Saturday, December 27, 2014

Yearly Review

by Positive Outlooks
Defeat is not the worst of failures. Not to have tried is the true FAILURE.
— George Edward Woodberry

For me, this time between Christmas and New Year is a time to review the year.  One of the important things I learned to do in counseling is reframing* circumstances.  I was trained to view anything that wasn't 100% perfect as failure.  I learned from that ok is good enough.  Some things, like sweeping the floor, do not need to be done to perfection.  Playing horse shoes 'almost' still gets a score.  I learned to relax my standards.  I also learned that changing how I define failure.  It is not a failure to burn a batch of brownies....just throw them away and enjoy the cookies I cooked or bake another batch and turn the temperature down.  One mistake does not make a disaster.  Keeping all this in mind I look at the past year's events.  I had some great times, visiting children and grandchildren, feeding family and friends, learning to cook some delicious meals, and riding roller coasters with my son-in-law.  I also had challenges.  My Dad had a pacemaker put in, I interacted with my mother, expectations at my school were changed, and changing counselors are a few of the harder things that happened this year.  I am learning to recognize the growth I experience from the tough challenges.  I am better at not awfulizing events, looking at the silver linings and not so much at the cloud.  Or not making mountains out of molehills.  DH getting home late from work does not mean he was in a car wreck.  I believe trying new things sums up a lot of what happened this year. 

This web page has specific ideas on how to use reframing techniques for taking negative thoughts and replacing them more positive or healthier thoughts.

Anyways, here are some valuable tactics to help you replace your negative thoughts with positive ones.
  1. Use milder wording. This one is really easy, and you should start doing it immediately. Words do matter, and if your thought is worded with a more mild negative, you won’t feel as bad. For example, if you were to think “I really hate that guy”, you would feel worse than if you thought “I’m not a fan of that guy”. So go with the second one.
  2. Ask yourself: “What is the best way for me to accomplish this?” When you are facing a challenge or fear, you can ask yourself this question to help you focus on the solution rather than the problem. The phrase “best way” implies that there are multiple ways around the problem and focuses on the positive.
  3. Ask yourself: “What can I learn from this?” Now, instead of having a problem, you have a way to improve yourself. Every challenge is also an opportunity to learn, so take advantage of it.
  4. Challenge your assumptions. Try to figure out what the frame behind your thought is. Chances are you have a limiting belief that is encouraging you to think negatively about your situation. This limiting belief is based on assumptions you have made that probably are not true. Find reasons why they aren’t true, and you chip away at the beliefs causing the negative thoughts. This is the most powerful long term reframing technique, and it is far more effective if you’ve been keeping a thought journal.
These techniques are like rules of thumb that you should have available for when negative thoughts rear their ugly head. They will help you come up with “band-aid” reframes in a pinch.

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