instructions developed by you for your specific situation in step three.
But, first, you must be aware of your specific feelings in specific
situations and your thoughts and attitudes that contribute to those
STEP TWO: Run a mental movie of the emotion-arousing
situation(s). What are your feelings? What are your thoughts?
In fantasy, re-live the stressful experience(s). Do this over and
over, if needed. First, focus on your feelings and try to identify all the
emotions you are having. There's probably more than one. What are
the first signs of the unwanted emotion? (Use these as signals to
relax.) Then, see if you can discover the ideas, automatic thoughts or
beliefs you have that create or intensify your unwanted feelings. Ask
yourself if you have possibly drawn false conclusions. Check to see if
your attitudes are non-accepting of others or of yourself. Did you label
other people as bad? Are you pessimistic and/or overly quick to
conclude that there is nothing you can do about the situation?
The general idea is to understand the causes and sources of your
feelings (not the external causes but your own thoughts and attitudes
and false conclusions that cause or intensify emotions).
If you need to reduce your anxiety or anger, you should, at this
point, make up a hierarchy of common situations you encounter that
are associated with these emotions. See desensitization (method # 4)
for instructions about how to rate these scenes. If you are dealing with
only one situation, go on to step three.
STEP THREE: Figure out better things to say to yourself; learn
attitudes and self-instructions that will control your unwanted
As you have gained awareness of your irrational ideas and false
conclusions that generate your unwanted emotions, you have
undoubtedly thought of some more reasonable ideas and attitudes to
have. These positive, rational ideas and decisions are not adopted by
our minds immediately; you have to reason out the ideas and double
check the conclusions. You have to carefully control and consciously
change your thinking. You have to constantly monitor your thinking for
days or weeks. Changing from being illogical to logical is not an easy,
automatic process. Specifically, you are looking for rational ideas to
replace irrational ones, for valid conclusions instead of faulty ones, and
for positive attitudes that can replace detrimental ones. You must
learn new self-instructions that will help you stay in control of your
emotions. Let's consider several illustrations.
Suppose you have a roommate who drives you up a wall by using
and breaking your things, playing loud music, talking on and on about
boring topics and neglecting his/her share of the cleaning and cooking.
In step two above, you recognized your anger and your fear of the
roommate's resentment of being confronted. In this step, you are