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Six Steps to Feel Better by Thinking Straighter

In theory, how you perceive something largely determines how you will feel about it. If you have had prolonged period of bad mood, it is by and large a result of how you think. Therefore, the way to make yourself feel more reasonably is to rationalize your own thinking.

What you can do when you encounter a problem
Step 1 :

Deal with your feelings

Try to accept your feelings and explore the sources of stress and your unhappiness. It helps you feel better.

More: Many people (especially males) have a habit of denying or underestimating their bad feelings. Talking over the sadness with them is rarely useful as they would only deny their feelings, resulting in even more distress. Instead, why don’t they try to accept their feelings? Try to accept your feelings, understand the sources of stress and your unhappiness. It helps you feel better.
Step 2 :

Accept that you can cope with bad feelings

To “cope” means to manage; you are going to get over with it! Bad feelings do not last forever!

Many people beginning stress management may complain, ‘I can’t cope with it? The problem is that the expectations are being set too high and unrealistic ?when you are really feeling sad, it would seem possible to hide the feelings from others, yet it would be impossible to hide from yourself! To “cope” means to manage; you are going to get over with it! Bad feelings do not last forever!

Let’s accept all these bad feelings:

Step 3 :

Reward your successes

You may break down life changes into smaller steps, and take them one at a time. You will have a better chance of succeeding at each step……

More: It is self-esteem that holds you in high esteem so that you do not need to rely on the approval of others. Success, on the other hand, makes you feel good and encourages you to keep going. You may break down life changes into smaller steps, and take them one at a time. Then you will have a good chance of succeeding at each step. Reward yourself as you succeed every little step, then you might see how important reinforcement is.
What you can do after the problem
Step 4 :

Try to identify your self-talk

Identify your self-talks and you can observe your reactions when you encounter a similar situation again.

More: When the problems are solved, try to remember what your initial self-talk was. Look for imaginations and fantasies, in particular. Sometimes people who claim to have a lot of self-talks are in fact repeating only two or three thoughts over and over again. Sometimes you do not seem to have any ideas but that could mean that these ideas have built into your decision-making processes. Identify your self-talks and you can observe your reactions when you encounter a similar situation again.
Step 5 :

Analysis your self-talk

See if these common mistakes in thinking have appeared in your self-talks.

More: See if these common mistakes in thinking have appeared in your self-talks:

  1. Over Generalizing You are telling yourself that, if something was true in one case, it will apply to any other cases that are similar. In reality, life is rarely that simple.
  2. Black and White Thinking See things as being only one extreme or the other. In the real world, there are in fact grey areas.
  3. Irrational Belief with No Evidence For example, saying no one likes you when you could not possibly have asked literally everybody.
  4. Distorting Perception to the Extremes Focusing on what you have done wrong and enlarging the failures or the problems out of their proportion. Looking at the world through rose-coloured glasses can be misleading too. Stop distorting the world in either direction.
  5. Imaging the Worst Assuming the worst possible outcome for any event; usually exaggerated to the extent that it’s really improbable.
  6. Taking things personally If you really managed the whole universe, please tell us how. If you think everyone notices every little mistake that you have made, please be noted that most people are too busy worrying about their own problems.
Step 6 :

Teach yourself to think rationally

Turn irrational beliefs into rational ideas.


Irrational Beliefs
Rational Ideas
1. I must be loved or liked and approved by every person who came across my life. I want to be loved or liked and approved. I will be disappointed or feel lonely when that doesn’t happen, but I can cope with those feelings, and I can take constructive steps to improve interpersonal relationships.
2. I must always be completely competent, make no mistakes, and be a high achiever, if I were to be considered worthwhile. I want to do things well. Like everyone else, I will occasionally fail or make mistakes. I will feel bad, but I can cope with this feeling. I can take constructive steps to do better next time.
3. Bad or evil people should be punished. It is sad that some people do bad things from time to time, but upsetting myself is not going to alter this fact.
4. It is nearly the end of the world when things do not happen the way I want them to be. It is disappointing when things are not going my way, but I can cope with this disappointment. I will try my best to make things more as I would like them to happen; however, I will not disappoint myself when they don’t.
5. My bad feelings are caused by things outside my control, so I cannot do anything about it. My problems may be influenced by factors outside my control, but my perceptions and reactions to the problems would be within my control.
6. Things that are dangerous, unpleasant, or frightening would worry me a lot. Worrying about something that might go wrong does not stop it from happening; it merely upsets me. I don’t have to over-worry about things that have not yet happened. I will not dwell on the future or the past.
7. It is easier to put off something difficult or unpleasant than it is to face up to it. Facing difficult situations will make me feel bad at a time, but I can handle it. Putting off problems does not help to solve the problems; on the other hand, it prolongs my worries about them.
8. I need to depend on someone who is stronger than I am. It’s good to get support from others when I need it, but I should also depend on and believe in myself.
9. My present problems were rooted from the past. Some of my problems might have triggered by some past events, yet my perceptions and reactions to these problems are something under my control.
10. I should feel upset when people share with me their problems and difficulties. It is sad to see other people in trouble, but I am not going to help them by upsetting myself. I can cope with the sad feelings and actively help them.
Your vulnerability to stress – The Miller-Smith Lifestyle Assessment Inventory

Read each item carefully, and then give it a rating from 1 to 5, depending on how often that item applies to you. There are no right or wrong answers. The more accurately you answer, the better you will identify ways to combat stress.

1. I eat at least one hot, balanced meal a day.

2. I get seven to eight hours sleep at least four nights a week.

3. I give and receive affection regularly.

4. I have at least one relative whom I can rely on lives around.

5. I exercise to the point of perspiration at least twice a week.

6. I smoke less than half a pack of cigarettes a day.

7. I take fewer than five alcoholic drinks a week.

8. I am the appropriate weight for my height.

9. I have an income adequate to meet basic expenses.

10. I get strength from my religious beliefs, or I feel comfortable with my view of the universe and my place in it.

11. I regularly attend club or social activities.

12. I have a network of friends/acquaintances.

13. I have one or more friends to confide in about personal matters.

14. I am in good health (including eyesight, hearing, and teeth).

15. I am able to speak openly about my feelings when angry or worried.

16. I have regular conversations with the people I live with about domestic problems, e.g. Chores, money and daily living issues.

17. I do something for fun at least once a week.

18. I am able to organize my time effectively.

19. I drink fewer than three cups of coffee (or tea or cola drinks) a day.

20. I take quiet time for myself during the day.

1=Almost always 2=Often 3=Sometimes 4=Occasionally 5=Almost never

The items above indicate how you deal with everyday stress. Note where you scored 3 or above. Please reread the items above, and you may find some ways to increase your vulnerability to stress.


Montgomery, B. & Evans, L. (1993). (2nd ed.). You and stress. Melbourne: Viking O’Neil.

Beck, J. (1995). Cognitive therapy: Basics and beyond. New York: Guildford.