The frame we create with our minds can change the meaning we perceive of the contents within.
"Harummph, I can't seem to get passed the ten pull-up plateau." the boy complains to his friend. He feels negative, frustrated, and annoyed at the thought.
Yet, the young child in a wheelchair looks at the older boys who are climbing the walls and descending with ropes and thinks how amazing it would be to just be there with them. No demands for performance, no competitions to win. Just the image of participation causes one child's heart to race while the other has already adapted and lost any excitement.
A mental frame is like a still image. We can control the size and contents quickly by simply asking ourselves questions. We can re-focus our minds on something that gives us a positive feeling at will.
To find the excitement in a stale relationship, we can be amazed at human patience and how safe it feels to really know somebody's movements. We can ask, what's great about this? or What personal values do I have that are really being honored here? No surprises may be just what you need in this stage of life.
When we re-frame our thoughts, we exercise our creativity. We're trying on different interpretations much like a painter might eyeball different color paint chips against the walls that need some a fresh coat. That little chip gives us ideas and stimulates imagination and shows how other elements change in our mind.
An active approach to swapping thought-images helps us wrangle the often untrained responses from the parts of our brains that love novelty. A passive approach leaves us with a brain trying to entertain itself, often to our detriment. So why not use our brains like we use our muscles - for good, to build strong habits of mind. When we do, we'll notice when the lights are dim and when we need to actively illuminate.