Psychological Self-Help

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sales person is easy to turn down (unless he/she is 7 years old and
you want to offer encouragement). 
Observing how "up tight," tired, or physically upset we are
in specific situations probably influences our judgments about our
efficacy. The self-doubting speaker probably interprets his/her
sweating as a sign he/she is doing poorly rather than as a reaction to a
warm room. The depressed person remembers previous failures while
confident people remember past successes; this further influences
self-efficacy estimates. A good mood and a healthy, comfortable body
generate positive expectations. 
Many therapies emphasize assuming responsibility for and having
control over your own life, especially Reality therapy, Gestalt therapy,
Existential therapy, Cognitive-Behavioral therapy, and Rational-
Emotive therapy. Several of these therapies add another related
concept: choice or "free will." Existentialists say, "You are who you are
because you want to be" (Poduska, 1976). The saying is: "No one can
make you feel any way," you choose to feel the way you do. You also
choose to do whatever you do. Who else is responsible for your
actions, feelings, and thoughts as much as you are? Self-help books,
like this one, and psychoeducational approaches make the same point:
humans can influence their own lives if they know effective methods. 
Research evidence piles up suggesting that self-efficacy is related
to good health, satisfying relationships, and success (Schwarzer,
1992). What is not clear, yet, is how much obtaining these outcomes
in life is responsible for raising your faith in your ability to control your
life vs. how much the faith alone should be given credit for producing
these outcomes. That is, which comes first the confidence or the
accomplishments? Clearly, it works both ways. So, raising your self-
efficacy is a good idea, but there have to be accomplishments too.
Indeed, if it were easier, you could surely start with the achievements
first. 
Certain Eastern philosophies teach a very different point of view:
you are not responsible for what happens in the world. In fact, you
can't do much about it, so accept whatever happens. The oriental
sages say you can only control your internal reaction to the external
world. Trying to change things is like trying to stop a river with a
teaspoon. So, flow with the river. Accepting the inevitable and the laws
of nature are parts of the next attitude discussed. Different Eastern
philosophies speak of karma, which suggests we receive from the
world according to what we give. This can be positive karma: by giving
love, we get more love in return; by letting others be free to make
choices, we lessen our responsibility for others and increase our own
freedom. It can be negative karma: by being unkind and dishonest, we
will be disliked; by over-eating and over-drinking, we will shorten our
lives. Today, you experience the results of yesterday's acts, but you
aren't responsible for controlling what happens. 
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