|Here's how to get off the merry-go-round!|
We carry around with us a set of deep-seated beliefs about who and where we are and what is going on around us, which keeps us oriented to person, place, time, and events. When something happens, these beliefs generate "automatic thoughts," (or autosuggestions) which interpret what is going on and determine how we feel about it -- angry, anxious, afraid, or depressed, or some other emotion -- and they also determine how we react to it.. Automatic thoughts are not unconscious, but they usually occur so rapidly that we aren't aware of them unless we are trained to look for them. When we can identify exactly what these autosuggestions are, we can examine them and decide whether or not to replace them with others which constitute a more accurate assessment of reality, and therefore create long-lasting, adaptive changes in thinking, feeling, and emotion.
The following lists may be viewed as a kind of "psychological first aid" for getting to the root of the false beliefs and false perceptions that we all have from time to time, and for taking positive action to keep them from coming back.
Albert Ellis has put together a list of ten commonly-held beliefs about ourselves, the world, and the future, which prevent us from experiencing life to the fullest because they set us up ahead of time for failure and disappointment. They are all false, but many of us are inclined to at least occasionally believe them, at least occasionally.
The Greek philosopher Epictitus said, "Men are disturbed not by events, but by the views which they take of them."Here is a list of inaccurate ways of looking at things, which might be clouding your view of the world. You can get rid of these irrational ideas by learning how to recognize and eliminate them.
It first asks you about the causes of something you would like to change in your life, and then asks about the emotional consequences which were the result, your beliefs about what happened (which operate as autosuggestions), what beliefs could be substituted for the ones which brought about the unpleasant results, and how those changed beliefs make you feel. You can write on the form itself, clearing and changing it as often as you like. Then, when you are finished, you can either print it out or save it as a text file, using a different form for each problem you would like to work on. To re-examine it or re-do each form that you have completed, just call up that particular file and continue to modify it as you progress. It could prove to be extremely helpful if you are willing to give it a try!
There are several other helpful aids to life management in their tools and homework and articles and essays sections.
When the early successes of cognitive-behavioral psychology became apparent, the British National Health Service decided to create a Web site which would make this information available free of charge to all at www.getselfhelp.co.uk. I don't believe that it is a Government Web ite any more, but it is still a treasure trove of cognitive-behavioral information, as indicated below. Cognitive-behavioral therapists frequently use a more specialized version of the ABC Worksheet, mentioned above, called a thought record in order to examine just what goes on in the mind when we make those habitual decisions that keep getting us into trouble . . . Here is what one looks like, and here is what it looks like all filled out, (A slightly longer, seven-column version of the same form is also available.) You can make as many copies as you want for your own use by using the print command on your computer. They also have other free versions of the thought record form, adapted for special purposes. Since the links to many of the more specialized forms are always changing, I have not specifically listed them. But if you find the cognitive-behavioral approach useful, there is a veritable treasure trove of applications to be found at this site. I would encourage you to browse around in their site. You will not be disappointed.