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The Cognitive Restructuring of the Learner’s Mind

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We’re all familiar with the term, “think positive”, also known as reframing.  Cognitive restructuring is a newer term used primarily by mental health professionals, and therapists, but put simply, it means to change your experience by changing your thoughts.

Cognitive restructuring is just another more clinical term for a technique for countering negative moods and it’s basically the same as mindset, reframing and positive thinking. However, all of these are so much more than the mere words convey. 

“Positive cognitive restructuring can transform and enrich your life.”
~LeAura Alderson, writer, editor, creator ®

Cognitive restructuring of negative thoughts can turn your day around. Turning a day around becomes a life well lived, one day at a time.

Table of Contents

Audio Article – Cognitive Restructuring of the Learner’s Mind:

Change the way you feel by changing the way you think.
~Christine Pedesky, author, Mind Over Mood

Immersion in positive thinking works.  Cognitive restructuring simply means to change your experience by changing your thoughts.

I Know, But…

We’ve all grown up hearing about positive thinking at some point or another. Most of us tend to embrace the concept, until… the phrase is tossed our way over something we’re struggling with. Proffered advice, especially the unasked for kind, tends to elicit responses that sound something like this:

“Yeah, right. I know but…”

“My problem with that [solution offered], is…”

“I’ve tried everything, and nothing works.”

The Curse of Knowledge – AKA Hindsight Bias

The problem with many social memes and sayings we’ve heard all our lives is that we’ve heard them all our lives. We think we know it so well that we don’t even think of it. Hear the term, and you’re likely to say, “I know… I know.”  Because, well you do… theoretically.

The “I know” mentality, is another angle of the “curse of knowledge” concept originally coined by Colin Farrell Camerer in an article in the 1989 issue of Journal of Political Economy.[1][2][3]

We all know what “positive thinking” means in the same way we all know what regular exercise means for our bodies. As with fitness, knowing what to do and employing that knowing regularly are often two strangers that never meet in reality.

Beyond that, when we think we know, we stop inquiring, asking and discovering new and expanded aspects. Whether it’s our profession, our relationships or anything else, we are best served to maintain the fresh and open perspective of a beginner’s mind.

This is reminiscent of a quote attributed to multiple authors and variations:

“We are getting to know more and more about less and less.”|
~William Warde Fowler, English historian, ornithologist, 1847-1921

NOTE: this quote and variations are attributed to multiple authors; origin traced to William Warde Fowler.

The difference between knowing versus doing what you know to do, is the difference in the level of success you’ll achieve.
~LeAura Alderson, writer, editor, creator®

We all know what "positive thinking" means in the same way we all know what regular exercise means for our bodies. As with fitness, knowing what to do and employing that knowing regularly are often two strangers that never meet in reality. #PositiveThinking #CognitiveRestructuring #Reframing #Goals #StinkingThinking #iCreateDaily

The Failing of Familiarity

Like the road well traveled on your daily route… sometimes you don’t notice the scenery or even remember the name of the street because you know it so well. Or think you do. Subsequently, with familiarity, we can be lulled into thinking we know all about something, and in so doing, there’s much we can miss.

If you want more success in your life and business, it’s time to take another look at the restorative and transformative power of reframing.

Reframing cultivates the wonder of “The Learner’s Mind”.
~LeAura Alderson, writer, editor, creator®

If you want more success in your life and business, it's time to take another look at the restorative and transformative power of reframing.#CognitiveRestructuring #Quotes #Reframing #LearnersMind #Transmutation #Transformation #iCreateDaily

Cognitive Restructuring Refreshes and Regenerates

Whenever you’re struggling with something, how you phrase your questions and comments, and where you place the emphasis can make all the difference. If you’re perceiving as a victim of circumstance, that is a powerless position.

A student of life, is an empowered position.

Here are two sentences, that are examples of sentences that say the same thing, but depending on the emphasis can mean something entirely different. E.g.:

“How do you HANDLE this???”

“HOW do you handle this?”

Naturally, these can vary in interpretation, depending on the tonality with which these are read or thought. However, in general, based on the emphasis alone, the first question places emphasis on the issue that implies difficulty or overwhelm, I.e., “How can you even…HANDLE” kind of thing.

The second approach is more of a “how to” inquiry, summed up more as “Hmmm… HOW do you handle this” is more of an inquiry, where the emphasis is on the “how” as in a learning mode, rather than an emphasis on the word that transforms this sentence into a more victim statement.”

These are two VERY SUBTLE differences, yet they add up to perceptions that can influence our attitudes. Just as it’s the little things that make a positive difference, so too can the little things make a negative difference that’s not so little over time.

To perceive as a victim of circumstance, is a powerless position. A student of life, is an empowered position.
~LeAura Alderson, writer, editor, creator®

Naturally, these can vary in interpretation, depending on the tonality with which these are read or thought. However, in general, based on the emphasis alone, the first question places emphasis on the issue that seems difficult or even unbearable. I.e., “How can you even…HANDLE” kind of thing. #empowered #positive #quotes #journal

How to Reframe

Imagine a day where you’ve shifted all of the disempowered language to empowered language.

From the helpless, overwhelmed victim thoughts to the confident, stoic, peaceful thoughts of a learner’s mind settled into being a lifelong student of life.

And then there’s the simple method of tweaking our sentences also known as reframing.

Positive Restructuring Examples

If you’re seriously struggling, seek help. If it’s a bad day, tough times or a temporary setback, you can reframe it. The phrase, “When life hands you lemons make lemonade”, is sage advice. Same thing for “glass half full or glass half empty”.

When Your Burden Seems Unbearable, Reframe it.

“Yes I can!”

“I’ve got this!”

“I can handle this!”

I’m grateful for today.”

“I am strong and capable”

“I grow through the hard stuff.”

“An obstacle is an opportunity.”

You can find more on restructuring and reframing, in this article.

When you burden feels unbearable... when you're feeling challenged or frustrated, REFRAME IT. It works and gets easier with practice.®
Image by Simon from Pixabay

Cognitive Restructuring

The Reframe Game

Reframing—like most personal development… like the gym or weight loss—is easier said than done.

So make it a mental game… a puzzle to solve. Tune into your speech, what you say and how you say it. Then, when you catch yourself in negative words or speech, make a game out of changing it.

Here are some examples of reframing. You will be able to add your list to this. In fact, send us an email with your reframes. We’d love to see them!


Comment: It’s hot/cold today.
Reframe: So grateful for air conditioning/heating!

Comment: I didn’t sleep well last night.
Reframe: I’m grateful for the sleep I got.

Comment: I’m not satisfied with my painting.
Reframe: What can I add to this to make it better, (now or in future)?

Comment: After all my hard work, my book isn’t selling.
Reframe: How can I sell more books? Who can I talk to? What are other successful authors doing?

Comment: I was on tech support for hours.
Reframe: So grateful for the privilege of first world problems that have support systems available.

Comment: Ugh… I’ve got so much to do and laundry to fold.
Reframe: So grateful for the convenience of a washer and dryer, and for clean clothes to wear.
Reframe: So grateful for this era of abundant opportunities!

Reframing is Just a Habit… a Good One to Cultivate!

So is positivity. Positivity is just a habit but it’s a habit that makes all the difference to your life.

As you can see, cognitive reconstruction, is not a difficult concept at all and is a practice that can be applied to any area of life. You’ve heard the “glass half empty/half full”, concept. That phrase, like the term “think positive”, has been used so much, that like a longtime spouse or friend, we can tend to take it for granted.

We’ve all counseled a friend with such sayings and sage advice. Yet the moment our next obstacle, conflict or challenge occurs, most people are conditioned to slide down the slippery slope of negativity, as if this moment in time is different than all the others to which ageless wisdom applies.

Reframing is just a habit, and like any other habit, takes a little time and consistency. It begins there and picks up positive speed.

Refresh and reframe your thoughts and you will refresh and reframe your life.

Positivity compounds with interest. Invest in it.
~LeAura Alderson, writer, editor, creator®

Positivity compounds into more positivity and more success. Reframing, retraining, cognitive restructuring, your dreams, dreams, Learner's mind, growth mindset, personal development,

You Are the Average of the Five People…

Why are we covering relationships in an article on cognitive restructuring?

Because you are your associations. Environment is more powerful than will, and who and what we associate with makes a world of difference in our state of mind and being.

If your friends and relatives rail at your new positive endeavor, that’s normal. It’s typically because of how “change” in a loved one threatens their own habits and comfort zone which can cause them to face their own issues before they’re ready to. We’ve all been there.

Consider something you might be working on, such as needing to lose weight. Which, by the way, applies to about 80% of the US population today, while an average of 27%* are categorized as obese at more than 20% over their ideal weight. So it’s an easy example to use.


Temptations and Aspirations

Let’s say you’re meeting a friend for lunch at a favorite restaurant with your favorite “treat” meal or dessert, and you’re looking forward to that experience. But when you sit down and open the menu in anticipation, your friend informs you that she’s going to eat light because she’s dieting.

Ah man!! How can you now fully enjoy your treat meal under these circumstances? So you don’t. Whereas if you were enjoying a lunch with friends and associates who were overweight, and they ordered those fried potato skin appetizers and cheesecake dessert, chances are you would too.

Environment and Over Will

Now consider that same elevation versus temptation that can occur in virtually every area of life. From the thoughts we have, the fears we have to the exercise we do — or do not — engage, what we tune into and who we hang out with absolutely affects what we do and think and how we live.

“Environment is more powerful than willpower.”
~Paramahansa Yogananda, Indian yogi, teacher, founder-Self Realization Fellowship

Image by Gerd Altmann from Pixabay

‘Birds of a Feather Flock Together’ – a Truism

Most people don’t care to hang out with leaders and achievers, UNLESS, they are also that, or aspiring to be. Why? Because it’s more demanding, less comforting and comfortable. Even if such people never offer recommendations or advice, it’s just inherently uncomfortable to associate with achievers if you aren’t one.

But if you want to do better and be better at anything, you need to associate with those who are. If you don’t have any such people in your immediate vicinity, tuning into the content of those who are — through their books, articles, interviews, tutorials, etc. — will help tremendously.

The Struggle of Uneven Growth


Adolescents are known to be awkward, clumsy and volatile, not only because of hormones, but also because of uneven growth. The same thing can happen in relationships.

Many marriages struggle from this concept. One person is ready for a growth spurt, but the other isn’t, and subsequently resists, and sometimes even sabotages, the growth-ready spouse’s efforts. Same thing in friendships.


Your friends who aren’t ready to grow, may find it hard to fully and enthusiastically support you when you’re ready to, because they feel their own lack. Yet they’re typically there to commiserate and console if you falter.

It’s like the overweight friend encouraging you to enjoy that dessert as he orders his. While our friends do care, they’re also protecting themselves and their habits by encouraging us to join them.

They’re not likely consciously thinking that they don’t want whats best for you… after all, they are your friend! However, they are likely unconsciously protecting the rapport in your relationship and your ability to relate with each other. They’re also protecting their comfort in keeping their own status quo intact.

Change is uncomfortable by definition, because it moves from the security of the familiar and places us outside our comfort zone. But the comfort zone is not your zone of genius.


If your friends and family members aren’t ready to change, respect and understand that they will come to their own decisions in their own time. They may not be ready. Until then, love and understand them, but do not let them drag you down or dissuade you from your resolve to transform any stinking thinking.

Loved ones are more likely to consider taking the leap you’re taking if you continue to be positive and loving with them, without being annoying. But you’ll also need to be sure to associate with those who uplift and challenge you to raise your bar further.

Don’t let relationships get in the way of your own growth. To stop growth is to stop what you’re here to do.

Be positive without being annoying. They may not be ready to grow at your pace.
~LeAura Alderson, writer, editor, creator®

Reframing, retraining, cognitive restructuring, your dreams, dreams, Learner's mind, growth mindset, personal development,

Find Friends Who Will Help You Grow

If we are lucky, we have friends and loved ones who are eager to grow with us, as well as to celebrate our growth and wins. If you don’t yet have that mentality amongst your relations, find new friends and networks who can help you grow more fully into all that you can be.

Image by StockSnap from Pixabay

Level Up

At each spiral of life, grow into new relationships that keep challenging you to rise ever more fully into yourSELF.

We grow stronger through ascending. Take the stairs. Rise into your vision of yourself.
~LeAura Alderson, writer, editor, creator®

GROWTH THROUGH EFFORT, STRENGTHENS US: Reframing, retraining, cognitive restructuring, your dreams, dreams, Learner's mind, growth mindset, personal development,

Reframing Trains Your Mind

Reframing, is another habit that moves you closer toward personal excellence by training your mind to support your dreams. A powerful side effect of this reconstructive surgery to your mental processes is in how it increases self awareness. As you begin to tune in to your own thoughts and listen to your own words, you are also expanding your awareness.

Reframe your frustrations into learnings and your earnings will grow.”
~LeAura Alderson, writer, editor, creator®

Reframing, retraining, cognitive restructuring, your dreams, dreams, Learner's mind, growth mindset, personal development,

The Neurogenesis of Success

If you love to learn about deeper cause and effect you may enjoy this interview with Dr. Steven Gundry by Tom Bilyeu on Impact Theory. This touches on the relationship between the foods you eat, your gut biome and your health and mental wellbeing.

This clip is time-stamped to go to the place where Dr. Gundry speaks to the foods to eat to help your gut, and moves from there to how exercise, meditation, yoga… and yes… your associations, can actually change your gut microbiome, your brain and subsequently, your overall wellbeing!! We recommend the entire interview, but if you only have a few minutes, you can start near the end where this link above picks up.

Success mindset, can keep your mind agile and growing, even as you age. This process of generating new nerve tissue, neurons and brain cells is called neurogenesis.”

Keep Your Brain Young and Agile

It’s really not surprising… basically it’s common sense, but the simplest remedies are often overlooked. Diet and exercise make a tremendous difference in your mood, alleviate depression and reduce anxiety.

More than improve your mentality, movement and a healthy lifestyle actually generates new brain cells and minimizes the effects of aging. So cognitive restructuring of the learner’s mind begins with the most basic care and maintenance of the body.[5]

Neurogenesis—new brain cells—increase by:

? Learning new things
??‍♀️ Running, exercising & activity
? Eating healthy foods

~Sandrine Thuret, Ph.D Neuroscience, King’s College Head

“Reframing trains your mind to support your dreams.”
~LeAura Alderson, writer, creator®

Reframing, retraining, cognitive restructuring, your dreams, dreams, Learner's mind, growth mindset, personal development,
Image by Gerd Altmann from Pixabay

Mindset is Everything

The one person singularly responsible for proliferating the concept of “growth mindset” — which has everything to do with reframing — into our societal mass consciousness, is Carol Dweck, author of Mindset – the New Psychology of Success. If you haven’t yet read Mindset, we highly recommend it. For an introduction, you might also enjoy this article.

Sign up to be a lifelong student in the School of Life.
~LeAura Alderson, writer, creator®

Lifelong student in the School of Life. Learner's mind, growth mindset, personal development,

One Thing I Know for Sure

What you focus on in your life makes all the difference. No one who has made the effort to get healthier and fitter regrets it. Same for taking on the harder things that help us ascend more into the visions and dreams for our lives. Same for making the effort to become more positive.

As Oprah would say, “One thing I know for sure”, is that If you grow your capacity to reframe negatives into positives through cognitive restructuring, your life will improve and you will never regret it.

Put on a learner’s mind when you get dressed each day and your life will change for the better. 
~LeAura Alderson, writer, editor, creator®

Learner's mind, growth mindset, personal development,

The Transformative Power of Emotions

The symbol of emotions is water, and water’s nature is to descend to the lowest point. UNLESS, we harness its power through heat and other devices. 

Our emotional nature is the same. It will seek the lowest levels available to it…. the lowest levels around it, until we consciously redirect it toward a greater good. And we do that by “heating up” our intensity and efforts to consciously create better thoughts, habits and goals.

Water never runs uphill unless we intervene. Same for us. Happening upon success isn’t a thing. Waiting for change isn’t either. Tomorrow won’t be different if we do the same things today.

There’s no prince charming or fairy godmother to the rescue. No Hollywood agent waiting to discover us. It’s up to each of us to discover ourselves, to mine our potential and bring it to the surface through daily effort over time.

But that’s the good news. It means we have the lever of power to change. It’s in our hands. Hands that become more capable with every stroke of the brush or keyboard, with every goal checked off.

Don’t Ignore the Leaks

Just yesterday, a friend said her son, who’s in his late 20’s, needed to move back home for a few months. Apparently, he had a slow leak under his kitchen cabinet in a new home he bought. Unaware of it, that leak proceeded to seep into and permeate the entire subflooring, which is the underlying particle board upon which the wood, tile or carpet is laid.

It was going to take several months to fix. He would need to get estimates from subcontractors and decide which one to hire. They would need to rip up the flooring and replace the water damaged subflooring, then wait days or more to let the floor joists dry out, likely with the help of running fans day and night before they could start on the replacement flooring.

This will costs him thousands of dollars to fix the problem, and very likely in the five digit thousands figure. All of this hassle, time and expense from a little drip of water over time.

The Habit of Positive Action Will Change Everything

We think that the little leaks to our aspirations, and promises to ourselves as minor and that we’ll do better tomorrow. It’s easy to think that this one bite of [insert your favorite vice], or one more evening consuming versus creating won’t make a difference.

It’s easy to rationalize that a little procrastination, checking in on the daily news, or grumbling about this or that with social media friends isn’t enough to make a difference. But they add up over time, and can do a lot of damage to our goals and dreams, and derail our purpose.

Negativity compounds. But so does positivity and effort. Vastly better to compound the positive little things into bigger wins than the damaging drip of negatives that erode our dreams and shadow our soul.

“What’s possible when we harness the power of our emotions, transform them, and put them to work for us? Magic.
~LeAura Alderson, writer, editor, creator®

RELATED: Water as the symbol of emotions

Lifting Blinders

Our biases become our blinders. The more we tune into it, the more of it we see and the more our bias is reinforced.

All the negativity and negative news out there elevates our stress hormones which increases anxiety and fear.

I rarely see it because I don’t click on it or tune into negative news or clickbait shockers any more. Subsequently the social algorithms don’t serve it to me.

They want to serve you what you like so that you’ll click on more of that.  So if you start ignoring it you’ll be seeing less and less of it, both because there’s less coming your way, and also because you’re tuning it out anyway.

Reframing is your mind gym. If you do it regularly, your mind — and emotions — get more fit.”
~LeAura Alderson, writer, editor, creator®

Reframing is your mind gym. If you do it regularly, your mind — and emotions — get more fit. LeAura Alderson,

Transformation Through Transmutation

You can become the alchemist of your life. Indeed, it is our birthright and our destiny to become more fully conscious creators. When we transmute negatives to positives, and put forth consistent effort, there’s no limit to the beauty and creativity we can accomplish.

RELATED: Paulo Coelho quotes – author of the famed book The Alchemist

Lindsey Stirling is one such amazingly talented artist. Her secret? Many years of hard work and disciplined practice and effort. Like hanging out with leaders and achievers, consistency and discipline isn’t that alluring a slogan. Unless you want to achieve your dreams. In that case, it’s mandatory.

Transformation through transmutation.

This video aquatic musical performance is a wonderful example of harnessing water and creativity.

Community Member Comments

NOTE: We post your comments here within articles rather than at the end, because comment fields get spammed to the tune of hundreds of spam links to disable each week. So send them to us and we’ll share them here.

Lynda Suzanne Wright: “I’ve (we’ve) tried everything, and nothing works.” Yep, used to hear this one all the time. How about it’s corollary “I (we) tried that once, but it didn’t work!” I know you are writing about learners, but this is also great advice for leaders. One of my favorite administrators used to say, “if the system you are using is not producing the results you want, you must change the system. Powerful. Thank you!”

Our Reply: YES, Lynda!! Excellent points! Definitely also for “leaders” because the best leaders remain ever learners! Thank YOU!  ?

For more on cognitive restructuring and reframing, learn from the master of that via this article and Dr. Joe Dispenza Quotes.

Yes, You Can Grow New Brain Cells

This is a brief but very Interesting TED talk by neuroscientist, Sandrine Thuret, who elaborates on some of what we’ve shared above. Just tuning into this to learn helps your cognitive functions, so enjoy!

Seth Godin on Impact Theory

This is a wonderfully inspiring Impact Theory with host, Tom Bilyeu interviewing legendary teacher, Seth Godin.

You’ll want to view this entire interview, for the gems there. Seth shares about success American artist, Abby Ryan, as well as how CBT – Cognitive Behavior Therapy – helped him.

You may also enjoy our article on mental programming.

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