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Positive Re-Framing

I think this often can come after life starts getting a bit better.  It’s difficult to re-frame things positively when your depressed, but I think it is necessary at some point in the process of recovery.  I’ll give a simple personal example of this.

I love teaching music and it’s very rewarding for me.  However some days when I teach music I walk into the lesson and think to myself ‘I’m not looking forward to this.  I have to do this for an hour and its going to be hard work.’  At this point, I have a choice.  I can then teach for the hour and be in a bad mood about it.  But sometimes I ‘reframe’ the situation mentally.  I say to myself, ‘hang on a minute, lets brake this down.

a) I am sitting in a comfortable seat for the whole hour, I hardly have to move, there’s nothing to complain about in terms of physical comfort level.
b) I know exactly what I am teaching – I have been doing this exact same lesson for 9 years.  There’s no need to feel like this is going to be taxing – the pupil is doing the playing – I just need to follow the lesson plan!  Its actually really easy when I think about it like that.
c) This kid is a really nice kid – if I make the effort I can have some really fun banter with him – this could actually really be a fun lesson if I make the effort to make it fun
d) I am listening to fun pop music and teaching music that I really love!  What have I actually got to complain about?

Of course if I am really in a bad mood due to outside circumstances, this kind of ‘reframing’ can be very difficult.  But my point is this: the lesson has not changed, only my perception and attitude towards the lesson.  I have had days where I have gone in with a negative attitude and really not enjoyed the lesson.  I have had other days where I have ‘reframed’ my outlook on the lesson and consequently begun to really enjoy the lesson.  It’s not the situation that’s changed, just my attitude towards it. 

As always, for the depressed individual, a vicious circle is created.  The ‘condition’ becomes so debilitating that it becomes difficult to see any situation positively.  A situation that on a good day may have been an enjoyable situation, on a ‘depressed’ day can become hell.  It’s not easy for the depressed individual to begin to start thinking more positively about his or her situation, and this is why I suggest that it usually comes after some progress has begun to be made.  After some progress occurs, the depressed individual may find it a little easier to begin to reflect more positively, perhaps thinking, ‘actually yesterday was quite a good day, perhaps today if I do X, Y, and Z the day could be ok.’  It’s not easy, but I suggest that for recovery to occur, this kind of re-framing has to begin at some point in the process.