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Wednesday, 25 February 2009

Reframing Your Thoughts

I have been reading about re-framing which is basically changing your perceptions about the way you feel and the situations you find yourself in.

A classic example was last night on BL when the teams that had to eat takeaway saw it as an opportunity to practice life skills, to have some variety and to use the time they saved cooking and washing up doing additional exercise rather than feeling overwhelmed by having to eat their idea of ‘junk’ food.

I come a bit unstuck though because sometimes the concept of re-framing to me seems like telling myself lies. If there is a hungry lion at the door roaring, then thinking that I need not be frightened because he is a merely saying ‘hello’ when he is actually going to devour me any second does not really improve the situation.

It is difficult to re-frame your feelings when they are instinctive, or caused by a biological occurrence. Every time I feel hungry, there is no way that I can convince myself that it feels pleasant or positive without actually lying.

I have discovered that the secret to transforming my thoughts into ones that serve me best is to look at how I feel about how I am feeling (hang on with me here).

*I am physically hungry
*It makes me feel anxious
*Feeling anxious is not pleasant and I need to improve this negative emotional state by having something to eat

This thought pattern does not help me succeed in losing fat.
So let’s try that again

*I am physically hungry
*It makes me feel anxious
*Although feeling anxious is unpleasant, it is merely an instinctive response to hunger
*I can choose to feel calm and accepting about feeling anxious because my experience has taught me
~anxiety won’t kill me
~anxiety normally goes away when I am absorbed in other things (it rarely escalates)
~this too shall pass - there is only a limited amount of time I have to feel this way because another meal is only x hours away


*My period is due
*Being premenstrual makes me feel angry and impatient
*Although feeling angry and impatient is unpleasant, it is merely a biological response to fluctuating hormone levels
*I can choose to feel calm and accepting about feeling angry and impatient because experience has taught me
~anger and impatience won’t kill me
~I can be aware of these feelings and not take them out on other people (even if I have to avoid some situations at this time)
~this too shall pass - there is only a limited amount of time I have to feel this way because these feelings will be gone as soon as my hormones change again

This is how to re-frame your thoughts and experience – this is where we can make the changes. You can’t actually CHOOSE to go from being sad to happy by just trying really hard. But you can choose to accept your sadness, respect your sadness or even treasure it.

How are you feeling … about your feelings?

PS: I am wearing pants today that didn't fit around my thighs last week. I am feeling pretty good about THAT feeling!!

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