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Sport Psych


Crazy-Makers: Dealing with Passive-Aggressive People

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

When You Have Been Betrayed

Struggling to Forgive: An Inability to Grieve

Happy Habits: 50 Suggestions

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

Excellence vs. Perfection

Depression is Not Sadness

Conflict in the Workplace

Motivation: Intrinsic vs. Extrinsic

20 Steps to Better Self-Esteem

7 Rules and 8 Methods for Responding to Passive-aggressive People

Promoting Healthy Behavior Change

10 Common Errors in CBT

What to Do When Your Jealousy Threatens to Destroy Your Marriage

Rejection Sensitivity, Irrational Jealousy and Impact on Relationships

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

Thinking Your Way to a Healthy Weight

Guide to How to Set Achieveable Goals

The Effectiveness of Cognitive-Behavioral Treatment for Anxiety Disorders

Co-Dependency: An Issue of Control

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

Catastrophe? Or Inconvenience?


Panic Assistance

Motivational Audios

Mindfulness Training

Rational Thinking

Relaxation for Children

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

Loving Kindness Meditation

Self-Esteem Exercise

Meadow Relaxation

Rainy Autumn Morning

Energizing Audios

Quick Stress Relief

Thinking Your Way to a Healthy Weight

Lies You Were Told

Choosing Happiness

Lotus Flower Relaxation

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

Kindle Books by Dr. Monica Frank


Why You Get Anxious When You Don't Want To

Why People Feel Grief at the Loss of an Abusive Spouse or Parent

“Are You Depressed?”: Understanding Diagnosis and Treatment

15 Coping Statements for Panic and Anxiety

Beyond Tolerating Emotions: Becoming Comfortable with Discomfort

Emotion Training: What is it and How Does it Work?

How You Can Be More Resistant to Workplace Bullying

Are You Passive Aggressive and Want to Change?

When Your Loved One Refuses Help

The Porcupine Effect: Pushing Others Away When You Want to Connect

What if You Considered Other Peoples' Views?

5 Common Microaggressions Against Those With Mental Illness

What to Expect from Mindfulness-based Cognitive-Behavioral Therapy (MCBT) When You Have Depression and Anxiety

Does Cognitive-Behavioral Therapy Lack Compassion? It Depends Upon the Therapist

When Needs Come Into Conflict

What to Do 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?


Building Blocks Emotion Training

Hot Springs Relaxation

5 Methods to Managing Anger

Panic Assistance While Driving

Autogenic Relaxation Training

Rainbow Sandbox Mindfulness

Mindfulness Training

Riding a Horse Across the Plains

Cityscape Mindfulness

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

All Audio Articles

Cognitive Diary Example


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The following is an example to help learn how to identify and change irrational thinking. It is best to read the articles defining the irrational styles of thinking prior to trying to identifying the styles in the example. It uses the format of the COGNITIVE DIARY CBT SELF-HELP app. Read: Understanding and Using the Cognitive Diary.

Fear of Having a Panic Attack While Flying

EVENT: I want to attend my friend's wedding but I will have to fly. I'm afraid of flying because I have been having panic attacks and I'm afraid of having one while flying. I know flying is safe and I'm not afraid of that. I'm afraid of feeling trapped, panicking, and not having any help.

EMOTIONS: apprehension, embarrassment, terrified

DISTRESS RATING: 9—feeling desperate

THOUGHTS: “What if I have a panic attack while flying? I can't leave and I will feel trapped which will make my anxiety worse. I will feel out-of-control. What will people think of me?”

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 apprehension, embarrassment, and terror?

The Cognitive Diary CBT Self-Help app helps you to determine some ways to challenge the irrational thinking. Once you have done that, it is important to read the rational challenges frequently until they automatically come to mind rather than the irrational thinking.


Irrational Beliefs:
1) Catastrophizing. When a person has "what ifs" they are predicting a future outcome that may or may not happen. However, the "what if" itself may actually increase the likelihood of anxiety which in this case could cause a panic attack. This type of "what if" can create a self-fulfilling prophecy in which the catastrophic event (a panic attack) is caused by the worry itself. The belief increases anxiety which increases the likelihood of panic, thus fulfilling the prediction.

However, the opposite can also be true. The more that a person believes he or she can handle having a panic, the less likely it will occur. With catastrophic thoughts of this type it is important to recognize that your thoughts can impact whether you have a panic or not.

Catastropic thoughts are not about something that is happening right now. They are assumptions about the future: predicting a future possibility. The mindful focus on the present can reduce the anxiety about future events. By focusing on what can be done in the present, the anxiety can be reduced.

2) Mind-Reading Others. The belief that other people will think a certain way is an assumption. In this case, the assumption is that other people will have critical thoughts. There are two ways to combat this thinking. One is to recognize that the assumption may not be accurate and the second is to challenge the idea that it matters.

In this situation, for instance, most people know people who have a fear of flying. So, if others have any thoughts about a person having a panic attack while flying, they are most likely to attribute it to a fear of flying. Some people, then, are likely to act by trying to comfort and reassure whereas others may not even notice because they are focused on something else.

Of course, some people may have critical thoughts. But if they do, what does it matter? Usually, if people are critical, it is only a demonstration of their own lack of empathy and concern for others. Why be concerned about what such people think?

3) Emotional Reasoning. Based upon the thought "What will people think of me?" this person is making an assumption that feeling out-of-control means losing control. Those are two very different things. Emotional reasoning is the belief that what you feel is true. In this situation, it is the belief "If I FEEL out-of-control, I will BE out-of-control." However, that is not always the case. In fact, for the majority of people with anxiety, and even panic, their anxiety is not evident to other people. What this means is that they can't possibly be out-of-control if other people do not notice anything unusual.

The other issue in this situation is that even if a person is out-of-control, what is likely to happen? Most likely the flight attendant will recognize the person is anxious and do something to help.

How Can This Thinking Be Changed?
"Maybe I'll have a panic attack. Maybe I won't. However, what I do know is that the more I worry about having a panic, the more likely it will occur. Instead, I'll focus on using my anxiety management skills. I can focus on practicing and preparing myself before I fly. Also, I know most people are unlikely to be critical of me just for being anxious while flying. That is not such a terrible thing in the whole scheme of things. If I do get anxious, I know I can handle it. I have before. Just because I feel out-of-control, doesn't mean I am out-of-control. The worst case is that I will be uncomfortable for a while."

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