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Reframing Techniques - Attaining a Positive Attitude During a Financial Crisis

How Reframing Can Help You Feel Less Stressed In A Crisis

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Updated June 19, 2014

While we can’t always control what happens to us, much of how we respond to life’s events depends on how we see what’s happening to us; how we make sense of it all. If we see a life event as a threat, for example, we may react more negatively and helplessly than if we see it as a "challenge." If we blame ourselves and imagine that things will never change, a stressful situation feel more overwhelming than if we remember that we can always find a silver lining with the dark clouds, and that this, too, shall pass. (For more on the most effective forms of reframing, see this article on traits of optimists and pessimists, and this one on cognitive restructuring.)

Here are some specific types of reframing that can be very useful in getting through a financial crisis:

  • If you’re feeling that your financial crisis is a form of personal failure, remind yourself that many, many people are in this situation as well. The situation itself is not a failure on your part, and working through it only demonstrates your strength.

  • If you’re concerned about the impact on your family, remind yourself that families can grow stronger and closer when they weather challenges together, and that this experience (although you may not have willingly chosen it) can make your family stronger, too.

  • If you’re stressed about the uncertainty of the future, remind yourself that these changes also bring opportunity; down the road, you may find yourself in an even better place. Even if you don’t have more money, you may have more happiness.

Get the idea? By acknowledging the feelings and thoughts you have, and gently redirecting your attention to the positive, you can lessen the stress you are experiencing. When you’re not feeling crushed under extreme levels of stress, you may even make choices that better maximize the opportunities that you still face.

Another way to reframe a situation is to take a break from it, and return later with a more relaxed attitude and a fresh perspective. Many people don't know how to 'take a break' from stressful thoughts, especially when stressing about finances. They tend to ruminate and remain stressed. Spending more time doing fun activities with family and friends, enjoying hobbies, or even simply watching comedies on t.v. can get you into a better frame of mind. These activity-oriented reframing techniques, as well as the mental reframing techniques mentioned, could lead to less stress and an "upward spiral," rather than a downward one.

Find more techniques for dealing with a financial crisis on page 3.

Feature Navigation
Page 1: Remaining Calm
Page 2: Changing Your Perspective
Page 3: Planning For The Future
Page 4: Getting Help

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