Psychological Self-Help

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1204
making myself angry and unhappy; let's find a solution or avoid
each other." 
Many of our irrational emotion-causing thoughts are "shoulds"--"I
should do better," "They should be better," "They should not treat me
that way," "Things should not be this way," "They should be
punished," and so on. These ideas reflect our own unfulfilled
expectations; often they are our dreams or hopes that were never
reasonable or carefully cultivated. Irrational ideas can be changed to
be reasonable (see method #3 in chapter 14). 
Learn to think logically. Our thinking is distorted in many ways
(see method #8 in chapter 14). We often draw false conclusions about
ourselves or others. We misunderstand the implications of someone's
behavior; we misinterpret other peoples' comments; we make false
assumptions about what people are thinking and feeling. Examples:
Someone turns us down for a date and we conclude that most people
would not want to go out with us. We are used and deceived by
someone of the opposite sex and we conclude that all men/women are
self-serving creeps. We are turned down after interviewing for seven
different jobs and we conclude that there are no jobs to be had, that
employers are prejudiced against us, or that there is nothing we can
do to improve our chances of being selected. Our spouse hasn't been
affectionate and we conclude that he/she is interested in someone
else. In short, when we have negative expectations, we should ask
ourselves "What is the evidence?" and "Is there another way to
interpret that data?" As we saw in chapter 9, the best way to check
our assumptions about how others are feeling and thinking is to ask
them!
Learn to think like a determinist. So far as anyone knows,
everything has its causes. Just as the laws of physics and chemistry
describe the physical world, the laws of behavior describe the animal
world. Every action, every feeling, every thought, so far as we know,
has a cause--it is lawfully determined, even our "free will" and our
"free choices." We can learn to accept our and others' behavior as
being lawful, i.e. the natural, inevitable outcome of earlier events (see
method 4 in chapter 14). We can't change the causes of the past and
present; "it's water over the dam;" we may be able to change the
causes of future events. It is on these logical grounds that a person
can come to accept him/herself and others, to be tolerant of the past
and hopeful to improve in the future. 
Learn to be a hopeful self-helper. Believe you can change the
unwanted emotions. Avoid defeatism. Avoid catastrophizing--ask
yourself, "What is the worst that could happen? Would that be the end
of the world?" Be optimistic--ask yourself, "Life is a lemon right now,
how can I make lemonade out of it?" or "What would a super well
adjusted person in my situation say to themselves and do?" Think big.
Think positive. Use your problem-solving and assertiveness skills
(chapters 2 and 13) to plan several ways of changing the unwanted
emotions. 
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