As I discussed in a previous article, I struggled with depression for a few years. One of the ways I have learned to combat depression and the negative thoughts in my life is through reframing. I first heard about reframing through the work of Dr. Ben Hardy, and it has helped me to keep negative thoughts at bay and helped me to realign the thoughts that started me in my depression spiral in the first place.
The essential idea behind reframing is that the frame through which a person views a situation determines their point of view. When that frame is shifted, the meaning changes, and thinking and behavior often change along with it. Which is a fancy way of saying if you think something was negative, then you will have negative thoughts about it, and if you think of something positively, then you will have positive thoughts about it.
This is all based on the work of Dr. Dan McAdams in his Theory of Narrative Identity. He believes we form our identity by integrating our life experiences into an internalized, evolving story of ourselves, which gives a sense of unity and purpose to our lives. Even those traumatic events in our lives can be reframed into stories that serve us instead of destroying us.
This resonates with me because I am a Christian, and the Apostle Paul tells believers in Romans 8:28 that “…we know that all things work together for good to them that love God, to them who are the called according to his purpose.” So this thought process is not something I’m unfamiliar with. I look at all areas of my life as working for my good and not simply happening to me, making me the victim. I will admit that those things that have happened to me are not the worst things in the grand scale of things but they are the worst things to ever happen to me.
Reframing these events has helped me to look at them in a less traumatic light, it has helped me to relieve stress, and assuage guilt I felt from those events. It has helped me to have a more positive outlook on life as a whole as I am moving more and more toward an internal locus of control.