and become mindful of the moment. Don’t allow yourself to be hijacked by your emotions, which are basically an unconscious reactions to a given frame. A perfect way to remove negative frames is to take control over your physiology. If you practice having command over how your body interacts in its own space, it will take less than five seconds to control your state of mind. I have included a Mental Hack Physiology Cheat Sheet below, which can be used to reframe a negative occurrence.


Feel free to email me with any questions you may have, or for a more in depth explanation of reframing negative thoughts.


Ricardo de Manzo y Flores


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