By any definition COVID-19 and the global pandemic has been a universally negative experience. The sheer volume of lives lost has been staggering. The morbidity of patients who now require life long supplemental oxygen is astounding. The financial impacts to households world wide is astonishing, in January of 2021, The Economist estimated that the impact to global GDP is more than 10 trillion dollars!!!
With all of this negativity, how are we to be positive? How do we overcome the never ending flood of bad news that the media put out? I was listening to an investment podcast the other day and the host of the show commented on how the media that covers Wall Street focuses on the short term aspects of the market, and thereby drives the purchase or sale of securities through fear and manipulation.
The Social Dilemma is a phenomenal documentary that highlights the power of social media that can control us, polarize us, monetize and manipulate us. Social media accomplishes this in a number of ways by feeding on many of our psychological hard wirings. This can lead us into an emotional state of despair and fear and negativity. We become close minded and manipulated without ever being aware.
We can combat this barrage of negativity, fear, and psychological manipulation by Reframing the situation in 3 simple steps.
Recognizing our emotional state
Recognizing things we can control and those we can not
Finding the positive
Reframing is one of the most powerful tools we have at our disposal. I did a video Quick tip with Terre Short, of the Short Group, which can be found here. In this video session Terre shows us the power of reframing. When we find ourselves in a situation where our emotional state is overwhelmingly negative, we need to step back and reframe the situation.
Before we can start the reframing process we must first be aware that we are in an emotional state. It is surprising to find that many people are not well versed in understanding their current emotional state. By working on Self Awareness we will be more open to understanding our emotional states and we will be ready to have tools to help change those emotional states when they are negative.
Once we are self aware enough to have identified that we are in a negative emotional state, we need to then subdivide that negative state into what is the root cause for our emotions. What control do we have over the situation. Can we control the issues. If we can not control the primary issue, how can we effect change on our end? If we focus on what we can control and accept what we can not then we are more likely to be successful in Reframing our negative emotional state.
The last step in the reframing paradigm is to find the positive. Arguably this might be the most challenging aspect, but if we can mind something positive, whether it is an outcome that was unexpected, or simply being able to modulate your mood, then we will be on the road to a true reframing solution.
I recently employed this reframing solution with my Daughter. We were driving to the Orthodontist. She was in a foul humor. She was short tempered, and generally irritable. Being that she is only 13 years old, I assisted her in recognizing that she was in a negative emotional state. I asked her why she was in a poor mood and she stated that she didn’t want to go to the orthodontist. She was now more self aware of her emotions and in the process of reframing. I asked her if she could change or control what was making her upset, and she said no, that she knew she needed to go to the orthodontist. I asked why she was going to the orthodontist in the first place and she said so that she could have health, straight teeth. Her negative mood was softening as we worked through this less than 5 minute exercise. As she accepted the situation, recognized that the only control she could have would be to be positive she reflected on the end outcome, which was healthy teeth. She ended up having a positive experience at the orthodontist.
Reframing is a powerful tool that I hope you will start to employ in your daily practice.