The ‘antibacterial hand cleaner’ of your mental health first aid kit bag is a way to ‘clean’ out unhelpful thought patterns. This ‘cleaner’ helps you to reframe problems so that, rather than being stuck, you can have a better sense of the specific issue and can more readily focus on what action you will take to address it.
Our behaviours and beliefs form originally with a positive intention. As time moves on, sometimes the context for our behaviour still fits that intention. However, sometimes, our behaviour either doesn’t help the situation or doesn’t help us get what we want. It’s good to ‘clean out’ what is unhelpful to us and replace some of this old thinking with new positive intentions.
Exercise: Reframe the problem
- Take an issue and reflect on the two sets of questions below. The left hand one looks at the current pattern of behaviour whilst the right column looks at building the positive future intention. Make some notes.
- What is happening currently?
- What specifically is my problem?
- What is happening as a result of this problem?
- What have I done about it so far?
- How long have I had the problem?
- Where does the fault lie or what is the source of the problem?
- What is my worst experience with this problem?
- Why haven’t I solved it yet?
- What will this look like in future?
- What do I really want to happen in future?
- How will I know when I get it?
- What else will improve when I get it?
- What resources do I have that can help me achieve this outcome?
- What is similar that I have succeeded in doing in the past?
- What is the next step?
- To make the change in thought processes, focus on the positive intentions on the right. What can you do to work towards these intentions and how can you use your resources (your inner mental resources as well as external ones)? Notice how your thinking has changed with this reframing.