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Cognitive Reframing: 25 Quotes to Help You Understand It

Ms.Dora, a certified Christian counselor, explores facts, attitudes, and habits that can help us maintain our physical and mental wellbeing.

Cognitive reframing is like changing the tint on your sunglasses.

Cognitive reframing is like changing the tint on your sunglasses.

Brief Origin of Cognitive Reframing

In the 1960s, psychiatrist Aaron Tempkin Beck (1921-2021) was working with patients diagnosed with depression. He found that by helping them change their negative thoughts to a positive mindset, their depression lessened or was even cured. His process was called cognitive restructuring (rethinking negative thoughts and turning them into positive thoughts) and was used as a therapeutic tool. Other researchers following his lead, developed the term cognitive reframing to describe a more general process of reframing experiences, events, ideas and emotions.

Nowadays, psychologists and others refer to the process simply as reframing. Because our thoughts are at the center of how we view ourselves and why we behave the way we do, reframing can help us improve our self-image and our approach to life. Without changing the facts in our negative situation, we can reframe our view (see the situation in a new way) and find some good where we used to see all bad. The result is a healthier mindset and healthier living.

The quotes in the first section include author information, which qualifies them to explain reframing. May all 25 quotes add to your understanding, and even increase your appetite for more information on the topic.

"Reframing" Explanations

1. "Reframing is a term from cognitive psychotherapy which simply means seeing something in a new way, in a new context, with a new frame around it." ―Elaine N. Aron, research psychologist

2. "Cognitive reframing is a process we go through to create a cognitive shift . . . something we do naturally and often unconsciously. Cognitive restructuring is the same process, but it's done systematically and deliberately. When a psychologist guides you through this process, it's called cognitive restructuring." ―Dylan Buckely, contributor to BetterHelp Online Counseling

3. "When we change our point of view on any given situation, the facts remain the same, but a deliberate shift is made in how we see it." ―Linda and Charlie Bloom, relationship experts

4. "A reframe is not about telling yourself that your fear is wrong. Reframes are about finding another way to look at the possibilities of your life." ―Rebecca K. Sampson, Self-Help Author

5. "Reframing entails refusing to accept the opponent’s definition of what the issue is about, and then substituting your own. You define the issue in your terms.” ―Jay Heinrichs, author (as well as persuasion and conflict consultant)

Saying "I get to" instead of "I have to" reframes labor as something  pleasant.

Saying "I get to" instead of "I have to" reframes labor as something pleasant.

"Reframing" Illustrations

6. "When you persuade yourself that you 'get to' do something rather than 'have to,' you can find a silver lining. For instance, saying 'I have to clean the house' implies cleaning is an unpleasant task. On the other hand, saying 'I get to clean the house' reframes the labor as something you look forward to, emphasizing how important it is to have a place to live." ―Josh King Madrid

7. "Instead of saying, 'I'm damaged, I'm broken, I have trust issues' say 'I'm healing, I'm rediscovering myself, I'm starting over.'" ―Horacio Jones

8. "Reframing encourages you to say, 'Let’s look at this another way.' By changing the frame around a situation, you not only change your perception of it, but its meaning for you as well." ―Susan C. Young

9. "If you hear a voice within you say 'You cannot paint,' then by all means paint and that voice will be silenced." ―Vincent Van Gogh

10. "I am not failing — I am growing! Do you have the ability to reframe failure as growth in order to achieve your goals?" —James C. Collins

11. "To create the conditions for global compassion, all we have to do is to reframe compassion as something that is fun." —Chade-Meng Tan

12. "In the same way that simply changing the tint on your sunglasses can flood you with more light, leave you in the shadows, or give everything a rosy hue, reframing works by helping you see the world in a new way." —Christine Comaford, Leadership and Culture Coach

13. "Positive reframing involves thinking about a negative or challenging situation in a more positive way . . . after a break-up you could think about the opportunities to meet new people, the things you learned from the relationship, and the gratitude you feel for the time you spent with the person." ―Harvard Edu.

Marianne Williamson is a New York Times bestseller and political activist.

Marianne Williamson is a New York Times bestseller and political activist.

"Reframing" Principles

14. "It’s only a thought and a thought can be changed." ―Louise Hay

15. "It isn’t what happens to you, but how you react that matters." ―Epictetus

16. "The essential idea behind reframing is that the frame through which a person views a situation determines their point of view. When that frame is shifted, the meaning changes, and thinking and behavior often change along with it." ―Amy Morin, psychotherapist

17. "We can reframe and recast our lives not with lies, not with deceptions, but with the truth of who we are and of who we are choosing to become.” ―Sandra Marinella

18. "Most folks are about as happy as they make up their minds to be." ―Abraham Lincoln

19. "Whatever you habitually think yourself to be, that you are." ―Wallace D.Wattles

"Reframing" Observations

20. "The greatest discovery of my generation is that a human being can alter his life by altering his attitudes of mind." ―William James

21. "Sometimes when things are falling apart, they may actually be falling into place." ―J. Lynn

22. “Was it really a bad day, or did those bad ten minutes get replayed all day (out loud or to yourself)? Reframing is powerful. So is stopping to breathe. Try them both!" ―Kelly Corbet

23. "Attitude is the ability to reframe the experience to empower you to future victories." — Orrin Woodward

24. "Our key to transforming anything lies in our ability to reframe it." —Marianne Williamson

25. "I think that writers often try too hard in the name of expression, when often it's just a matter of reframing what's around you or republishing a preexisting text into a new environment that makes for a successful work." —Kenneth Goldsmith


Psychology Wiki: Cognitive Reframing(visited on 10/07/2022)

This content is accurate and true to the best of the author’s knowledge and is not meant to substitute for formal and individualized advice from a qualified professional.

© 2022 Dora Weithers