Psychological Self-Help

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negative emotional reactions to the stressful situation
A more self-help oriented method for understanding and soothing
intense emotions is Emotions Manager 2000
( ($39.95). This is a software program
published by Quate Publishing and based, in part, on Rational-Emotive
Therapy. Don't expect this CD-ROM to offer quick, easy relief; just like
therapy or other self-help methods, it requires daily work for several
weeks or months. If that is not your habit or style, then don't buy it.
Here is what you input to the program: whenever you have a strong
emotion (happy, sad, angry...) in any arena (work, spouse, children,
health...) of your life, you enter and store a detailed description of the
experience into the program. Then you write out and record your
answers to several questions about this emotional situation: What
events or thoughts preceded your strong emotion? Were there some
positive things about this experience? What is the worst case scenario-
-what awful things do you think might happen? If the worst things did
happen, how could you handle them? That is what you do, so in a
couple of months you will have recorded at least 60 and maybe
hundreds of intense experiences to study and understand. 
The value of the Emotions Manager program really comes in the
review and analyze phases. It will enable you to review your recorded
emotional reactions by kind of emotion and arena, so you can see if
the emotions are changing--stronger or weaker, more or less frequent-
-and if there are trends and connections. It will print out colored
graphs and tables, showing how recent emotions compare to reactions
in the same situation 6 months ago. It will help you identify your
frequent triggers, your catastrophizing thoughts, your common
irrational ideas, and your usual ways of trying to cope. The program
does not do the thinking for you and draw conclusions about how to
change your thinking and expectations, how to correct irrational ideas
and schemas, how to do less awfulizing and more preferring, how to
see even unwanted outcomes as "lawful" and the natural outcome of
existing complicated events and causes, and so on. 
Another wrinkle that some therapists would add would be to ask
you to record or remember the dire expectations you had during
many, many times you have been upset. Then, six months later record
what the actual outcome was, so you can check the accuracy of your
awfulizing or catastrophizing. In this way, you use subsequent reality
to correct some of your habitually upsetting thoughts. 
If you are an introspective person with some compulsive
tendencies and/or a love of writing, this method (or something like it)
might work very well for you. Anyone this committed to gaining self-
understanding and control, might also benefit considerably from
consulting with a therapist. Such a detailed record/diary should be
useful in therapy. If you are not in therapy, read a Rational-Emotive or
Cognitive Therapy book or, at least, read Method #3 near the
beginning of this chapter. Most of us need some outside help in
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