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Stress: 50 Suggestions--page 5

by Monica A. Frank, Ph.D.
"...although stress does not directly cause health problems typically, it does indirectly influence many, if not most, health conditions..."
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Some of the following suggestions are similar to the list of suggestions for happiness or depression. This is because some of the same techniques will work for different problems. However, this list is also specifically focused on the issue of stress.

SUGGESTION 12: USE THE COGNITIVE DIARY

The "Cognitive Diary" app by Excel At Life takes you step-by-step through the process of writing about an event, identifying any irrational thoughts, and challenging those thoughts. Once you have identified the irrational thinking style, you will be able to choose from a list of challenging statements related to that thinking style. You can then modify it to fit your situation or even write your own using the ones in the app as examples.

In addition, the diary is customizable so that if you are using a specific CBT method and want to use the same terms, you can customize in SETTINGS. You can also add your own challenges that you use frequently to the list of challenges for each style of irrational thinking.

An important part of the cognitive diary is reviewing the statements you have developed. The more frequently you review these statements, the more you come to believe the new way of thinking.

SUGGESTION 13: SEND COGNITIVE DIARY ENTRY

Initially, it may be difficult for you to see your own thinking clearly. It is often helpful to have the opinion of another person regarding how your thinking may be irrational or how to challenge it. The other person may be a therapist, a 12-step sponsor, minister, or close friend. The most important criteria is that you value the person's opinion.

This app allows you to email a diary entry which will include how you have identified the thinking and the way you challenged it.

SUGGESTION 14: READ ARTICLE ABOUT IRRATIONAL THINKING STYLE

This app includes a number of articles to identify irrational thinking styles. The more familiar you are with the content of these articles, the more you will be able to identify if your thinking is irrational and why. Once you understand why you can then develop a way to challenge the thinking.

With these articles as with everything in this app, repetition is key. Re-reading the information helps to reinforce the new ideas in your mind. The more you review the materials in this app, the more it helps you change your thinking and your coping behaviors.

SUGGESTION 15: DEVELOP AN AFFIRMATION

Too often, when someone is stressed their thinking tends to focus in a negative way. This is due to the way information is organized in the brain: when we have a bad experience, we are more likely to recall similar experiences. Thus, when someone is stressed, the negative self-talk can interfere with developing a positive plan for improvement.

One way to fight this tendency is to deliberately develop positive self-statements or affirmations. Once you have done so, you want to review these affirmations frequently to help your brain focus in a more positive and effective direction.

To make this easier for you, you can download the app "Self-Esteem Blackboard" by Excel At Life. It coaches you through changing your negative self-talk and developing affirmations. It also has audios to help improve your self-esteem and additional articles. Once you have developed affirmations, you can use the history feature to review your affirmations. Try to use your affirmations frequently for best results. READ MORE: page 6



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Dr. Monica Frank



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