Can reframing your experiences take your recovery to the next level?

Words are more powerful than you imagine.

For example, positive self-talk before exercise can lead to a 22% improvement in their pain experience after exercising. That’s a lot of upside for very little effort!

In the same study, those who read a negative-worded script saw a -4% change in their pain experience. To put in simpler terms, they feel worse.

As a chiropractor who focuses a lot on exercise, this is important to me. By changing how my clients approach their exercises, I can change how much pain they feel!

What is cognitive reframing?

As a pain sufferer, you would know that sometimes your pain just hurts. There are times where there is nothing you can do to alleviate your symptoms.

You get frustrated. Perhaps angry. Your emotional response reduced your work productivity. You end up having a bad day.

Does that sound familiar?

Well, cognitive reframing can help.

Cognitive reframing is about changing your mindset so you can see things from a slightly different perspective. When you find yourself deep in a negative thought pattern, this technique can help you change how you think of your situation. In altering your thoughts, your behaviour can also change.

What are some questions you can ask to facilitate reframing?

The most difficult part to practising reframing is awareness. Most of the time, we experience our negative thought pattern emotionally. In that sense, we do feel angry and frustrated. However, we may not be able to recognise the negative thought patterns.

To help yourself with this, it will be a good idea to reflect on a few questions:

  • What are my thoughts on my current situation?
  • Are my thoughts on the current situation accurate?
  • What are the evidence available that can support my view?
  • Is there a different way of interpreting the situation that is more helpful or more accurate?
  • What action can I take to help myself?

Checking in with yourself through the day with these questions will help with increasing self-awareness and promote cognitive reframing.

Reframing can promote wellbeing and reduce helplessness.

Everyone knows that exercise is good for them yet being able to do them consistently is challenging.

Last month, a client shared that she didn’t finish all of her exercises. She skipped a day of the prescribed exercises and she was feeling fairly negative about her own progress.

We know that feeling discouraged makes it harder for us to take action. We tend to dislike doing what we are not good at. Sometimes, we avoid doing things that we are likely to fail.

Instead of thinking that you skipped a day of exercise, you could reframe that thought into a win. What if you were to focus on that you successfully did your exercises for six days this week?

By changing how you think, you can improve how you feel about yourself. At the end of the day, what is done cannot be undone with our thoughts.

Skipping a day of exercise over a week and doing six days of exercise over a week is the exact same thing! The reframing can help you by reducing discouragement and prompting a sense of control.

Consider adopting a growth mindset.

Recovery is hard enough as it is. The least we can do is to be kind to ourselves so as to maximise our chances of success.

Sure, it may seem contrived at the start. Positive self-talk and self-compassion is not intuitive for most of us. However, with practise, it can improve.


Frustrated by the lack of results-driven and ethical chiropractic clinics in Singapore, Chiropractor Jesse Cai found Square One Active Recovery to deliver meaningful and sustainable pain solutions.

Our goal? To make our own services redundant to you.

*We do not offer temporary pain relief such as chiropractic adjustments, dry needling, or any form of soft tissue therapy.