Psychological Self-Help

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Time projection (Lazarus, 1971). If you are depressed by
oppressing circumstances, ask yourself, "What will I be doing in
1...5...10...20 years?" and "What are some of the good things
that could happen?" Be optimistic. The future offers so many
opportunities that looking into the future is an effective antidote
to gloom. 
If you are lost or unmotivated and just marking time today,
ask yourself, "What do I want to be doing 30...20...10...5 years
from now?" Once the long-range goals are set, then tell
yourself, "if my dream is going to come true, I will have to
make progress towards those goals every day." Make up a daily
schedule and get moving! Reality therapy takes this approach. 
Lowering expectations. Some people are unhappy because
they had hoped for too much. They could feel better by being
satisfied with less, by lowering their goals. Make your goals
reasonable and achievable. Base them on your past
performance--maybe a little higher and gradually increasing.
Give up impossible dreams. Examples: If you want all A's but
make C's, try for a B or two next semester (and increase your
study hours, study with a good student, improve your study
skills, and so on). If you are working hard but making low C's in
chemistry, give up the goal of becoming a doctor. 
Caution: It may be hard to find the middle ground between having frustratingly
high goals and not expecting enough of yourself. Lowering your expectations
may become a way of excusing oneself or of avoiding hard work, "Oh, I didn't
expect (wasn't trying) to win." Having high ambitions motivates us. Having high
but barely attainable goals and doing your very best are unavoidably demanding
and stressful. But, how else can you fulfill your potential? However, perhaps the
solution to this dilemma is to have highly inspiring dreams but at the same time
be tolerant of the inevitable occasional failure. Shoot for the moon, but expect
some falls.
"I can think clearly and creatively. " We may be able to
learn new attitudes and techniques that enable us to be more
creative, more innovative, more original--to go further in our
thinking than most people go (Adams, 1986; Schank &
Childers, 1988). In straight thinking and common sense
(method #8 above), we learned some pitfalls to avoid; in
chapter 13, we reviewed decision-making. D'Zurilla (1986)
recommends therapists adopt a problem-solving approach. In
the last 10 years, educational specialists have tried to teach
thinking skills in school via asking probing, challenging
questions, group discussions, enhancing listening, attending
and categorizing skills, teaching problem-solving and decision-
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