We in REBT do not think that changes in our attitudes happen magically. Besides challenging our irrationalities as clearly explained in the New Guide To Rational Living, there are many other tools in our armamentium. Some of them are given below.
This is adapted from my "Handling Special Problems - Stuttering". This exercise is meant to be as a twice daily "prayer" using the the acronyms given below as reminder of the irrationalities that our culture and genes support. As you run through these acronyms try to express thoughts behind them, in your own words interpret what they mean, and expand on them.
First acronym: I SAW IT IS A CURSE! consists of two parts 1) I SAW tells us what to do and 2) IT IS A CURSE tells us what irrational or self-defeating beliefs we better challenge.
I - inspire yourself to work on your attitude by remembering: a) many people have become more involved in life, happier, and more productive by using REBT principles, and b) many people have used other common sense, non-perfectionistic, non-damning, non-whining philosophies to enjoy life more.
S - set rational and reasonable goals: you do not have to reach for the stars right from the beginning. Be happy in your progress.
A - accept that you behaved the way you behaved at this moment, you have what you have now, but by working you can calmy become more relaxed change your behavior gain more of what you want and less of what you do not want.
W - write or record some of your thoughts and progress of your growth and self-therapy.
I - insufficient allocation of priorities, time, energy, and money to learn to live more happily.
T - too hard, too intense trying. When we try too hard you tie yourselves in knots and as we say in the States in athletics - we "choke" .
A - assinine absulistic, perfectionistic standards only lead us to grief.
C - childish catastrophizing. Even though we often say "I can't stand this (whatever you upset yourself about)", I have not yet died of it, nor have any of you!
U - useless urgency. It will take as long as it takes to get to where you want to go! Set priorities, allocate time for relaxation, and "smell the roses".
R - ridiculous rating of self. We are all alive, those who have a tendency to falter and all of us do! We have so many characteristics and deeds and misdeeds that we cannot be globally rated.
S - silly performance shame
E - expected 'elplessness (helplessness!). Just because we have not succeeded in the past does not mean we will not succeed in the future.
So what do we do proactively besides the above:
DEFUSE spelled D PHEWES
D - don't place demands on yourself, others or the world. Demands in self talk are expressed by terms as "I must" , "He should", "The world should be easier"... and usually mean two things if I don't achieve, be loved, or have it easy: firstly, I won't be able to stand it and, secondly,I won't be able to ever enjoy anything. What hogwash! But sometimes it takes a good REBT therapist to disabuse one of this nonsense.
P - prioritize, plan, subdivide in doable things, and then do them (one at a time)
H - humor yourself, others, and the world wryly relentlessly. Read a lot of Calvin and Hobbes comics by Bill Watterson - he is not desperate, not degrading, not mean spirited and full of optimism and hope. (If you know any other good humorist in verse, comics, or stories who fall in the above category, let me know!)
E - exude relaxed calmness using REBT type of techniques and calmly accepting one unpleasant reality every day of your life
W - work on your "bad moods", challenging irrationalities, tasks at hand
E - establish a routine to tackle your problems (I go over this in my head in my car driving to work and driving home).
S - shun the use of the word "should", "must", "have to" when used in the sense of being a demand. REBT is a semantic therapy, and even though it is quite correct to say, from all the signs it should rain tomorrow, it is quite illegitimate to say you should be able to get the highest score on this test. A better way is to be more accurate i.e. if I study harder than anybody else, and know more than they do, I will probably receive a high score on the exam. If nobody is extraordinary lucky nor a genius, I may even get the highest score.
With the advent of Rational Emotive Behavior Therapy (REBT formerly known
as Rational Emotive Therapy, RET), the missing links were scientifically
established to flesh out both the arguments why both Charles Van Riper and
Wendell Johnson were right. Moreover, REBT provided the major tools to facilitate
the therapy process, as well as guide the person who has a tendency to stutter
to a full and enjoyable life.