Obviously, learning better skills for handling stressful situations is
a good way to cope with many emotions. Being assertive overcomes
submissiveness. Describing your anger in "I feel _____ when ____"
statements seems to reduce subsequent aggression and increase
empathy from others (Gaines, Kirwin, & Gentry, 1977). See method
#4 in chapter 13.
Since many emotions are created by our thoughts and views or
attitudes (see chapters 5, 6, 7 & 8), the reduction of those emotions
depend on cognitive changes (see chapter 14). We can learn to
tolerate unpleasant conditions and to accept not getting what we want.
To be less depressed and hopeless, we can learn to see external but
changeable factors as causing bad events and internal (we're
responsible) and lasting factors as causing our successes. We can also
correct our irrational ideas and errors in logic. Smith (1990) has
described the cognitive-behavioral methods most thoroughly. Also see
the other references below.
Note: trying to think through what caused us to be depressed or upset doesn't help
relieve the emotions. Also, trying to suppress ("don't think about it") the thoughts and
feelings often doesn't work well either. Mentally you have to get entirely away from the
Remember: fears can be conquered by watching someone else
overcome the same fear, especially if the person will then help you get
into and deal with the situation (see modeling in method #2 in chapter
Happiness and contentment with one's life is based, in part, on
one's values and expectations and attitudes. For example,
unconditional positive regard for self and others and the tolerant-
accepting attitude of a determinist makes life run smoother (see
method #3 and chapter 14). To love and to be loved is life's greatest
joy. Having a worthwhile mission--a purpose--adds meaning and
satisfaction to life. See chapter 3.