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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.

Insomnia: Worrying About Not Sleeping

EVENT: Lying in bed thinking about not being able to sleep

EMOTIONS: worried, distressed, agitated

DISTRESS RATING: 8--High level of distress

THOUGHTS: "I need to sleep. I've got a lot of things to do tomorrow including my presentation and I'm not going to function well if I don't sleep. People will think I'm incompetent. If I don't start getting better sleep I might even lose my job. I am such an unlucky person that this happens right before an important meeting.”

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 worry, distress, and agitation?

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. One of the most common causes of insomnia is worry. In many cases of insomnia people also have the specific worry about not being able to sleep and catastrophize about what might happen if they can't sleep. This person believes that he has to get a good night's sleep or he will function poorly at work which could cause bad things to happen. Then, because he is worrying about not sleeping he becomes more distressed and agitated. Such emotions are arousing and will have the effect of interfering with sleep. As a result, he is in a negative cycle of worry which causes emotions that will only make the situation worse.

The only way he will be able to get good rest is to break this cycle. To do so, he needs to first stop the catastrophizing. He needs to remind himself that it's not likely to be as bad as he fears and that worrying about it only makes it worse. He then needs to focus on creating a more relaxed state. One way to do both is to mindfully focus on his breathing. As he focuses on his breathing and a worry intrudes he can gently refocus back to his breathing. By giving his attention to his breathing rather than the worry, his body is likely to relax and he has a higher chance of falling asleep.

2) Mind-reading Others. Part of his catastrophizing is believing that he knows what others will think. Often, with lack of sleep, the symptoms are felt strongly by the individual but others might not even notice them. People are often able to function well enough when the circumstances call for it. In particular, when he feels the demand of his presentation he will probably feel the same arousing emotions that interfered with his sleep. Only in this case the arousal can help him overcome the sleep deprivation.

In addition, if others do notice anything, they are not likely to change their opinion of him just because he's not up to par. Typically, people will dismiss information that doesn't conform to an already formed opinion. So the likelihood that others will think he is incompetent is not very high.

3) External Control Fallacy. When he says that he is unlucky, he is saying the situation is not under his control and he can't do anything about it. However, there are some things he can do and recognizing his ability to change the situation allows him to take actions that could help.

How Can This Thinking Be Changed?
"I've functioned on little sleep before--the adrenaline will kick in when I need it. And I'm a valued employee so my fear of being fired is silly--people know I'm competent. And luck has nothing to do with this because I'm creating the insomnia with my worrying. Instead of worrying I'm going to focus on my breathing and relaxing my body. I can even use a relaxation audio. Whether or not I get enough sleep, I will still benefit from the relaxation."

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