Psychological Self-Help

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If you feel bored, feel depressed and look for things you hate to do.
Practice tuning in on your feelings and expressing them. 
All forms of art express feelings. Indeed, many of us are more
emotionally responsive to stories in books, movies, TV, paintings or
music than we are to real life events. We can be touched by an
unlucky character in a song but remain untouched by a classmate or
co-worker who has a misfortune. Make use of your emotional
responses to stories, films, and music for a better understanding of
your emotions. 
Make a list of what situations you respond to emotionally--what TV
stories? What songs? What parts of novels? What art? What situations
or interactions seem to generate what feelings? What common themes
lead to joy? to commitment? to sadness? to anger? to crying? to
loneliness? to self-criticism? to self-satisfaction? All of this helps you
focus on your strongest or favorite feelings and become more aware of
them. It helps you understand your feelings, e.g. suppose you
especially enjoy movies where teenagers defy and outwit police and
other authorities. What does this say about your relationship with
parents or teachers and about your emotions? 
After observing the specific connections between human events in
movies, stories, music, etc. and your emotions, now try to figure out
the factors in your past (and/or in your current situation) that
contribute to these emotional responses. Does the divorce of your
parents make you uncomfortable when a couple fights in a movie?
Does a successful, beautiful older sister make you disinterested in or
resentful of movie stars? Does a smart brother make you avoid hard
classes? These are clear memories, what about less obvious
Take an emotional reaction you have, say joy when someone is
especially thoughtful of others, and go on a fantasy memory trip. Let
your mind wander back to any associations this emotion takes you to.
What kind of childhood events does this emotion remind you of? Talk
out loud about these memories. Don't concern yourself with "Did this
really happen?" or with "Don't be so critical." In fact, if no memories
occur to you, make up what might have happened. This can remind
you of real memories or bring out hidden wishes and fears and feelings
about specific people. Also, you could ask your parents and older
siblings where your emotional reactions, such as fears of authority or a
quick temper, might have come from. The idea is to gain a greater
interest in, awareness of, and understanding of your emotions.
Keeping a diary (see chapter 15) and doing daily ratings that focus on
feelings would be especially helpful. 
Probably the best place to explore feelings is with a friend. It must
be someone you like, trust, and have an agreement with about strict
confidentiality. It should be someone who would choose you as a
sounding board, because the two of you should reverse roles as
needed. Meet in a private place where you can make noise. The person
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