Reframing the flu

No one wants the flu. That would just be crazy. I got it (again) this year and it knocked me out of work for a week! I had all the classic symptoms and it took my fever 5 days to break even with early treatment. So why on earth would I tell you that it has actually been a bit of a blessing??!


A mental technique that you may have heard of in the psychological world but can also be found in the world of yoga philosophy is reframing. Often times, when something "bad" is happening to us it looks like the world is going to end! It's awful! We don't want it! 

But how many times in your life has something that you labeled "bad" happened and when you've looked back on it down the road, you find that it really was the best possible thing for you? The longer you've lived the longer the list is likely to be.

There's a reason why there's that old saying, "Hindsight is 20/20".

So when I look back at the flu that hit me in March with these new eyes I can see the blessings it gave me:

  • Time to rest (even if it was forced).

  • Time to acknowledge my limits. Something I have difficulty with on a regular basis.

  • Time to learn about something new. I've got some dreams of doing some hiking on the Appalachian Trail this year and by watching endless Youtube videos I've really learned a lot that will help me when I'm out on the trail.

  • A greater appreciation for my lungs! As I've started to go out hiking with the warmer weather I've noticed I'm still experiencing some residual effects of my illness. But how lucky to know it's temporary! And what a good job those lungs do when I'm not even paying attention.

This may all seem pretty minor, but here's the best part of this idea of reframing - I've been practicing long enough that it made my diagnosis and recovery time much less disturbing to me overall.

Was I hoping it wasn't the flu when I went to the doctor? YES! Was I upset (ok pissed is a better word) when I found out it was? YES! Was I worried about getting my classes covered and how far behind on work this would make me? YES! But not for long.

The classes got covered, the work was still there when I was feeling better and I really noticed how little time I spent being angry or disappointed that this was happening to me. Was it annoying and do I wish it hadn't happened? Sure. But it did. And with a mindset of reframing I was able to accept it, move on and save that energy for getting better much more quickly than I might have otherwise.

What's happening in your life right now that you might be able to reframe in your mind? What might you learn from your current situation in the future? Think about it. Start practicing now. It might change your whole view of the present moment.