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Events in my past are the cause of my problems – and they continue to influence my feelings and behaviours now. ‘People feel disturbed not by things, but by the views they take of them.’ Ancient words, from a first-century philosopher named Epictetus — but they are just as true now. Events and circumstances don’t

Everyone needs to depend on someone stronger than themselves. Being able to ask for help is often a good thing. Another person, be it a neighbour, friend, partner or professional helper, who is not involved emotionally with a problem, or who has information or expertise you lack, can be very useful. But it is possible

I can be happier by avoiding life’s difficulties, unpleasantness, and responsibilities. Do you think that you can be happier just drifting through life with only superficial commitments; or that you could not stand losing anything important to you, so you must avoid becoming committed to anything? Your avoidance is probably based on discomfort-intolerance. You see

How does one actually set about achieving self-control and choice? The best place to start is by learning how to identify the thoughts and beliefs which cause your problems. Next, learn how to apply this knowledge by analysing specific episodes where you feel and behave in the ways you would like to change. It is

It is awful and intolerable to be frustrated from having things the way I want. If I tell myself that frustration is awful, I’ll only set myself up to get anxious when I think it’s coming – and bitter and twisted when it does happen. I can’t stand it when people don’t act as they

Things must be the way I want them to be – otherwise life will be intolerable. We all want life to be organised according to our preferences. This surely makes sense! What then is the problem? Unfortunately, we often go beyond just wanting – we believe that things must be our way. This reflects a

In real life, things often are different to how we would like them to be. By turning our wants into demands, we set ourselves up to be frustrated by reality. In fact, demanding is the underlying cause of many human problems. Take anxiety. We often catastrophise about what will happen if a need is not

Do you ever tell yourself that you can’t stand, tolerate or endure something? You can make it harder to cope with unpleasant situations when you have thoughts like: I can’t stand it any longer. I can’t bear … . It’s intolerable … . I’d never be able to live with myself if … . What

You do not need the pain that demanding creates. There is a solution. The first step is to understand what are needs and what are not. While there are many things we might want, there are, in reality, few things that are absolute necessities. We need air, food, clothing and shelter. We do not ‘need’

The technique of Rational self-analysis is described in detail, along with some practice exercises, in the book Choose to be Happy. Cognitive techniques There are some additional tools that will help you deal with stress and develop a functional coping philosophy. Most of the techniques in this and the next two sections can be used