I hate being sick.
When you're feeling under the weather, the last thing you want is to be kept awake by a hacking cough or a stuffy nose.
That's when you might reach for a product called Night Nurse, otherwise known as NyQuil.
This over-the-counter medication is designed to help you get the rest you need to recover from the common cold and flu.
But the story of NyQuil is more than just a tale of a miraculous cure-all. It's a story of serendipity and creative problem-solving.
It all started in the laboratories of a pharmaceutical company, where scientists were working tirelessly to develop an effective cold and flu medicine.
They stumbled upon a formula that was highly effective against the flu, but there was one catch: it caused severe drowsiness.
Rather than scrapping the formula and starting over, a member of the marketing department had a brilliant idea.
They reframed the medication as a night-time cold and flu remedy, turning the drowsiness from a liability into a selling point.
This is just one example of how reframing can completely change our perspective and turn a negative into a positive.
There is substantial scientific evidence backing the power of reframing, or ‘cognitive reappraisal’. For example, a study of cancer patients found that those who used reframing techniques reported lower levels of distress and a better quality of life.
Stoic philosopher Epictetus emphasized the idea that our perception of events is more important than the events themselves.
He believed that we have the ability to choose how we interpret and respond to events, and that doing so can help us live a more fulfilling and meaningful life.
I’m not quite saying “turn your frown upside down”, but I’m urging you to remember you have the power to frame and reframe the situations you encounter.