How to reframe any situation

 In Brain Science, Gratitude, Happiness, Mindset, Podcast

What is reframing?

Reframing is a VERY cool little NLP technique that helps you completely change the way you think about something simply by looking at it another way and therefore changing the way you feel about it.

You can turn a negative into a positive, a problem into a lesson/opportunity, a weakness into a strength. You can even challenge your limiting beliefs and assumptions to create new beliefs that can actually help you move forwards and towards where you want to be!

Nothing about the situation changes AT ALL, but the way you see it, think about it and therefore feel about it completely shifts…so you can see how it’s a powerful little tool to have in your arsenal!

Pretty cool right?

Flipping your mindset

Reframing is a way of viewing and experiencing situations, ideas, beliefs, concepts and emotions to find a more positive alternative for you. It allows you to take a step back from your initial reaction to something and think about a situation another way.

What’s amazing is that the more you do it the easier and more natural it becomes for you. You start to re-train your brain to look for the positive over the negative. I used it myself to flip my mindset from negativity being my ‘go to’ reaction to pretty much everything to one that will always look for the potential positive first.

An example of reframing in action would be when you’re driving and somebody cuts you up. Most people’s ‘go to’ reaction would be to assume that the other driver is arrogant, irresponsible, driving recklessly on purpose with no regard for anyone else’s safety. So you feel angry, flustered, stressed and allow it to bother you for some time afterward.

But with reframing, you take a step back and think about all the other possibilities that could suggest otherwise. Could they be rushing to the hospital for a loved one who’s been hurt or having a baby, could they be upset for some reason and it’s affected their concentration, could they simply have made an honest mistake?

I’m not saying that ANY of those are necessarily a ‘good’ thing to be doing while driving (!) BUT reframing it will change your reaction to the situation, help you to not assume the worst, be calmer as you aren’t so stressed, decrease how long it bothers you for and increase your sense of empathy. In essence, it’s a much less stressful situation…and probably much safer for you! Plus, less road rage…definitely a good thing right?!

How to reframe

In it’s simplest form, reframing only involves two simple steps. Firstly, become aware you’re having a negative thought and then replace it with a positive one. I want you to think about a situation that is bothering you at the moment…got one? OK, let’s see how else we can look at it. Ask yourself the following questions to find a different way of looking at it:

  • How could I look at this differently?
  • What am I assuming?
  • What is my belief?
  • What could I learn from this?
  • What good things could come from this?
  • How could I empathise with the other people involved?

For example, let’s take a difficult boss.

Your initial thought – He’s being a royal pain in the jacksy because he’s a horrible person and got nothing better to do than to make you feel like you’re rubbish at your job and totally ruin your day.

How you could look at it differently – Maybe he’s under a huge amount of pressure from HIS boss and this is just how he’s reacted to it because he’s actually having a really hard time at the moment.

New thought/feeling – Maybe I can try deal with him differently and make sure he has everything he needs to be able to manage upwards without having to push me for it. It’s not personal. He has a really tough job and protects me from a lot of the pressure he gets from above.

Result – MUCH less stress, more empathy for your boss, a better day all round!

Simple right?

Let me know a situation that’s been bothering you in the comments and let’s see how we can reframe it.

Give it a go!

Here’s a video of me discussing the topic:


Fran Excell, Mindset & Productivity Coach – Helping Business Owners Overcome Self Sabotage & Get More Done In Less Time at


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