Excel At Life logo
×



Contents

PsychArticles button PsychNotes button PsychApps button PsychAudios button PsychTests button About button
Support Excel At Life's Mission!
Follow
Help Translate
Spread the Word
Make Contribution
Become a fan on Facebook! Follow on twitter for site updates! Follow on Google+ for site updates!
Excel At Life--Dedicated to the Pursuit of Excellence in Life, Relationships, Sports and Career





CBT

Jealousy

Depression

Relationships

Conflict

Self-efficacy

Happiness

Goal-setting

Motivation

Wellness

Sport Psych



POPULAR ARTICLES

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?

POPULAR AUDIOS

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





RECENT ARTICLES

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?



NEW AUDIOS

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

Index

Previous        Next

print

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.

Happiness Dependent Upon Wife

EVENT: My wife won't get help for her problems

EMOTIONS: sad, helpless, hopeless

DISTRESS RATING: 9--Feeling desperate

THOUGHTS: “My wife is always angry and never happy. She is always criticizing and blaming me and others. I always try to do what she wants to make her happy. No matter what I do I can't make her happy. I've suggested therapy. She won't get help even though she agrees she is angry and unhappy. I'll never be happy. I need to find a solution.”

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 sadness, helplessness, and hopelessness?

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.

ANSWER:

Irrational Beliefs:
1) Catastrophizing. Catastrophic thinking is assuming the worst case scenario and letting those beliefs control your emotions. This man believes that as long as his wife doesn't change he will never be happy. "Never" is a long time--a lot of things can change in that time. Unfortunately, in this case, if he continues to believe this, he may create a self-fulfilling prophecy which is to cause what you predict by acting in certain ways that are likely to bring it about. As long as he believes his happiness is dependent upon his wife, he won't look for other solutions. He will continue to try to change her. As a result, he will continue to be unhappy.

2) Blaming. In a way, he is doing the same thing as his wife and blaming someone else for his unhappiness. Happiness is not based upon having a perfect life but is an internal state and approach to life. No matter what decision his wife makes, he always has the choice to focus on making himself happy. However, instead, he is choosing, similar to her, to blame his unhappiness on someone else or life circumstances. Who knows, perhaps if he focuses on taking responsibility for his own happiness, he might model that approach for her. At the very least, it removes the focus from her and takes away her control over him.

3) Internal Locus of Control. This man is a problem-solver. Which is a fine enough approach to life as long as he is confronted with a problem that can be solved. However, for a person to solve a problem, they must have control over the situation. Without control, no amount of problem-solving can change the situation. In this case, his wife is the one with the control and she chooses to remain angry and unhappy rather than to seek solutions.

An internal locus of control is when a person believes that outcomes are based upon effort. This focus works well in many circumstances. However, it becomes a problem when a person continues to put effort into a situation that has shown to be out of their control. At this point, however, a controllable problem does present: his problem. He needs to stop hitting his head against the proverbial brick wall expecting it to come tumbling down. Instead, he needs to focus on himself and the solution to his own happiness. His happiness is based within him and not dependent upon his wife's choices.

Some people might think at this point the solution is for him to find his happiness by leaving her. The problem with that solution is that he is still dependent upon external circumstances to be happy. People do this all the time: "I'll be happy when I leave." "I'll be happy when I lose weight." "I'll be happy when I get a better job." It's not that there is anything wrong with these choices but the problem is believing that happiness will follow because the outside circumstances have changed. I usually recommend that people find the solution to their own happiness first and then make life choices. In this way, the decisions they make are more likely to be successful ones. For instance, if this man leaves to find happiness with someone else, he is likely to find a similar situation because he is continuing to put control of his happiness in another's hands. If he first finds his happiness, then he may or may not leave, but if he does leave he is not likely to allow his happiness to be controlled by someone else.

How Can This Thinking Be Changed?
"I need to stop blaming my wife for my unhappiness. I can feel sad for her, but my happiness is not dependent upon her. Instead, I will focus on what I need to do to bring more opportunities for happiness into my life."

Previous        Next



print

Questions and Comments

All comments and questions require approval so you may not see your submission immediately.

Share a Situation to be Used For Future Examples.
Please provide it in the format used above: describe event, feelings, and how you were thinking in the situation. Any comments or information you share may be used for future articles or examples.  However, identifying information will not be used:


Message.  Provide an example of a situtation you have had so suggestions can be provided on this site regarding how to identify irrational thinking and challenge it. It is important to provide details regarding the thoughts you had about the situation.
NO PERSONAL REPLIES WILL BE PROVIDED.

Enter email address (optional) to contact you if we need further info.
Your email address will not be shared or used in any way other than how you specify:



Become a fan on Facebook! Follow on twitter for site updates! Follow on Google+ for site updates!