02 Mar Replace the beast – step 2
Second, reframe the situation
Now that you have named the Beast and his emotions, don’t let him control you!!
In JoJo’s case, her Hungry Beast, “FrogFace,” showed up when she was called upon in class. Now, she wants to further tame the emotions – being uncomfortable and insecure – that she began to tame just by naming them, because these are emotions that FrogFace has in that situation, not her. JoJo knows that the best way to do this is to not listen to FrogFace and find a different way of looking at the situation. So, she reframes the situation. That means, instead of believing FrogFace that the situation is horrible, JoJo tells herself something that could be true and isn’t as scary as what FrogFace is screaming inside her head.
JoJo thought, I don’t like speaking in public, but no one ever died from it. I don’t have to love it, but I can try to do it. Who cares what I look like? My best friend Sylvia likes me no matter what.
(And then she added So Piss off FrogFace! and she shoved the Beast right off her desk onto the dirty hard floor and gave the answer her best shot.)
Reframing the situation can be very hard at first. The Hungry Beast can be very noisy and demanding. Plus, you are used to listening to it. To help you practice slaying the Beast, below are a few examples of reframing:
Situation: The guy you have a massive crush on (but are too afraid to speak to) just sat down across from you at lunch.
#1 – name it to tame it (in your head, not out loud!):
Wow, I’m freaking out, I think I might barf and I have a pit in my stomach. Oh wait, that’s my anxiety throwing a temper tantrum again. I’m feeling scared and confused right now because of my Angry Beast…
#2 – reframe it: I can do this. I can sit here and look normal and be myself. It will be fine. I will not barf. I never barf. What a silly thought. I may be uncomfortable, but lots of people get scared talking to their crush. That’s normal.
Situation: You have to speak at the school assembly in five minutes and are so scared you are shaking, sweating and your heart is racing.
#1 – name it to tame it (in your head, not out loud!): I am nervous. I’m afraid I’ll forget everything and pee in my pants.
#2 – reframe it: My teacher speaks in front of the class everyday and doesn’t die or pee in her pants (at least as far as I can tell!). People don’t die of public speaking. Lots of people get nervous and that’s what makes your heart race and that’s why I am sweating so much. I’ll be fine. I wore a sleeveless shirt.
People who suffer from anxiety worry that they won’t be able to manage a situation, so they avoid it. But avoiding a situation that causes anxiety is not the answer – it will only feed the Hungry Beast. And you can’t avoid school, and you can’t avoid a teacher calling on you. Yes, you may feel uncomfortable, but being uncomfortable at times is a part of life. In fact, you may wish to reframe feeling uncomfortable! Hey I feel uncomfortable (you named it!). That means this is a good opportunity for me to practice what I need to do. I can get through feeling uncomfortable!
Reframe this statement “Oh no!! I am going to fail my math test!! This is awful!!! I am going to pee in my pants!”