Thursday, August 14, 2008

Reframing the way we think

In cognitive behavioral therapy we often suggest
that clients "reframe" the way they think about
something.  Basically all that means is to look at
it in a different way, to use different self talk about
a stressor, problem, or thought. Seems we, as a society,
need to do a bit of reframing.

Yesterday I was taken by 2 items that came to me
via email.  The first was an email about the "Save Trestles"
campaign being waged in Southern California.  For anyone
not familiar with the issue let me try to simplify it; the
TCA wants to build a toll road through the last remaining
undeveloped coastal land between San Diego and Los Angeles.
When you think SoCal do you think of undeveloped land and
virgin beaches?  Why, you might ask, would anyone even consider
such an idea?  SoCal already is synonymous with the word freeway.
The roads supporters suggest that building the road will help reduce the
already burdensome traffic in the area.  Critics suggest that more roads
stimulate more development and we need to be less dependent upon
cars, oil, and roads. We need to protect undeveloped land and precious
coastal resources.  We need to reframe how we think about the problem.

The second email alerted me to a Bill in Congress that would reduce insurance
for oceanfront homeowners.  In the words of my friend Rick Wilson at
Surfrider, "exactly the wrong way to go". Let's see who would suggest
that we ease the burden on homeowners who have built or purchased
homes in harms way, especially with sea level rise looming?
We need to reframe how we think.

Unless we change the way we look at things we run the risk of making
matters worse.  Sometimes the easiest way or the most habitual way of
thinking needs to be changed, a paradigm shift, as it were.  Whether related
to your own life, your problems, or larger issues like our addiction to oil or
our desire to live right on the ocean, sometimes we really must resist the
easy way out.  Reframing can make all the difference.  What might you need
to reframe? What causes you stress?

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