Tag Archives: reframing

Creating Productive Thought Patterns through “Thought Self-Leadership”

Albert Ellis

Albert Ellis

Many leaders’ actions and decisions are influenced by internal commentaries and related judgments.
Often, these thoughts are self-critical, provoking apprehension and anxiety.

Aaron Beck

Aaron Beck

Cognitive Behavior Therapy, developed by University of Pennsylvania’s Aaron Beck, provides a systematic way to restructure sometimes irrational “self-talk“,  as do Albert Ellis‘s Rational-Emotive Behavior Therapy, and Stanford University’s David Burns‘ synthesis of these approaches.

David Burns

David Burns

Arizona State University’s Charles Manz and Chris Neck  translated these self-management concepts to managerial development.
They outlined a Thought Self-Leadership Procedure as a five-step feedback loop:

Charles Manz

Charles Manz

1. Observe and record thoughts,
2. Analyze thoughts,
3. Develop new thoughts,
4. Substitute new thoughts,
5. Monitor and Maintain new, productive thoughts.

-*What practices do you use to develop and apply productive thought patterns under pressure?

Chris Neck

Chris Neck

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Lonely People Increase Social Skills, Reduce “Choking” by Reframing Anxiety

Julianne Holt-Lundstad

Julianne Holt-Lundstad

Loneliness increases mortality risk by 26 percent, comparable to health risks posed by obesity, cigarette smoking, and excessive alcohol use among both young people and the elderly, according to Brigham Young University’s Julianne Holt-Lunstad, Timothy B. Smith, Mark Baker, Tyler Harris, and David Stephenson. Besides the emotional discomfort of loneliness, it’s harms people’s health.

Timothy Smith

Timothy Smith

Loneliness and social isolation differ, with some people feeling lonely in the presence of others, and some loners not reporting loneliness.
However, both loneliness and social isolation increased risk for mortality in a meta-analysis of more than 3 million participants from studies including measures of loneliness, social isolation, and living alone.

Megan Knowles

Megan Knowles

Many people assume that individuals are lonely because they are socially isolated and have poor social skills.
However, lonely individuals may not need to acquire social skills to escape loneliness.
They seem to benefit more from learning to cope with social performance anxiety, found Franklin & Marshall College’s Megan L. Knowles, Gale M. Lucas of University of Southern CaliforniaFlorida State University’s Roy Baumeister, Wendi L. Gardner of Northwestern.

Gale M. Lucas

Gale M. Lucas

More than 85 volunteers completed a loneliness self-report, then identified emotions on computer-presented faces.
Lonely people out-performed non-lonely people when social sensitivity tasks were described as measures of academic aptitude.
However, lonely participants performed worse when tasks were presented as tests of social aptitude, and these volunteers also reported difficulty forming and maintaining friendships.

Roy Baumeister

Roy Baumeister

These findings suggest that social anxiety leads to “choking” in social “performance ” situations and perpetuating loneliness.

Wendi Gardner

Wendi Gardner

However, lonelier people are better than non-lonely at remembering social information — a key component of social competence.
Northwestern’s Wendi L. Gardner, Cynthia L. Pickett of University of California – Davis, and Ohio State University’s Marilynn B. Brewer found this non-intuitive trend when they presented volunteers with a simulated computer chat task that provided brief acceptance or rejection experiences, then a diary containing both social and individual events.

Cynthia L. Pickett

Cynthia L. Pickett

Knowles’ team found that volunteers who excessively focused on social interactions performed less well, but increased performance when they reattributed feelings to an external cause.

They tested this hypothesis by giving volunteers a non-caffeinated energy-drink-like beverage, and advising that any jitters they might experience resulted from the caffeine they’d just consumed.
This explanation provided a plausible but false rationale for anxious feelings.

Alison Wood Brooks

Alison Wood Brooks

previous blog post outlined a similar finding by Harvard’s Alison Wood Brooks when people who reframed nervousness as “excitement” performed better on stressful tasks like singing in public.

An additional coping approach for lonely people is modifying personal mindsets following social loss cues.

Carol Dweck

Carol Dweck

Fixed mindset, suggested Stanford’s Carol Dweck, is a belief that personal capabilities are given, fixed, an limited to present capacities, and it’s similar to security-oriented, prevention-focused behaviors of lonely people in research by University of Southern California’s Lucas with Knowles, Gardner, Daniel C. Molden and Valerie E. Jefferis of Northwestern.
This  mindset can lead to fear, anxiety, protectiveness and guardedness.

Daniel Molden

Daniel Molden

In contrast, growth mindset is similar to promotion-focused responses like attempts at social engagement.
This developmental mindset believes that personal capabilities can expand based on commitment, effort, practice, instruction, confronting and correcting mistakes.
This mindset enables teamwork, collaboration, and social interaction.

Marilynn Brewer

Marilynn Brewer

Participants received either subtle acceptance cues or rejection cues, which were associated with adopting either a fixed mindset or a growth mindset.
Those who received positive primes were more able to develop a promotion-focused growth mindset, leading to more effective social thoughts, intentions, and behaviors.

People who experience social anxiety and loneliness can reduce self-protective social avoidance by reframing discomfort as “excitement” and by redirecting mindset to embrace learning and new experience.

-*How do you manage loneliness?

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Coping or Complacency? Rationalization Instead of Behavior Change Is Learned Early

Gil Diesendruck

Gil Diesendruck

People learn as early as ages four to six to reframe disappointing circumstances by rationalizing, found Bar-Ilan University’s Avi Benozio and Gil Diesendruck.
They suggested that people learn this emotional self-management strategy to reduce uncomfortable cognitive dissonance, described by New School’s Leon Festinger.

Leon Festinger

Leon Festinger

Rationalizing was described by Freud biographer and psychoanalyst Ernest Jones as an unconscious maneuver to provide plausible explanation that manage unacceptable behavior, motives, or feelings.

Sigmund Freud, Ernest Jones

Sigmund Freud, Ernest Jones

In Benozio’s and Diesendruck’s experiments, children ages three, four, five and six years old completed assignments in exchange for stickers that varied in attractiveness and appeal to each age group.

The young participants could invest considerable effort or minimal work in tasks ranging in challenge from reporting current age to closing eyes and counting as far as possible – then counting five more.
The children were permitted to keep these prizes or give them to an unidentified person.

Aesop

Aesop

When six year olds invested substantial effort to obtain attractive rewards, they were less likely to relinquish these valued stickers to others.
However, four year olds did not demonstrate this discerning difference in awarding their winnings to others. 

However, when six year olds applied significant effort to obtaining less desirable rewards, they also distributed fewer to others, but their reasoning differed.
They adjusted their appraisal of the less attractive stickers, indicating that these prizes were more appealing.
Younger children, however, reduced the dissonance using a different strategy: Four year olds discarded stickers rather than more favorably assessing their value.

Elliot Aronson

Elliot Aronson

These behavioral differences suggest that these children learned to rationalize by age six and this strategy persists among adults, found Stanford’s Elliot Aronson and the U.S. Army’s Judson Mills.
These controlled studies validate Aesop‘s observation of “sweet lemons” and “sour grapes” in the well-known fable The Fox and the Grapes.

M. Keith Chen

M. Keith Chen

To mitigate potential errors in Inferring preference and rationalization from this type of study, UCLA’s Johanna M. Jarcho and Matthew D. Lieberman with Elliot T. Berkman of University of Oregon conducted fMRIs while participants completed decisions to test attitude change linked to cognitive dissonance.

Joanna Jarcho

Joanna Jarcho

Brain activity significantly increased in the right-inferior frontal gyrus, medial fronto-parietal regions and ventral striatum, yet decreased activity in anterior insula, areas that suggest rapid reappraisal-like emotional regulation.
As a result, rationalization may be seen as an automatic coping mechanism rather than as an unconscious defense mechanism.

Reinhold Niebuhr

Reinhold Niebuhr

However, Benozio and Diesendruck warned that this adaptive capacity could lead to complacent acceptance instead of working to change negative circumstances, violating the premise of the well-known Serenity Prayer attributed to Yale’s Reinhold Niebuhr:

…grant me the serenity to accept the things I cannot change,
The courage to change the things I can,
And the wisdom to know the difference.

-*To what extent is rationalization a logical error?
-*Or is rationalization an effective emotional regulation strategy?

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