In reframing, the facts of an event do not change, but the way people understand the event changes. As in framing pictures and photos, some frames enhance the art object and other frames lessen the appeal. We may also think about window frames as affording different perspectives on the world.
Our life experiences and the traditions within our culture guide us in interpreting life events. Sometimes our perspectives do not make sense or they leave us feeling anxious or depressed. Reframing events can sometimes offer a better way to cope with difficult situations. Reframing can promote optimism or pessimism. Thus we can speak of positive frames and negative frames.
Reframing may be illustrated by the common question, "Is the glass half empty or half full?"
In psychotherapy, psychologists sometimes help patients think of other ways that they can reframe distressing life events as an aide in alleviating anxiety or depression.
Examples of reframing
A problem becomes a challenge.
A struggle becomes an opportunity for personal growth.
A mistake becomes a learning experience.
A fall becomes an opportunity to get up and try again.
A rejected manuscript becomes an opportunity to revise and submit somewhere else.