Psychological Self-Help

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solution and, thus, are wrong more often (but they may not care!).
The notion that relaxation enables us to learn more or better is an old
idea from the 1960's or earlier. But there is also evidence that
concentration while reading is improved if the body is moderately
tense. Clearly, much more research is needed. 
Benson's (1987) latest book, with the hokey title of The Maximum
Mind suggests (1) learning to relax, as in his first book (see chapter
12), (2) deciding how you want to change and that you can change--
with the help of a "maximum mind guide," meaning a counselor, and
(3) using "focused thinking" about the desired changes 10-15 minutes
a day, like being happier or more creative--which supposedly helps
"rewire" your mind. It appears that Benson in his first book re-
discovered meditation and now has re-invented self-hypnosis as well. 
Finally, you must keep in mind that straight thinking requires more
than mental rumination by yourself. Ideas must be tested in reality.
Talk to others with different views (not just supportive friends). Try
out your ideas, see if they work, see if others agree, and see if your
ideas can be improved. 
STEP FIVE: Ways to improve your intuition or your experience-
based mind, which is needed along with the knowledge, skills,
and logic of the rational mind.
Epstein and Brodsky (1993) believe you can't change your
automatic thinking (intuition, irrational ideas, biases, etc.) by
willpower nor by reading and getting some intellectual understanding.
He says the experience-based mind only changes with experience. So,
the main priority is to identify the automatic thoughts that cause your
problems, that arouse unwanted emotions or create misconceptions
(this is much like detecting the irrational ideas in method #3). You
need to find the experience-based feelings, thoughts, memories,
opinions, judgments, attitudes, etc. which could explain why you had
the emotions or the faulty thinking you had. Often it is your view of
the situation that determines how you respond emotionally, such as
berating yourself, attacking someone, or withdrawing. Examples:
Losing one's boy/girlfriend or doing poorly in one class is seen as
ruining your entire life. A decision by a supervisor to re-do part of your
work is seen as an insult or as leading up to being fired. The question
is: Is your view or interpretation of the situation or other peoples'
behavior rational? If not, why did you misunderstand the situation? A
review of step 1 may help you recognize your thinking errors. A review
of similar prior traumatic experiences may help you recognize the
source of your emotional reactions. 
Your experience-based mind must have the experience over and
over of being corrected and taught to think and feel differently (more
rationally) about the situations. Every day take time to analyze a
distressing event in this way: (1) explain to the intuitive mind how it
misunderstood the situation or person; (2) note the mental rumination
or fantasies that resulted from your faulty interpretation of the
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