Three Strategies to Reframe Negative Thoughts

reframing self care Mar 31, 2022
Mindfulness Coach Chelsea Pottenger

Have you ever been overwhelmed by the never-ending list of things you HAVE to do this week?

Calls that need making, meals that need preparing, appointments that to need booked: the list goes on, and it usually feels more negative than positive.

These tasks often feel like a burden, but there are ways to change your mindset to help ease the pain of HAVING to get through this never-ending list.

One of the best ways to reframe negative thoughts is with one simple word: GET

The power of GET

Instead of using the word HAVE, use the word GET:

Original: I have to look for another job.
Reframed: I get to look for another job.

This simple word change instantly turns your list of negatives into a list of positives and opportunities. You can also see these ‘tasks’ as processes for your progress.

For example, now you GET to:

Choose a job that aligns with my values.
• Learn what opportunities for someone with my work ethic and skill set.
• Have another experience to learn from.

The power of YET

Another great word, and one that can reframe a negative thought, is YET.

The power of YET is a product of Dr Carol Dweck’s growth mindset research and work. These three simple letters are the first step someone with a fixed mindset can take to start thinking with a growth mindset.

For example, here are some common fixed beliefs:

• I can’t speak publicly.
• I can’t overcome my grief.
• I can’t pay off my mortgage.

By adding yet to your fixed beliefs, you’re adding hope and the possibility of growth. 

Fixed Beliefs + The Power of Yet

• I can’t speak publicly ... YET.
• I can’t overcome my grief ... YET.
• I can’t pay off my mortgage ... YET.

The next thing you need to do is ask yourself (or a trained professional) what can be done to help you turn that 'can’t' into a 'can.'

What can you do to help yourself achieve your goals?

• I can join Toastmasters International.
• I can speak to a therapist to gain the tools I need to manage my grief.
• I can speak to a financial advisor.

Now you have attached an action to the outcome, there is a way to move forward. We have to continually confront our negative thoughts’ logic because they’re often outdated beliefs that keep us stuck. It’s all about changing your language and lens to shift your mindset.

This word, ‘yet’, is arguably the most important word for every leader and professional to overcome setbacks.

Helpful or Harmful?

Another way to reframe negative thoughts is to ask yourself, is this Helpful or Harmful?

When going through any sort of adversity, we begin picking up habits, asking questions or taking actions to cope. It could be opting for a glass of wine to unwind after the workday to staring vacantly out the window and picking apart every detail of a conversation you had with someone a week ago.

This is normal, however, sometimes these habits, questions and actions aren’t beneficial.

Here are some examples of how you can bring the question, helpful
or harmful? into your life:

• Is the way I’m thinking about this relationship helpful or harmful?
• Is this glass of wine helpful or harmful?
• Is staying up late to watch TV helpful or harmful?

By questioning your thoughts, behaviours and mindset, you are putting yourself back in control for the day.

Chelsea's book 'The Mindful High Performer' is now available. This is the ultimate guide to living a strong, calm and happy life, packed full of useful mindset tips and action points. ⁠

Buy now