The Zone, Vol 34: Cognitive Reframing

by The ParaDocs

November 19, 2020

The Zone Weekly with paraDocs

Overwhelmed by the news of lockdowns as we approach the holidays? Learn to cope with the power of Cognitive Reframing.

In Volume 34 of this guest series, psychotherapist, Dr. Francis L. Battisti, and nutritionist, Dr. Helen Battisti, encourage us to improve our realities with the power of thought. 

For over 10 years, they have worked closely with us on aging concerns and have presented many webinars and in-person workshops. Their newsletter, The Zone, is a weekly mental health and nutrition tip sheet during times of change.

As we learn more about the lockdowns re-occurring around the world and our country, we may feel tired and not certain that we can push through, again.  Can this news be the proverbial straw that overwhelmed the camel?  If this is how you are beginning to feel and you desire to change this outlook, the good news is that each of us possesses the capacity to think differently and create a quite different personal outlook.

An effective process to create this change is called Cognitive Reframing/Restructuring.  This is a process that involves identifying, understanding, and changing personal inaccurate negative thoughts.  Cognition is the mental process of acquiring knowledge through thoughts, experiences, and our senses.  Following is an example of how this process works in creating our experience of everyday events. 

You are in your home enjoying a beautiful dinner, feeling comfortable and relaxed.  Suddenly, you look out your window and see an ambulance passing by and stopping at your neighbor’s home.  Your immediate thought and reaction would probably be alarm and asking what has happened at my neighbor’s home.  With racing heart and a flood of negative scenarios, we might run to the ambulance to see what has happened.  When we arrive at the ambulance, we see the driver and he tells us that his GPS is malfunctioning and that he and his crew are actually lost.  Our immediate reaction would probably be a sense of relief and we would give him directions to reach his destination.  Our immediate reaction to the ambulance situation was not caused by the ambulance, but rather our over-generalization and magnification of the situation.  Our thoughts were maladaptive and took a great deal of energy to experience and express.

Learning to restructure our thinking to be adaptive will save much needed energy that will be needed to continue to push forward.  In next week’s, The ZONE, we will explore and outline how you can use Cognitive Reframing/Restructuring to preserve our energy.
Key Takeaways
  • This journey is not over.
  • Our personal energy is precious and limited.
  • Our thinking creates our reality.
Best Practices
  • Reflect on how your thinking creates your reality.
  • Make time for reflection and general downtime.
  • Eat protein at each meal to help keep your thinking clear.
Things to Limit
  • Worry.  Worry is like a rocking chair.  It gives you something to do but it does not get you anywhere.
  • “Catastrophic thinking” media sources.
  • All or nothing thinking.

In summary, our thinking creates the blueprint of our life.  To be diligent about our reactions to life’s obstacles, we need to inventory how we initially think about a situation.  Clearer thinking can help maintain a healthier personal energy to handle life’s stressors.

Quote of the Week

“Our fatigue is often caused not by work, but by worry, frustration, and resentment.”
Dale Carnegie

About the author 

The ParaDocs

The paraDocs are Dr. Francis L. Battisti, PhD, Psychotherapist, Distinguished Psychology Professor and former Executive V.P. and Chief Academic Officer and, Dr. Helen E. Battisti, PhD, Registered Dietitian and Nutritionist. The purpose of The Zone is to provide a weekly mental-health and nutrition tip-sheet during times of change.

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