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.

I Can't STAND It!

Event: Suffering from...(pain, anxiety, depression, trauma, loss)

Emotions: tormented, miserable, helpless

Distress Rating: 9--Feeling desperate

Thoughts: "I can't stand this! I'll never be able to survive this. It is so unfair. Other people don't suffer as much as I do. Bad things always happen to me--I guess I'm just unlucky.”

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 torment, misery, and helplessness?

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. When painful or traumatic events, suffering, or loss occurs, the natural human tendency is to catastrophize. Because emotions are stored in our brains as groupings of similar emotional experiences, when we are suffering in some way our memories tend to be more negative in focus. As a result, predicting the worst possible scenarios is a normal reaction. We believe that the suffering won't stop. And that there is no way to handle it. This is especially true with chronic types of problems like ongoing illness or pain.

Nevertheless, a normal reaction doesn't mean it is a beneficial reaction. Nor does it mean that it is a rational reaction. However, in many situations it could be temporary and a way of releasing emotions. If that is the case, it may not be necessary to challenge the thinking. But if the thinking is long-term it can have a number of negative consequences including making the situation worse. For instance, with chronic pain, anxiety, or depression, catastrophizing about the symptoms can intensify the symptoms. Also, the focus is on how bad it is rather than what can be done about it so possible positive steps may not be taken.

Therefore, challenging the catastrophic thinking can be an important step to change. For instance, even recognizing that the emotions or pain fluctuates can help a person see that it could be possible to cope. When people focus on how bad they feel, they don't notice there may be times when they don't feel as bad. Cognitive therapy tries to help people look at these times and to use them as building blocks. If someone examines what is different when they don't feel as bad they might see a pattern. Perhaps they were socializing with someone. Or, perhaps they took their medicine as prescribed and didn't try to "tough it out." Or, perhaps they were engaged mindfully in an activity. Whatever the reason might be, when a person begins to focus on when they don't feel as bad they have the opportunity to find some possible methods to help.

2) Personalizing. This person is comparing his or her situation to other people and believing that other people don't suffer as much or in the same way. Personalizing suffering often leads to some conclusion about the self. In this case, "I'm unlucky." Other times people may feel they are being punished by God or they may believe they are weaker than others. Whatever the belief, the personal comparison is the problem. If the person didn't personalize, they may be less likely to come to those conclusions.

Again, it is normal to try and find an explanation for things, so it is common to make these types of comparisons. However, it doesn't mean they are accurate. Recognizing that human suffering occurs and that even if it is not apparent in others, they still have events, illness, and loss in their lives as well can help reduce personalizing. By recognizing that everyone suffers you can see that it is not just about you.

Also, it is not fair to compare your insides to other people's outsides. In other words, you can see every aspect of your suffering and how difficult it may be to cope with it. But you don't see the struggle other people have--you only see the outcome. So if someone is suffering and you see them laughing and socializing, it may be easy to come to the conclusion that they are coping so much better and must be stronger than you. However, you may not see the depths of their despair when they are alone. Just as they may not see yours.

3) External Control Fallacy. The idea of being "unlucky" means that there is nothing that can be done about it. Luck is not something that can be controlled so it leads to feelings of helplessness. However, by recognizing that something is not personal, and therefore not a matter of personal luck, a person can begin to examine what can be done.

How Can This Thinking Be Changed?
"Even though this suffering may be bad it is not at the same level all the time. Let me keep track of how it varies and try to figure out the difference. I might find there is something I can do that can help. Other people suffer, too. Rather than comparing myself negatively, I can find out what helps them cope."

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!