Picture this: When a stressful situation occurs and your head fills with negative thoughts you’re able to adjust your mindset so you can focus on the positive and believe that everything’s going to work out OK.

If that scenario seems to you so way past fiction it’s science fiction you can make it a reality by adopting a practice of reframing. The APA Dictionary of Psychology defines reframing as “a process of reconceptualizing a problem by seeing it from a different perspective.” By flipping a negative thought around you can change how you think and react to situations to a positive light.

“Yeah, good luck with that.” See? See that there? That’s a negative thought reaction. A reaction you can change into a positive by being curious. Instead of immediately dismissing the possibility that you can change your mindset, a positive reaction would be to ask “How can I do that?”

By restructuring your thinking so it benefits you. Maybe you have a habit of catastrophizing situations, your thoughts immediately going to “This is going to be a disaster” and “I’m never going to get this done”. You can ease those thoughts by reframing them into positives. The next time a negative reaction comes rushing into your head, try doing a thought experiment using a simple three step reframing exercise that is a tool of Cognitive Behavioral Therapy (CBT).

As the name suggests, CBT is a modality that focuses on your thought processes and behaviors. It employs techniques that help you work through any negativity that’s having a detrimental effect on your well being and deal with it in a healthier way. That three step reframing technique: Recognize, Change, Replace: can enable you to turn those thoughts around.

Step 1 – Recognize: When you think a negative thought, hear it. Don’t believe it, just listen to what you’re thinking.

Step 2 – Challenge: Where’s the evidence to support that thought? Is there evidence to the contrary?

Step 3 – Replace: Use your words, change the language of your thought so it goes from negative to positive.

Start by practicing with everyday things. It’s another busy morning and as you’re rushing to get out of the house you think “I can never find my keys”. Recognize that thought, it’s a declarative statement that reenforces a negative belief. Challenge that belief by asking yourself when was the last time you actually walked out the door without your keys? It was probably so long ago you don’t even remember. Replace that thought by consciously declaring “I always find my keys before it’s time to leave.”

Identifying negative thoughts when they come rushing in and spending a moment to challenge their validity keeps them from living rent free in your head. We all experience negative thoughts and painting a positive picture doesn’t mean all your problems go away. But reframing them will help you manage them better and ease your way through solving them.

This process works best with attention and consistency which can be tough to maintain on your own. Utilizing the support of a Mental Health Coach who’s trained in CBT can help as you work your way through the process of recognizing, challenging and changing your negative beliefs into powerful positive thoughts. For information on how you can work with a member of the RCNY Mental Health Coach team, feel free to reach out to Cindy via phone / text at 631-921-4085 or email her directly here.


The Recovery Coach NY honors all paths to recovery and provides Individual and Family Coaching, Companions & Safe Transport, Intervention and emergency services for you and your loved ones. We have years of experience and a vast array of resources that can help those in need find their way to the life filled with joy and purpose they deserve. We come with an empathetic ear and solution-oriented actions that can begin to bring the relief you and your loved one seek. For more information about how you, someone you know or someone you work with can benefit from working with The Recovery Coach NY, go to our website.


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