12/19/17

Learning to reframe your thoughts


On Sunday, I shared my frustration with my body during my long run and my failed attempt at a new pancake recipe on the Trimarni Facebook page. 

I accept that life isn't all rainbows and sunshine but I try to always see the positive in every situation as this is how my dad lived every day of his life. 

It's important to shift the content or context of your thoughts so that your thinking can be useful and purposeful rather than negative and unproductive. We all experience a rush of thoughts every hour of every day and with reframing, we can adjust the frame through which we perceive and describe ourselves.

Back in August 2010, I was finishing my first rotation in my dietetic internship and also training for Ironman Wisconsin. I had a super packedweek of interning along side trying to squeeze in training for an Ironman. This was my week of interning:
  • Monday - Hospice at Mayo Campus (charting notes for patients)
  • Tues - UNF counseling for students
  • Wednesday - Community nutrition project prep for Unison facility employees
  • Thursday - Preferred Nutrition interning (private practice specializing in eating disorders)
  • Friday - Sunday - No school/interning - just homework and studying. 

As you can imagine, this was a busy time for me in my life and every day I had lots of thoughts filling my head. As I was scrolling through a book titled "Counseling Tips for Nutrition Therapists by Molly Kellogg, RD, LCSW., I came across tip number ten titled "REFRAMING."

The chapter focused on clients who get stuck in ways of perceiving themselves and their world that won't allow for change. A reframe can help shift a client out of a stuck place. Reframing a problem involves placing it in a different context (or frame) and thereby changing its meaning. A new perspective leads either to acceptance or to creativity about what to do differently.

Consider your current struggle in your life - perhaps it's stress at work, relationship issues, feeling a plateau (or low motivation) in your fitness routine, feeling anxious or out of control or struggling with body composition. Do you ever find that your thoughts are constantly rooting back to that one struggle in your life? To step away from this rigid thinking, it's important to consider that life is not black or white. Even if you lose weight, there may still be stress at work or trouble in your relationship. Low motivation in your fitness routine is not because you are a lazy or unmotivated person. By practicing new behaviors with a creative state of mind, you can lessen anxiety and foster change without feeling defeated.

If you are trying to make a change in your life, consider reframing your thoughts to help you better approach your individual life journey. Here are some reframing examples from the book:

"For the taxes I pay, because it means that I am employed"

"For my aching muscles, because I am strong and able to work hard"

"For the alarm clock ringing much too early, because it tells me I am alive for another day"

"For the gutters that need fixing and the windows that need cleaning, because I have a home"

I'd like to leave you with a wonderful quote from the book:

"It takes courage to demand time for yourself. At first glance, it may seem to be the ultimate in selfishness, a real slap in the face to those who love and depend on you. It's not. It means you care enough to want to see the best in yourself and give only the best to others."