Discover the “Irrational” Beliefs That Are Creating Your Anger
by Philip Tate, Ph.D.
People often think that the actions of other people create their anger. “They make me so angry!” is a common statement. If that were the case, there would be little you could do about your anger (except to stay away from most people!) Fortunately, others don’t create your anger. In REBT (Rational Emotive Behavior Therapy) we teach that your own thinking corresponds with your anger, more than the actions of others.
To discover your thinking that is creating your anger, REBT suggests that you look for the event about which you are angry and then look for your belief about that event. Think, “What happened that I’m angry about?” E.g., someone cut you off in traffic, someone failed to follow through on an agreement, or someone treated you with disrespect. Next, ask yourself, “What am I telling myself about (name the event) that gets me to feel angry?”
When asked what they are telling themselves about the event, many people will answer, “Why’d they do that?” with an intense and frustrated tone of voice. That response, however, is a question, and questions do not create anger. You’re probably telling yourself “I don’t like their behavior. They’re mistaken for acting that way.” But, that too doesn’t get you bent out of shape with anger. That just gets you annoyed or disappointed.
So, What’s Really Getting You Upset? Continue reading
March 16, 2013, 3pm ET
A discussion with Dr. Tom Horvath, President of SMART Recovery
Embracing reality broadens and enriches our perspective and thus our options in life, freeing us to see clearly and make sound choices. And yet we continue to reject reality: “This is intolerable!” “I can’t stand this!” “It’s just not fair!” “They shouldn’t do this to me!”
What is “unconditional acceptance” of self, others, and life? How can I “accept” unpleasant people and situations that I strongly dislike? Why should I, and is that even possible? What is the role of “unconditional acceptance” in addiction recovery?
Unconditional Acceptance of Self (USA), others, and life, is a core principle taught by SMART Recovery and is based on Dr. Albert Ellis’s Rational Emotive Behavior Therapy (REBT). Continue reading
Can You Still Be Happy?
by Mary Russell, M.S.
Bad things happen – there’s no way around it. Jobs are lost, relationships end, hearts are broken, people fall ill. Traditionally, REBT would encourage us to examine how we’re thinking about these situations. When we label things [in not so many words] as catastrophic we inevitably experience intensely debilitating emotions. Anger, depression, guilt, or anxiety can render us helpless when we tell ourselves that something is so awful we can’t possibly go on. If we can catch ourselves “catastrophizing” it can be helpful to examine the situation and decide if it is truly awful or if it’s more accurately unfortunate, sad, irritating, but merely part of life which is not always fair. While it certainly wouldn’t be realistic nor accurate to label our hardships as “no big deal,” a more accurate description of an adversity would certainly empower us to problem solve and cope in spite of difficult challenges.
But what about events that truly are (at the risk of committing REBT blasphemy)… HORRIBLE? To name a few, wars are fought, people die, natural disasters happen, and innocent people are abused. Sometimes it’s simply not appropriate or helpful to tell someone else or yourself that things “could be worse,” even if this is technically true.
It can be helpful to acknowledge the simple truth that “horrible” things happen and are unfortunately part of life. Continue reading