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Positive Reframing

Positive Reframing is a Centering Skill. “Change the view for a new you.”


How can I see the current situation from a different perspective?

Since our words shape our reality, Positive Reframing means looking at our inner narrative. We create the stories we tell ourselves about the world, ourselves, and others  What story will be the most empowering for us?


Why Positive Reframing — The Science

  • Positive emotions may fuel individual differences in resilience. People who experienced more positive emotions became more resilient to adversity over time.,
  • Using reframing techniques can actually change our physical responses to stress because our body’s stress response is triggered by perceived stress more often than actual events.
  • The goal for cognitive reframing is to change behavior and/or to improve well-being. Cognitive Reframing involves:
    • Sense of personal control
    • Altering perceptions of negative, distorted, or self-defeating beliefs 
    • Converting a negative, self-destructive idea into a positive, supportive idea
  • One specific type of positive reframing is self-compassion. “Self-compassion involves treating yourself with the same kindness, concern and support you would show to a good friend. When faced with difficult life struggles, or confronting personal mistakes, failures, and inadequacies, self-compassion responds with kindness rather than harsh self-judgment, recognizing that imperfection is part of the shared human experience.” 


  1. Fredrickson, B. L. “The broaden–and–build theory of positive emotions.” Philosophical Transactions of the Royal Society of London. Series B: Biological Sciences 359.1449 (2004): 1367-1377..
  2. Fredrickson, Barbara L. “What good are positive emotions?.” Review of general psychology 2.3 (1998): 300-319.
  3. Robbins, Megan L., et al. “Interpersonal positive reframing in the daily lives of couples coping with breast cancer.” Journal of psychosocial oncology 37.2 (2019): 160-177.
  4. Robson Jr, James P., and Meredith Troutman-Jordan. “A Concept Analysis of Cognitive Reframing.” Journal of Theory Construction & Testing 18.2 (2014).
  5.  Neff, Kristin D., and Katie A. Dahm. “Self-compassion: What it is, what it does, and how it relates to mindfulness.” Handbook of mindfulness and self-regulation. Springer, New York, NY, 2015. 121-137.

How to Practice-Model-Coach
Positive Reframing


Reflect on your own on a time things did not go the way they would have wanted. Now that time has passed can you see the situation from a different perspective?  A positive perspective?

Positive Reframing includes:

  • Recognizing one’s agency (The story I tell myself matters)
  • Recognizing the negative story I am telling myself (This is a negative story that is limiting me) 
  • Changing negative beliefs to positive ones (There is another, more empowering story that fits the same facts) 
  • Recognizing the more positive viewpoint will often help me become who I want/achieve want I want (I can overcome obstacles and meet challenges)
  • Reframing mistakes. When you make a mistake, recognize that you have been given an opportunity to learn.
  • Reframing obstacles. Practice changing the way you see obstacles, so that instead they become opportunities for growth, to do something you had not thought of before. 
  • Reframing negativity.  When people present to you with negativity, try viewing their energy as their issue, that you don’t have to absorb. 
  • Rewind to reframe. As soon as you notice you are getting off center, ‘rewind’ to the moment it happened and reframe with a new perspective as soon as you can.  Catch it before it grows into something larger. 


  • When things do not go the way things are planned, verbalize to others a different perspective. What is your “plan b”? Plan c? Plan k? Can you learn and grow from this somehow? If so how?


  • Reflect with others about a time things did not go the way they would have wanted. Now that time has passed can they see the situation from a different perspective?  A positive perspective?  

Resources for Finding Gratitude