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CBT

Jealousy

Depression

Relationships

Conflict

Self-efficacy

Happiness

Goal-setting

Motivation

Wellness

Sport Psych

Martial Arts


POPULAR ARTICLES

What to Do When Your Jealousy Threatens to Destroy Your Marriage

Rejection Sensitivity, Irrational Jealousy and Impact on Relationships

When You Have Been Betrayed

Crazy-Makers: Passive-Aggressive People

For Women Only: How to Have the Relationship of Your Dreams

What to Do When Your Partner's Jealousy Threatens to Destroy Your Relationship

Making Attributions for a Healthier Attitude

Happiness is An Attitude

Conflict in the Workplace

Motivation: Intrinsic vs. Extrinsic

Thinking Your Way to a Healthy Weight

Lies, Damned Lies, and Statistics

Guide to How to Set Achieveable Goals

Excellence vs. Perfection

Depression is Not Sadness

Feedback, Self-Efficacy and the Development of Motor skills

The Effectiveness of Cognitive-Behavioral Treatment for Anxiety Disorders

Performance Enhancement in the Martial Arts: A Review

Catastrophe? Or Inconvenience?

RECENT ARTICLES

When Anger Hurts Those You Love

A Brief Primer On the Biology of Stress and How CBT Can Help

50 Tools for Panic and Anxiety

Coping With Change: Psychological Flexibility

Breaking Up is Hard to Do: Ending a Bad Relationship

I'm Depressed. I'm Overwhelmed. Where Do I Start?

Happy Habits: 50 Suggestions

The Secret of Happiness: Let It Find You (But Make the Effort)

Promoting Healthy Behavior Change

10 Common Errors in CBT

Why Are People Mean? Don't Take It Personally!

Struggling to Forgive: An Inability to Grieve

Co-Dependency: An Issue of Control

The Pillars of the Self-Concept: Self-Esteem and Self-Efficacy



NEW AUDIOS

Change Yourself--Don't Wait for the World to Change

The Great Desert Mindfulness

Tropical Garden Mindfulness

Thinking Your Way to a Healthy Weight

Lies You Were Told

Probability and OCD

Choosing Happiness

Magic Bubbles for Children

Lotus Flower Relaxation

Cloud Castles for Children

Hot Air Balloon Motivation

Day of Fishing Mindfulness

Audio Version of Article: Struggling to Forgive: An Inability to Grieve

Audio Version of Article: Crazy-Makers: Passive-Aggressive People

Audio Version of Article: Why Are People Mean? Don't Take It Personally!

Audio Version of Article: Happiness Is An Attitude

All Audio Articles

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PSYCHNOTES

Previous

April 19, 2014
The concept of mindfulness while experiencing discomfort and how that can reduce suffering is a confusing one initially. This audio explains the concept and describes how to proceed with the next step of mindfulness practice.

This audio download is the second of a series of audios to explain mindfulness in greater detail. For your convenience, the transcript of the audio is included. It is best to use the Understanding Mindfulness audios in order and practice the methods before proceeding to the next step.



April 18, 2014
The concept of mindfulness may seem very simple on the surface. However, many people may quit practicing mindfulness because they don't fully understand it. This series of audios will help you understand it more fully. In addition, they describe how to use the practice audios on this site.

This audio download is the first of a series of audios to explain mindfulness in greater detail. For your convenience, the transcript of the audio is included. It is best to use the Understanding Mindfulness audios in order and practice the methods before proceeding to the next step.



April 16, 2014
This ten minute audio focuses on increasing the feeling of energy and strength in the body. This audio has several purposes. It can assist people who tend to have problems with fatigue or low energy. Also, it can aid with a more positive focus regarding the body.

This can be an excellent audio for athletes who need to pump up their energy. It can help them focus on feeling the physical strength of their body and prepare them for their sport.



April 15, 2014
This audio is an eight minute mindfulness method to help you wake up from sleep with a focus on feeling energy. Mindfulness is a state of mind in which you focus completely on your most immediate experience. In this exercise, the focus is on bringing energy into your body with each mindful breath and focusing in a positive way on your day.

When doing any mindful exercise, it is important to very gently bring your focus back to your experience if distracting thoughts occur. Do not try to get rid of the thoughts because that interferes with mindfulness. Instead, just gently refocus back to the exercise.



April 13, 2014
PsychNote: CAN FACEBOOK MAKE YOU MORE ANXIOUS WHEN MEETING SOMEONE?

Many people with social anxiety desire social contact but seek the “safety” of social networking. Often, believing that social networking will either fulfill the need for contact or ease them into face-to-face contact they pursue social interaction on Facebook and other social networking. Unfortunately, researchers Rauch and colleagues have found that Facebook may increase social anxiety when followed by face-to-face meetings. They suggest that reviewing Facebook profiles before meeting someone may increase negative comparisons for those who are socially anxious. This indicates that social networking may make Social Anxiety Disorder worse rather than better.

What is Social Anxiety Disorder?
Social anxiety is the tendency to be anxious regarding social interaction. In particular, the person with social anxiety is likely to see him or herself negatively in comparison to others. They tend to worry that other people will also view them in this way. People with social anxiety want relationships with others but are fearful of being rejected. Social anxiety can be severe enough that a Can Facebook make you more anxious when meeting someone? person may avoid much social interaction and isolate. When it impacts the lifestyle to a serious degree it is known as Social Anxiety Disorder.

One of the premises of behavioral therapy for social anxiety is that gradual exposure to social interaction can lead to a reduction in anxiety. However, the exposure may be best when linked to some change in thinking such as “Comparing my insides to other people's outsides isn't fair to me.” This thought refers to the idea that you only see what people want to show you and you don't necessarily know what is really occurring in their lives. Therefore, comparing how you feel inside with what you see of other people isn't a fair comparison.

What Should You Do If You Have Social Anxiety?
This research indicates that just viewing other people's Facebook posts without some sort of restructuring of the thinking may only reinforce the irrational comparison: “Look at how these people have it all together. I'm nothing compared to them.” Therefore, this research indicates caution with the use of Facebook for people with social anxiety. At the very least, if a person wants to change thinking about interacting with others, he or she needs to challenge the irrational assumptions that occur when viewing Facebook.

Rauch, S.M., Strobel, C., Bella, M., Odachowski, Z.and Bloom, C. (2014). Face to Face Versus Facebook: Does Exposure to Social Networking Web Sites Augment or Attenuate Physiological Arousal Among the Socially Anxious? Cyberpsychology, Behavior, and Social Networking, 17, 187-190. doi:10.1089/cyber.2012.0498.



April 12, 2014
New Audio: DAILY MINDFULNESS PRACTICE--Exercise to Exhaustion.

Practice mindfulness many times throughout the day with your different activities. If your mind wanders, gently bring your focus back to your immediate experience.

The audio is for guidance only. This exercise focuses on doing aerobic exercise to exhaustion. This is a good exercise to practice the mindful experience of discomfort and just "being" with the changes that occur in your body as you exercise and afterwards as you relax.



April 8, 2014
New Audio: DAILY MINDFULNESS PRACTICE--Drifting to Sleep.

Practice mindfulness many times throughout the day with your different activities. If your mind wanders, gently bring your focus back to your immediate experience.

This exercise focuses on experiencing when you are drifting off to sleep. It may seem odd to be aware when your awareness is decreasing, but it is an interesting experience. Some people find it even helps with falling asleep.



April 7, 2014
New Passive Aggressive Example: PARENTS' CRITICSIM OF BRIDE

Question: At my wedding my husband told a story about how he knew he liked me. He said I am a smart girl but I came to him to ask a work-related question. He also said I put my boot on the desk and asked if he liked them. I did ask but what he didn't tell everyone was that I was sitting at my own desk and they were modest ankle boots that I wore with bootleg slacks. I don't recall asking in a flirtatious manner but really as a concern because I wasn't sure I liked the boots as they were pointy and reminded me of an elf's boots. I didn't bother to say anything because I thought it was an entertaining story whether true or not. The next day my father suggested I was inappropriately promiscuous and demanded to know exactly how my relationship with my husband transpired! When I asked my husband to deal with him, my father said to my husband “between you and me I don't want it to go any further but she had problems coping with work.” He also suggested he understood that my husband was helping me with work because I had problems indicating something inappropriate was happening. When I complained to my mother that dad was making up things my mother told me I argue with my father because I am just like him. Also, on the day of my wedding my father was teasing my mother with my wedding vows. I had given them the celebrant's program so they would know when to stand and give me away. On the day, they sat like stunned mullets and had to be prompted more than once to answer. I got angry at my mother for allowing my dad to use my program to tease her. She complained to my aunty that I gave her grief. It was one drama after another to do with really petty things. Almost all of it rumors, innuendo and lies from my father and my mother blaming me.

VIEW ANSWER




April 6, 2014
50 RULES FOR LIFE
Rule 7: Lift People Up, Don't Put Them Down
(read more...)



April 4, 2014

New Cognitive Diary Training Example: "SNIPPY" EMAIL FROM FRIEND

EVENT: I contacted my friend to remind her about lunch and she sent back a "snippy" email saying she had already told me she would be there.

EMOTIONS: hurt, embarrassed

DISTRESS RATING: 6—feeling bad

THOUGHTS: “She sounded like she was mad at me. I don't know why she has to be so rude. I don't understand what I did wrong. But I'm sure it is me. I'm always so awkward socially. Maybe I should have checked my emails before contacting her.”

CAN YOU IDENTIFY THE IRRATIONAL THINKING IN THIS EXAMPLE? There are at least 3 irrational beliefs.

HOW CAN YOU CHANGE THE THINKING? What is another way of thinking about the situation that won't cause the feelings of being hurt and embarrassed?

VIEW ANSWER



April 2, 2014
PsychNote: WHAT COULD BE MORE MINDFUL THAN A CAT WATCHING BIRD VIDEOS?

I thought I would share this cute video of my cat, Tasha, watching bird videos. When I'm working on my website or apps and I'm not needing the second monitor, I put a bird video on for her and she'll sit and watch intently for an hour or more. If only we could be so mindful!



Currently I'm working on developing a more structured approach to learning mindfulness. Although I have the article Why Are Meditative Relaxation and Mindfulness Important? and the Mindfulness Training Exercises, I realize that understanding mindfulness can be quite complex even though it sounds simple. As I work with my clients on developing mindfulness, it is helping me to understand some of the areas of difficulty and confusion when learning mindfulness.

Since mindfulness is such an experiential process, it is difficult to explain the nuances verbally. However, I am developing several audios about understanding mindfulness. The first two should be on the website in the next couple weeks. I'll keep you posted.



April 1, 2014
PsychNote: HOW PLAYING VIOLENT VIDEO GAMES AFFECTS YOUR CHILDREN

As can be seen in the article, “Violent video games may be tied to aggressive thoughts” in Reuters, the question of how violence in video games can affect children is controversial. However, a more recent meta-analysis (Anderson et al., 2010; see description below) shows strong evidence for a negative impact on children. In particular, this multi-cultural research examining 136 studies with over 130,000 subjects found that children who play violent video games are more likely to have aggressive thoughts and emotions as well as aggressive behavior. In addition, these children show less pro-social behavior; they tend to be less empathetic or concerned about others.

Some people have claimed that children who are more aggressive may tend to play more violent games rather than the violent games causing aggression. However, this research examined studies that were conducted over a period of time that shows that aggression increases over time as children are exposed to the violent games. This indicates that the games cause aggression rather than aggression causing a preference for violent games.

video game picture In my opinion, the topic of violent video games is a much more serious public health discussion than gun control or illicit drugs. It may even be a precursor to problems with crime or drugs. However, it doesn't seem to get near the attention. The reason I say this is a critical issue is because violent video games are almost a normal part of our culture, without proper supervision children have easy access to them, and they directly influence the developing mind. If we want to change the degree of violence in our culture, we need to examine how young minds are shaped. Perhaps the reason the impact of violent video games on children remains controversial is that video gaming is a multi-billion dollar industry that can influence the public discussion.

Some of my readers (who know I have a black belt in Kenpo) may wonder how I can advocate martial arts for children and yet be concerned about the violence in video games. The difference is that most martial arts programs for children are pro-social. In other words, they teach children how to solve problems non-violently while also teaching them to have self-discipline and confidence in their skills to protect themselves. Of course, this depends upon the type of martial art and how it is taught (Vertonghen, J. and Theeboom, M., 2012). I believe from what I have observed that martial arts help children develop greater self-control over aggressive tendencies.

What is a meta-analysis of research?

Any single research study can be flawed and the results could be inaccurate. As a result, a single research study showing significant results is for the purposes of indicating that more research needs to be completed, not for the purpose of drawing conclusions. A meta-analysis, however, helps to draw conclusions. Think of it as a research study on research studies. The researcher selects studies that have been conducted in a particular area and analyzes them as a group in order to draw stronger conclusions.

However, even meta-analyses can be biased because they often involve the selection of studies based on the quality of the research which is a decision made by the researcher. However, due to the controversial nature of the relationship of aggression and playing video games, Anderson and colleagues (2010) selected all the studies, published and unpublished they could find and used statistical analysis to assess any differences based upon the quality of the studies. This meta-analysis was in response to previous meta-analyses by Ferguson (2007a, 2007b; Ferguson & Kilburn, 2009; also, quoted in the Reuters article down-playing the connection between violent video games and aggression) concluding that the connection between aggression and video games suggested by research was due to publication bias which is the tendency to publish only positive results and not negative results. Anderson and colleagues analysis refutes this conclusion.

Anderson, C.A, Shibuya, A., Ihori, N., Swing, E.L., Bushman, B.J., Sakamoto, A. and Rothstein, H.R. (2010). Violent Video Game Effects on Aggression, Empathy, and Prosocial Behavior in Eastern and Western Countries: A Meta-Analytic Review. Psychological Bulletin, 136, 151–173. DOI: 10.1037/a0018251.

Ferguson, C. J. (2007a). Evidence for publication bias in video game violence effects literature: A meta-analytic review. Aggression and Violent Behavior, 12, 470–482.

Ferguson, C. J. (2007b). The good, the bad and the ugly: A meta-analytic review of positive and negative effects of violent video games. Psychi- atric Quarterly, 78, 309–316.

Ferguson, C. J., & Kilburn, J. (2009). The public health risks of media violence: A meta-analytic review. Journal of Pediatrics, 154, 759–763.

Vertonghen, J. and Theeboom, M. (2012). Martial arts and youth: An analysis of contextual factors. International Journal of Adolescence and Youth, 17, 237-241. doi:10.1080/02673843.2012.687689.



March 31, 2014
New Audio: DAILY MINDFULNESS PRACTICE--Lying Down.

Practice these exercises many times throughout the day with your different activities. If your mind wanders, gently bring your focus back to your immediate experience.

These audios are not imaginal experiences. It is necessary to actually engage in the behavior described. The audio is for guidance only. You do not listen to the audio while practicing mindfulness. This exercise focuses on experiencing the different sensations when lying down on different surfaces. Depending upon the surface you are lying on, this is a good mindfulness practice for learning to tolerate discomfort. Instead of trying to make yourself comfortable, allow yourself just to experience the sensations whatever they might be.



March 28, 2014
Audio Version of Article Just Released: 50 TOOLS FOR PANIC AND ANXIETY.

50 CBT tools for panic and anxiety are divided into several categories: general skills, initial relaxation training, initial cognitive restructuring, advanced mindfulness training, advanced cognitive restructuring, and exposure treatment.



March 27, 2014
New Passive Aggressive Example: MOTHER-IN-LAW WANTS TO BE CENTER OF ATTENTION

Question:My soon-to-be mother-in-law always wants to be the center of attention. The last straw is she wants to wear a dress to MY wedding that is fancier than my wedding dress! I think this is a deliberate passive-aggressive attempt to make me look bad on my wedding day. She didn't do this at her daughter's wedding! How can I stop her?

VIEW ANSWER




March 24, 2014
New Audio: DAILY MINDFULNESS PRACTICE--Lifting Weights.

Practice these exercises many times throughout the day with your different activities. If your mind wanders, gently bring your focus back to your immediate experience.

These audios are not imaginal experiences. It is necessary to actually engage in the behavior described. The audio is for guidance only. You do not listen to the audio while practicing mindfulness. This exercise focuses on experiencing the different sensations when lifting weights. Try this exercise with different weights, at different speeds, for different lengths of time. Lifting weights can be tiring so this can also be useful for developing mindful awareness when you experience muscle fatigue.



March 21, 2014
50 RULES FOR LIFE
Rule 7: Make One Life Better Today
(read more...)



March 20, 2014
PsychNote: EAT ANYTHING YOU WANT--JUST COOK IT YOURSELF

Food for thought. The diet industry is a multi-billion dollar industry preying on the desire for an easy fix. Yet, one of today's biggest health problems is that we live in a culture with easy access to unhealthy foods. If you want to be enlightened about nutrition, watch a chef cook in a restaurant using handfuls of salt, pounds of sugar and untold amounts of oil. These are the three worst food substances for us but they make food taste good.

This video suggests that to eat healthier, we simply need to cook our own food. You will not use near the amounts of sugar, salt, and fat when you cook yourself as when eating out or eating pre-packaged foods from the store. By making the simple commitment to cook your own meals, you will be able to eat anything you want, be healthier, and maintain a better weight.

The problem, however, is that cooking your own meals is not as simple as pulling into the nearest fast food drive-thru. It requires planning and effort. However, the hardest thing is taking the initial steps. Once you have developed a routine, you will find ways to make the process of cooking for yourself easier and quicker.

You can even break down this commitment into steps. You don't have to change completely all at once. For instance, you could count the number of meals you eat out each week and then decrease that number one meal at a time: "This week I will eat out 6 times instead of 7."



March 19, 2014
New Audio: DAILY MINDFULNESS PRACTICE--Walking Up Stairs.

Practice these exercises many times throughout the day with your different activities. If your mind wanders, gently bring your focus back to your immediate experience.

These audios are not imaginal experiences. It is necessary to actually engage in the behavior described. The audio is for guidance only. You do not listen to the audio while practicing mindfulness. This exercise focuses on experiencing the different sensations of walking up and down stairs. Try this exercise on different stairs, at different speeds, for different lengths of time. Walking stairs can be tiring so this can also be useful for developing mindful awareness when you experience muscle fatigue.



March 16, 2014

New Audio: LEARNING TO TOLERATE ANXIETY
This educational audio helps you to understand the concept of tolerating anxiety and why it is important. The fear of the anxiety and the demand to get rid of it makes the anxiety worse. The more you learn to tolerate anxiety, the less intense and frequent it will be. Developing mindfulness skills increases the ability to tolerate anxiety because mindfulness focuses on the immediate present not on the catastrophic worries about the future. The more that you focus on the "what ifs" regarding anxiety, the more likely your anxiety will be triggered.



March 15, 2014

New Article: WHAT TO DO WHEN ANGER HURTS THOSE YOU LOVE
Explains how anger is reinforced biologically and how the CBT methods can help change the process.

"Managing your anger so that you don't hurt the ones you love takes determination and practice. However, your practice will pay off in many ways. Not only will you be less likely to hurt the ones you love, but you will feel a greater sense of inner peace from these methods as well as less guilt from your behavior."



March 14, 2014

New Article: A BRIEF PRIMER ON THE BIOLOGY OF STRESS AND HOW CBT CAN HELP
Explains the biology of the stress reaction and how cognitive-behavioral therapy impacts that process at the biological level.

"...instill hope by providing you with the knowledge that you have the resources within you to control the damaging effects of stress."



March 13, 2014
New Audio: DAILY MINDFULNESS PRACTICE--Digging in the Garden.

Practice these exercises many times throughout the day with your different activities. If your mind wanders, gently bring your focus back to your immediate experience.

These audios are not imaginal experiences. It is necessary to actually engage in the behavior described. The audio is for guidance only. You do not listen to the audio while practicing mindfulness. This exercise focuses on experiencing the different sensations of digging in a garden. Try this exercise in different places in the garden and at different times such as after a rain or when the soil is dry.



March 8, 2014
50 RULES FOR LIFE
Rule 6: Change Yourself--Don't Wait for the World to Change
(read more...)



March 7, 2014
New Relaxation Audio:THE GREAT DESERT MINDFULNESS.

Free download of desert mindfulness describing a walk in the Great Desert experiencing the beauty, heat, and sounds of the sand dunes. You return to a quiet oasis pool and fully experience the sunset over the desert.

Use the audio for relaxation, mindfulness training, or sleep.



March 4, 2014
New Cognitive Diary Training Example: FEAR OF PANIC IN MEETING
EVENT: I need to attend a meeting. I am anxious because last time I had a panic attack during a meeting.

EMOTIONS: apprehension, worry, dread

DISTRESS RATING: 7—feeling distressed, less in control

THOUGHTS: “I'm going to have a panic attack again. What will everyone think? I can't handle this. I'm so weak.”

CAN YOU IDENTIFY THE IRRATIONAL THINKING IN THIS EXAMPLE? There are at least 3 irrational beliefs.

HOW CAN YOU CHANGE THE THINKING? What is another way of thinking about the situation that won't cause the feelings of being apprehension, worry, and dread?

VIEW ANSWER



March 3, 2014
New Passive Aggressive Example: BOYFRIEND GETS DEFENSIVE

Question:I asked my boyfriend when was he planning on leaving the transitional house he's been in for 8 years. He starts asking what would be the benefit of leaving? The conversation then starts to escalate. I'm trying to explain the benefit of leaving...which is a no brainer. Then he starts to yell. I tell him to lower his voice which meant that I was yelling as well. He then says "You're yelling louder than me" and how could he get a word in when I'm talking over him? Then he storms out. The conversation did not get resolved.

VIEW ANSWER




February 26, 2014
MONEY MAY NOT BUY HAPPINESS, BUT HOW YOU SPEND MONEY MAY HELP

How do you spend extra income? Do you spend it on acquiring things? Or do you spend it on experiences? Researcher, Leaf Van Boven (2005) suggests that how money is spent can influence our happiness. In particular, money spent on acquiring material items tends to be associated with greater dissatisfaction with one's life whereas money spent on experiences is related to a more positive sense of well-being.

Several reasons may explain this difference:
1) Experiences provide opportunity for positive evaluation. When you have experiences they can live on in your memory. Over time, you are likely to enjoy and talk about the good experiences again and again. Even the bad experiences can become an interesting story to tell which increases the positive associations.

2) Experiences are less likely to have negative comparisons. When you purchase something there is a tendency to compare to others. Someone else may have a bigger house or they bought their car cheaper. This comparison often leads to dissatisfaction and a tendency to want more material items to prove self-worth.

3) Experiences improve social relationships. Many experiences involve other people so they have a direct positive effect on relationships. Even solitary experiences can improve relationships through sharing the memory and stories with other people.

However, it is also possible that people who have a low sense of self-worth are more likely to purchase things as an easy “fix” to try to feel better about themselves. The research is not clear if a person who tends to spend money on material possessions would increase their self-worth if they spent on experiences instead.

How do you want to spend your money? On a river raft float or a picture of a river? On a dinner party with friends or a new appliance? On a day at the zoo with your family or a lounge chair?

Van Boven, L. (2005). Experientialism, Materialism, and the Pursuit of Happiness. Review of General Psychology, 9, 132–142. DOI: 10.1037/1089-2680.9.2.132



February 15, 2014
50 RULES FOR LIFE
Rule 5: Dream the Dreams of Fools
(read more...)



February 12, 2014
New Cognitive Diary Training Example: JEALOUS OF WIFE TALKING TO ANOTHER MAN

EVENT: My wife was talking to another man and touched him on the arm. I questioned her after about her behavior and liking him.

EMOTIONS: jealous, angry, hostile

DISTRESS RATING: 8—high level of distress

THOUGHTS: “She likes him. What if she wants him and leaves me? I can't compete with him. Other women have cheated on me. I can't trust her.”

CAN YOU IDENTIFY THE IRRATIONAL THINKING IN THIS EXAMPLE? There are at least 3 irrational beliefs.

HOW CAN YOU CHANGE THE THINKING? What is another way of thinking about the situation that won't cause the feelings of being jealous, angry, and hostile?

VIEW ANSWER



February 9, 2014
50 RULES FOR LIFE
Rule 4: Make Your Share of Mistakes
(read more...)



February 7, 2014
The last 8 cognitive-behavioral therapy (CBT) tools, Exposure Methods, are discussed in the last installment of this article: read about the methods of imaginal coping exposures, imaginal exposure, coping exposures, mistake practice, track and reduce, interoceptive deconditioning, flooding exposure, and paradoxically creating anxiety.

The entire article includes 50 CBT tools for panic and anxiety which are divided into several categories: general skills, initial relaxation training, initial cognitive restructuring, advanced mindfulness training, advanced cognitive restructuring, and exposure treatment.



February 2, 2014
New Passive Aggressive Example: SARCASTIC EX

Question:I wrote a Facebook status about my part time job (cashier, retail), how I spent the day making bouquets, how fun it was and maybe I should change my part time work to Florist. I also hold a B.A. in Graphic Design and am currently in training for web design for my career. An ex who used to mock me for not finding something in my field immediately after graduation commented on my status with "I think Florist goes quite well with your degree..." When I called him out on how rude his statement was he flipped it around saying he was trying to be nice and actually serious and that I was being "so dramatic and overreacting." It made me question how I felt for a second but friends and family members with no insight to the situation fully agreed that when they saw the comment they took it as dripping with sarcasm and rude. Needless to say I messaged him directly confronting the issue. Then when he continued to place blame on me and spew more hurtful words I removed him from Facebook.

VIEW ANSWER



February 1, 2014

New Cognitive Diary Training Example: TOO DEPRESSED TO CALL

EVENT: My friend has left several messages for me about going to lunch.

EMOTIONS: overwhelmed, embarrassed, unworthy

DISTRESS RATING: 8—high level of distress

THOUGHTS: “My depression is so bad I just don't feel like being social. But I should call my friend. She will think I am a horrible person for not returning her call. I am so lazy and weak that I can't do a simple thing like calling my friend.”
CAN YOU IDENTIFY THE IRRATIONAL THINKING IN THIS EXAMPLE? There are at least 3 irrational beliefs.

HOW CAN YOU CHANGE THE THINKING? What is another way of thinking about the situation that won't cause the feelings of being overwhelmed, embarrassed, and unworthy?

VIEW ANSWER



Previous       

Excellence vs Perfection Some people may be curious as to why this website is dedicated to the "pursuit of excellence" when I am constantly warning about the dangers of perfectionism.  To address this question we must differentiate between the pursuit of excellence and the need to be perfect.  These concepts are not only different but can be considered antagonistic to one another. In fact these concepts are so opposed to one another that  excellence can best be attained by giving up the demands of perfection.

What is Perfectionism?  Perfectionism is the individual's belief that he or she must be perfect to be acceptable. Perfectionism is black and white with no gray area. Anything other than perfect is failure. Perfectionism is an attitude, not necessarily a behavior. In other words, two people can engage in the same behavior such as trying to win an Olympic gold medal but one can be pursuing excellence and the other is demanding perfection. The difference lies in the thought process about the goal or behavior, not in the goal or behavior itself.  READ MORE...



Catastrophe? Or Inconvenience? Listening to the weather forecast one frigid day, I realized how much we are influenced by the catastrophic thinking of the media.  The weatherman reported, "The weather has brought more misery to the St. Louis area."  Certainly, the weather was causing problems that day.  An ice storm caused car doors and locks to be frozen so that people had a great deal of trouble getting into their cars.  However, I thought, unless someone was in the middle of nowhere with no cell phone and they were unable to open their car door because of the ice, this was not "misery."  Instead, I would call it an "inconvenience."  Most of us walked out to our cars to find that we couldn't open the door, went back inside a warm house or office, and found some solution to our problem.  READ MORE...



Happiness is an Attitude For many years when my husband and I were first together I would ask him "When are things going to get better?"  We were dealing with the usual stressors that couples face: not enough time, not enough money, and the inevitable random events such as family conflict, deaths of loved ones, illnesses and injuries.  In addition, for most of our early years together I was in school and struggling with the balancing of demands of advanced education, part-time work, and a family. 
But I had the belief that we were working towards this perfect life that one day would emerge shining a rainbow of happiness forever over us. My husband, inclined more toward the practical, just answered my question of "When are things going to get better?," with "Another six months."  That answer typically pacified me for awhile because I thought I could handle any amount of stress for six months.  However, a point would occur when I once again I asked my husband "When are things going to get better?"  Once again, he would answer "Another six months."  This scenario occurred fairly routinely for many years.

However, fortunately during this time I had experiences that began to teach me about my expectations of life.  In particular, when I was completing my internship at the Veterans Administration Medical Center I had the opportunity to work on the spinal cord injury unit.  That experience forever changed my thinking.  In particular, I was struck by the differences in attitude among the patients.  READ MORE...


Lies, Damned Lies, and Statistics Not a day goes by when I don't throw down the morning newspaper complaining about the use of statistics in an article.  In our world the media liberally sprinkles statistics throughout articles and television programs to support a point of view.  The problem, however, is that statistics are frequently misleading if not outright inaccurate.  Without a clear understanding of the nature of statistics and the definitions of statistical terms, the public believe the statistic-supported statements as if they are fact.  In addition, without understanding the agenda of the journalist or analyst using the statistics, the public accepts these "facts" uncritically.  READ MORE...






What to Do When Your Jealousy Threatens to Destroy Your Marriage Frequently, I am asked how to handle irrational jealous feelings.  Usually, the individual recognizes that her feelings are unreasonable with no valid evidence but feels incapable of controlling the jealousy.  In addition, the person usually recognizes the destructive nature of indulging in the feelings and the resulting behavior.  Such behavior typically involves excessive questioning of her spouse, suspiciousness, and accusations.  Many spouses become extremely frustrated with this behavior because they have no way of proving their faithfulness.  This leads to an escalating cycle of anger which is used as further evidence by the jealous spouse that her suspicions are correct.The jealous spouse often desperately wants to stop the behavior but finds that he can't control the thoughts which makes him feel miserable.  He believes that if he can just prove his suspicions one way or another, he will feel better.  The unfortunate fallacy in this thinking, is that trust can never be proven; it can only be disproved.  The definition of trust is the belief that something is true.  Therefore, without evidence to the contrary, if we want a satisfying relationship, we have to choose to trust the person we love.  READ MORE...



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Thinking Your Way to a Healthy Weight"I don't have any willpower."

"I'm weak."

"I'm lazy."

"I can't do it."

Do these statements sound familiar? Too often, our self-statements about weight management interfere with our efforts and lead to failure. By changing how we think about developing a healthy weight we are able to change the behaviors that can lead to success.

Not long ago I conducted a little experiment with my cardio-kickboxing class. After an intense class I told them to get the heaviest weights they could curl 8-10 times. I spent a minute telling them to focus on feeling tired, that they had just worked out hard and they couldn't do anymore. Then, they were to curl the weights to exhaustion. Once they finished, I spent another minute telling them to focus on having energy, feeling good, feeling refreshed, and knowing they could do more. Once again, they lifted the weights to exhaustion. The results were that out of nine people, only one did fewer lifts the second time! And typically, when someone lifts weights to exhaustion they should not be able to lift as much the second time when it is only a minute later. Although this was not a controlled scientific experiment, it was a demonstration to my class to show how powerful our thinking can be. What this exercise showed was how positive thinking overcame the natural exhaustion of the body and created a self-fulfilling prophecy of lifting more weight because the participants believed that they could. READ MORE...