There are a few cognitive reframes that I’ve come across that have helped me transition to a more grounded way of living.
I want to share a few of those with you over the next few weeks. First off, for clarification, a cognitive reframe is a shift in the mindset so you can approach situations from a new perspective. The ones that I will share with you are small shifts you can make in common approaches we have to things that will hopefully have beneficial impacts for you.
This one deals with to-do lists and comes from Kelly LaPorta, who you can follow on Instagram for parenting guidance. I find immense joy in completing my to-do lists. In fact, I have a really hard time relaxing or playing until my to-do list is complete. And there is a unique joy that comes from crossing things off of to-do lists that I find rather addictive.
And this way of living worked out quite alright, until now. Because I have a toddler who has no awareness of my to-lists and much awareness over the 1,001 places he would like to run to and explore. This means crossing things off of my to-do lists rarely happens. And, much to my past self’s horror, many things on my to-do list only get partway done.
Fortunately, I came across this cognitive reframe at the right time and it has been refreshing to incorporate into my outlook.
Instead of asking myself what needs to get done, I ask myself what needs my presence.
Nothing drastic, nothing long to memorize. But this has had immense effects on my feelings of defeat and overwhelm at having so much to do.
Now, stuff around the house and for my business still needs to be done. So my to-do lists are still there. But, when I start to notice my anxiety is increasing and my patience is running low because I can’t get the things done on my to-do list, I turn to this reframe, take a deep breath and find much-needed grounding moving forward knowing I am choosing to move forward with what needs my presence.
Embracing cognitive reframes takes time. So give yourself grace when working to implement one. Our brain’s pathways become more fortified the more we use them.
So my “completing to-do lists is good” pathway has a lot of fortification. There are still times daily that my to-do lists run through my head and I feel pressure to complete them, but I’ve started using this reframe and am slowly starting to notice it becoming more natural and instinctual to ask myself what needs my presence.
Kylie Larson, MA, LPC