"Anger is never without a reason, but seldom a good one" – Benjamin Franklin

Once upon a time, a manager of a small company was driving home after a stressful day at work when suddenly, out of nowhere, a reckless driver overtook him at a tight corner bumping the side of his car.

The manager, angry, yelled at him "watch it, crazy man!", but when the reckless driver zoomed off without even uttering a word of apology, he thought to himself, "I can't let him get away with that".

So he gripped his steering wheel tightly and pushed down on the pedals; his body mobilized to fight, his heart pounding and beads of sweat on his forehead, as the muscles on his face scowl, he chased after the restless driver. "I can't let him get away with this”, he repeated to himself.

However, in the course of chasing the reckless driver, he started driving recklessly himself and other drivers started honking at him. This fueled his anger further as he honked back, yelled at them, and pressed the pedal even harder.

The car engine roared, as it kept accelerating, and accelerating; while the self-righteous monologue in the manager's head kept reinforcing the anger that he felt, now putting everyone else around him in danger.   

That is a typical illustration of how anger builds.

 

What is Anger?

According to Psychology Today,

"Anger is related to the “fight, flight, or freeze” response of the sympathetic nervous system; it prepares humans to fight. But fighting doesn't necessarily mean throwing punches. It might motivate communities to combat injustice by changing laws or enforcing new norms."

Anger is an emotion, and like every other emotion comes with an impulse to act.

It is worthy to note that the feeling of anger as an emotion is normal, healthy, and neither good nor bad. And like every other emotion, anger conveys a message, informing you that a situation is upsetting, unjust, or threatening. 

But, while it's normal to feel or get angry when you think that you have been treated unfairly and incorrectly, it becomes a problem when you express yourself in a way that is dangerous to yourself and those around you.

Some things that can trigger or lead to anger include: 

Just to mention a few.

Surely, not every time someone is angry will lead to the destruction of lives and property, yet every anger expressed in an unhealthy manner causes some issues.

 

Consequences of Anger or How Anger Affects You

Anger, if not properly expressed or managed can lead to serious problems both in physical health and mental health. It also comes with social consequences. We’d briefly examine these categorically. 

 

2 Myths About Anger Management

Before we look at how best we can manage anger, let first of all crush some myths about how to control anger. 

1. Venting Your Anger Is Good

Psychologist Diana Tice found that venting anger is one of the worst ways to cool down: outbursts of rage typically pump up the emotional brain's arousal, leaving the people feeling angrier, not less.

2. You Can't Control Your Anger

It's true that you may not be able to control what makes you angry or how you feel about it, but you certainly can control how you express that anger. You can communicate what you feel without being abusive (verbal or physical wise). 

Now that we’ve moved that out of the way, below are some practical ways you can overcome anger problems

 

5 Ways To Overcome Anger

1. Being self-aware

Being aware of your mood and emotions is a great way to slow anger at its birthing stage. The ability to identify the anger that you are feeling is the first step to gaining some control over the emotion.   

2. Watch the reaction of others

Due to the self-righteous monologue that goes on and on within us when we are angry, we may fail to respond rationally. However, watching other people's reactions helps us realize when we are overreacting.

3. Consider the point of view of others

Let's assume the manager could think for a moment that, the reckless driver in our story, was late for an emergency meeting, or was rushing his 8 year old kid to the hospital, he would be more supportive than enraged.

So when we try to see things from the perspective of other people, we tend to soothe the rage burning within. Maybe they have other issues, they are in a rush, or maybe they are just going through something and not worth our anger. 

4. Truncate the monologue

Anger rides on anger, the more you dwell on it, the more anger it triggers. Remember that the self-righteous inner monologue fills the mind with the most convincing argument for anger, and so the anger grows even further.

Stop the monologue. kill the inner monologue going on with you. Try to cool down by listening to your favorite music or working out, or do some yoga to relax your muscles.

5. Exit the scene of trigger

It is advisable to cool off by waiting out the adrenal surge in a setting where there are not likely to be further triggers of rage. Walk away from the trigger (what made you angry) and look out for distractions. Go for long walks and engage in relaxation exercises and activities.    

Do You Lose Your Temper? 7 Tips to Tame Your Anger

 

Know When to Seek Professional Help

When anger becomes chronic, please visit a therapist. 

A Tibetan teacher, Chogyam Trungpa, was asked how best to handle anger, he replied,

"Don't suppress it. But don't act on it". 

The truth is that there is no way around never feeling anger, so we need not to feel bad (ashamed or guilty about it); however, we must learn to control it. If we can learn to identify and control it – rather than deny, or let it spin out of control – then we would be free from its dangers, whilst benefiting from the message it sends us.                 

Photo by Ketut Subiyanto from Pexels  

Keeping a journal can help you organize events and thoughts in your mind. It can help provide more clarity, help you understand yourself more, and untangle any past trauma (even trauma that you might not realize or know is there).

Anne Frank once wrote in her journal, “I can shake off everything as I write, my sorrows disappear, my courage is reborn.” In a way, journaling is a way to cleanse the mind and experience a form of rebirth. 

However, starting a journaling habit (or any habit) can prove difficult all in itself. What should you write about? How can you dig deeper? While most people who journal will tell you if you can’t think of anything, just write and that something will come eventually, we’ve decided to help you out by taking everything a step further. 

Here are 40 journal prompts to help you kickstart your personal journey and feel free from emotions that weigh you down.

 

5 Morning Journal Prompts

The morning provides a fresh start, allowing you to set the tone for the rest of your day. So, let’s start it off right with these morning journal prompts:

 

5 Mindfulness Journal Prompts

Maybe you want to become more present in the moment. These 5 mindfulness journal prompts might help get you there.

Related Article: 5 Thoughtful Shadow Work Journal Prompts to Heal Your Wounded Inner Child

 

5 Daily Journal Prompts

Want a few prompts you can do on the regular? These daily journal prompts can help you gauge where you’re at today and potentially help you plan out the rest of your day.

 

5 Journaling Prompts for Beginners

New to journaling? Don’t sweat it! Here are a few journaling prompts for beginners to get you started:

 

10 Self-Reflection Journal Prompts

Journaling is all about taking time for yourself and self-reflecting. If you’re ready to look inwards a bit more, try these prompts on for size:

Related Article: What is Self Love and How to Practice It

 

10 Journal Prompts for Self-Discovery

It’s time to dig even deeper. If you’re journaling to try to understand where you want your life to go, these journal prompts for self-discovery can help you figure it all out.

 

Other Journaling Ideas

While you’re now equipped with the above prompts, what else should you know about journaling? Here are a few tips:

Grab these daily writing prompts and start journaling! When you do, you’ll learn more than you ever thought you could about yourself. From there, anything is possible.

Read Next: Every Day of the Week Motivations & Inspirations for Your Best Week Yet

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Lao Tzu, an ancient Chinese philosopher, once said,

“Knowing others is intelligence. Knowing yourself is true wisdom. Mastering others is strength. Mastering yourself is a true power.”

Even thousands of years ago, the great minds of the world were diving inwards and trying to truly understand themselves so they could be better and do better. 

In the chaotic world we live in today, reading up on personal development topics has never been more important. With so many distractions, it’s easy to lose your way and lose touch with yourself. In fact, having a consistent self-growth plan can help you reach your full potential — and achieve success in all aspects of life. 

So, what should you be reading? What are some bestsellers to get you started? 

 

10 Books to Help You Develop a Self-Growth Plan

Alright, you’ve decided you’re ready for growth. You want change. You feel you could be happier. And, arguably, getting started is the hardest part. Yet, with this book list, you’ll get off on the right foot and be able to start making actionable changes in your life. So, what titles should be on your wishlist?

1. Atomic Habits by James Clear

Changing your day-to-day habits is seriously tough. And let’s throw away the idea that you won’t mess up (because chances are, you will. We all do!). However, Atomic Habits simplifies the whole habit-change process.

It’s not about drastic lifestyle overhauls or career changes. It’s all about doing that 1% each day to get you closer to your goals. It’s about failing forward, while creating good habits and shedding the bad habits. 

Now, James Clear breaks this down in many different ways. Primarily, he focuses on “hacking” each stage of the habit loop, including cue, craving, response, and reward. He offers up multiple ways to change your habits for the better, helping you finally create good habits and make ‘em stick.

2. How to Win Friends and Influence People by Dale Carnegie

For all my fellow naturally socially awkward friends, this is a must-read. In How to Win Friends and Influence People, Dale Carnegie’s advice has stood the test of time.

First published in 1936, the major takeaway of this book is kindness, and knowing that kindness actually works! Everyone wants to feel appreciated and important.

If you want to avoid conflict and overcome personal or business hurdles, the pages in this book are filled with actionable bits of advice that apply in various situations.

It’s basically the handbook on how to treat people, creating win-to-win scenarios again and again. There are also loads of examples, which can help make these ideas that much more concrete and applicable.

3. Let That Sh*t Go by Nina Purewal and Kate Petriw

In today’s modern society, stress is rampant.

In fact, it’s likely you’ve been under some degree of stress today, whether that’s worrying about a conversation you had this past weekend or worrying about the incoming tasks of today.

It’s safe to say, we could all worry a little less. And worrying, sometimes, is 100% not useful. On top of this, we all know holding grudges never does us any good. Yet, we all tend to do this from time to time anyway. 

Let That Sh*t Go attempts to flip your perspective and help you see the world through an entirely new lens. You can find that state of calm in your life. It’s entirely possible, especially after you read the advice and wisdom jam-packed in these chapters.

Related Article: How to Let Go of Unpleasant Things in Life

4. The 7 Habits of Highly Effective People by Stephen Covey

If you’re set on changing your habits, grab this book and a copy of Atomic Habits. With these two in hand, you’re almost unstoppable. 

In The 7 Habits of Highly Effective People, Stephen Covey simplifies the path to success. If you find yourself overwhelmed and never actually achieving your goals, this is another must-read. 

As far as self-improvement topics go, this book will flip your perspective and paradigm upside-down. You’ll learn simple principles that make all of life’s tasks easier, and that will make you more productive and successful.

5. Sapiens: A Brief History of Humankind by Yuval Noah Harari

A great way to learn more about why many of us behave the way we behave or have an innate desire for certain things is by looking backward in time. Sapiens outlines what we know about the history of humankind. Understanding our joint history is a broader way to understand your own motives and reasoning.

For example, there’s a reason we all want to belong. Back in the day of tribes and hunters, if you were rejected from the tribe, there was a very low chance that you would survive. This innate need is still present in modern-day humans. 

In Sapiens, there are so many more of these takeaways. But we’ll leave the rest for you to find when you read this incredible book (take your time though! It’s a lot of information, and is best consumed in small doses.).

6. The Happiness Trap by Russ Harris

If you’ve learned about or dabbled in cognitive behavioral therapy (CBT), you might enjoy this read. The Happiness Trap outlines the techniques of ACT (Acceptance and Commitment Therapy).

This book further dives into how the hunt for happiness tends to lead to more unhappiness, and why. It also will help you unravel the true path to happiness using ACT and avoiding more stress and anxiety.

Related Article: How to Gain Back Control with CBT: The Incredible Power of Your Thoughts

7. The 4-Hour Work Week by Tim Ferris

Alright, this one might not be for everyone. But if you’re growing more and more tired of your 9-5 job, you might want to give The 4-hour Work Week a serious read. It’s all about automating and delegating for those business-savvy individuals amongst us.

And hey, even if you aren’t business-savvy per say, this book might offer up ideas to help you optimize other aspects of your life, helping you get stuff done.

8. Daring Greatly by Brene Brown

If you’re ready to get vulnerable, Brene Brown discusses the courage behind it, helping you lead, love, parent, work, and teach better. Vulnerability attaches meaning to events or interactions in our life. It brings more purpose into our lives. It creates more meaningful and deep relationships.

Without vulnerability, you end up standing on the outside. You never immerse yourself in your life. Yet, this book offers ways for you to do just that and take that courageous step forward, living your life in the most meaningful way possible.

9. The Subtle Art of Not Giving a F*ck by Mark Manson

Move over toxic positivity, Mark Manson offers useful and practical tips for making your life better. The Subtle Art of Not Giving a F*ck addresses life head-on. Sometimes, there’s going to be stuff you don’t want to face and it’s going to suck. At the same time, you get to choose where you invest your attention.

The takeaway? Choose wisely. Pick the things that truly matter and make a difference in your life. Mark Manson is ultra thought-provoking, breaking through the commonly accepted barriers that society has created.

10. Who Moved My Cheese? by Spencer Johnson

Love stories and learning? This one is right up your alley. 

This book is based around four characters that live in a maze. These characters are examples of the risks and rewards associated with being adaptable.

If you always find yourself searching and searching for something but unwilling to change to get there, this is the story you will want to pay attention to! With lessons woven into a relatable and easy-to-follow story, Who Moved My Cheese? offers ways to help you deal with change in both work and life.

BONUS: The Life-Changing Magic of Tidying Up by Marie Kondo

We’re not done yet! Personal development topics are almost never-ending (this list could actually go on forever!). But we couldn’t leave it without a special mention here.

The Life-Changing Magic of Tidying Up by Marie Kondo might be just what you need if you’re drowning in clutter or struggling with organization. Marie Kondo provides a simple way to de-clutter and transform your house and home.

 

Start Your Personal Development Journey Today!

There’s no better time than right now. Whether you want to achieve personal goals in your life or you simply want to feel better, you’ll find what you need in the pages and chapters of the books above. 

From learning about letting things slide off your back to allowing yourself to become more vulnerable and make new habits, you are already well on your way toward transforming yourself into the person you need to be for the next chapter in your life. So, it’s time to get reading and start implementing!

Read Next: What Valuable Lessons Can You Learn From Your Life?

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I confess that I am an introvert, as defined by Urban Dictionary:

“A person who is energized by spending time alone. Often found in their homes, libraries, quiet parks that not many people know about, or other secluded places, introverts like to think and be alone.”

That sums me up to a “T”. You will find me mostly at my home and I really love to spend a lot of time by myself. A library trip for me gives me a good boost of dopamine, I’m a bit shy, and I love how quiet nature is.

Of course, not all introverts hibernate, keeping society at a distance. I like to think that there is a scale for introversion. On a scale from 1-10, I probably rank about 9.5.

Not all introverts are shy either. Some are, but quite a few can go up to just about anyone and strike a conversation if they desire. For me, it really depends on the who and why. If I’m interested in someone, I’ll find something to gab about, but I’m not going to just talk for the sake of talking. I’m not afraid of silence.

 

Introverts Meeting New People

If you’re an introvert, you may struggle at times, feeling like you don’t measure up. Our society tends to praise extroverts. I’ve found myself feeling this way over the years, especially when I find it challenging to make new friends.

I also found myself using introversion as a copout for getting out and trying new things.

I wanted to meet new people, but there were also so many new things I wanted to experience in life, like adventures. However, I kept feeling this intense anxiety pop up just thinking about some of them.

So, was I using a label to keep me in my comfortable spot? Was I deceiving myself?

Don’t get me wrong. If you know me, you’ll know that I’m a little shy at first. I can be quiet, reserved, even standoffish. I’d rather listen than do a lot of talking. I can do get-togethers, but I’ll certainly not be the life of the party and I may be the first one to leave. 

I need my time and space away from everyone to recharge my batteries and contemplate the deeper meaning of life.

I’m great with all of that, but at the same time, there is a part of me that wants to tap into some extroverted characteristics and overcome this anxiety that pops up when I want to do something out of my comfort zone.

Do you know an introvert? 8 Things introverts Want You to Know

 

Following Passions Despite Anxiety

A few years back, I set out on a journey to really get out there and follow my passions and experience all sorts of new things whether I felt fear of not.

I’d also set out to be a master communicator in person because I tend to communicate best with writing and that doesn’t always go over well when you’re with people face to face. 

I wonder how many other introverts that are out there struggling with anxiety or fear and maybe using their introversion to keep them in their safety zone. 

It’s like you want to experience new things, get out there and mingle, and pursue your passions. However, the fear keeps you sitting at home night after night.

If so, you’re not alone.

In fact, there are plenty of introverts in the world that struggle with feeling balanced when it comes to socialization. My best advice is to accept that you’re introverted and create a social plan that works uniquely for you.

Today, you can even socialize online quite easily. Everyone is different, so what works for me may not be what you need.

To help you feel less alone, the following are some things that I’ve been through as I’ve been trying to find that delicate balance of staying home alone and mixing it up with friends or family.

Confessions Of An Introvert

I believe we need introverts. We balance out society. We are the deep thinkers. The feelers. Oftentimes extremely empathic, people come to us to vent their feelings and get some comfort.

I think we should all get to know ourselves and our social wiring better. For example, when my brain gets too stimulated, I tend to feel very anxious inside and my first inclination is to bolt. No offense to what’s going on; it’s physiological.

But, who’s to say that introverts can’t re-train the brain to be alright with more stimulation? 

And what about balance? Sure, I love to read a book while lounging on the beach, but I also love to see some live music with a bunch of people and maybe even dance a jig or two. I’ve learned it doesn’t have to be one or the other, but both/and.

I think that’s what we can all aim for, more balance.

 

One Is Not Better Than The Other

If you’re an introvert, I think that’s wonderful. If you’re an extrovert, I think that’s wonderful too. Life is not better if you’re one or the other. Both are equally amazing! We’re all different and we all have different goals and purposes in this life, so keep an open mind for the greater good of humanity.

What are some of your positive or not-so-positive confessions as an introvert? What about as an extrovert? How do you find balance in your social life?

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If you’re like me, you want to continue to build deeper intimacy in all your relationships, be it friends, family, and/or partner. 

By intimacy, I mean a closeness. A depth. A feeling that you totally get each other and have each other’s back no matter what.

I think it’s important to bring up this topic, as many relationships are severed due to certain conversations gone awry due to not knowing what to say or do.

 

How Are You?

We ask each other all the time, “How are you?” Now, many times, this is just a way to get a conversation started and we might not really want to get a serious answer. Ever ask someone how they’re doing just to be nice, get a Life stinks” answer and think, “Oh ok. That’s not what I wanted to hear.”  Not because you don’t care, but sometimes you just don’t know what to say.

I’m here to help you with that.

Now, I’m talking about when we genuinely want to know how our partner, friend, acquaintance, or family member is doing. Maybe you notice they are not their chipper selves, or you are genuinely interested in how they are doing on all levels.

When you ask someone how they’re doing and they say something like, “I’m feeling horrible. I’m really struggling. My anxiety is high and I’m sad.”

What do most people say as a response?

Now, these are viable responses because you’re trying to reassure the person. However, when you say something that minimizes or dismisses the person’s feelings, you’re essentially telling them that you’re not REALLY interested in how they are feeling. This may put distance between you; not bring more closeness or intimacy.

Here’s an example:

Kelly has been feeling down lately. Her boyfriend, who obviously notices she’s not up like she usually is, asks her what’s wrong. She says, “I don’t know. I’m just not feeling myself. Maybe it’s the weather or hormones or something.” His response?

“Well, why don’t you treat yourself to the spa on Sunday? Maybe that will help. Or get a good night sleep. You’ve been up late every night this week”

Although Kelly appreciates the effort, this is not really what she needs to hear from her boyfriend. She feels that by his response, he is sort of ignoring her feelings and trying to “fix her” instead of simply acknowledging her feelings. She may simply want to be heard.

Let’s take it a bit further. Kelly’s mother, who she is not really close to anymore, would tend to respond this way to Kelly’s true feelings:

“Well, why would you feel sad? You have so much to be grateful for! Maybe you need to see a counselor.” 

This made Kelly feel unheard time and time again and put a wedge between her and her mother. Over time, when asked how she was doing, Kelly simply started responding this way to her mom:

“I’m great, Mom! Everything is wonderful!”  (Even though it wasn’t)

 

Guilty As Charged

Haven’t we all done that at times?  I’ve tried fixing my kids time and time again, and still catch myself at times. I’ve also gotten the “How’s life?” and responded:

“Oh, It’s great! Yep, I’m fine! Woohoo for me!” But really, I was struggling.

We’re up in our heads with all sorts of negative thoughts and feelings and we won’t fess up to those closest in our lives. Why?

Perhaps we think that being real, raw, and vulnerable makes us weak. We feel bad. We feel like others will judge us. Or walk away. We feel like feeling sad or mad or anxious or frustrated is a bad thing. Or worse - that we’re bad.

So, we are not truthful with ourselves or with others, which limits our ability to be intimate or close with ourselves and those we care about.

 

How Do You Respond?

Take a few minutes to gauge how you respond to others when they come to you with their true feelings. Do you internally think, “Oh great. I don’t want to deal with this” or “Oh my, I have no idea what to say”?

I can say I have, but over time I’ve learned that cultivating intimacy requires some work. It requires honesty and compassion and vulnerability - even when I’m afraid.

So How Should We Respond?

Want to know a secret to having more intimacy in your life?

When those times come when “feelings” arise, when your partner comes to you and shares how they are truly feeling, simply ACKNOWLDEGE THEIR FEELINGS.

That’s it? Yes. It’s certainly a great start.

So, when your guy or gal comes to you real, vulnerable, and raw, and says,

Resist the urge to “fix it”.

Truly listen, and then take a moment to pause. Then, acknowledge how they feel. 

Remember that may not want you to “fix it or them”. They may just want you to acknowledge that you understand how they are FEELING right now. When you do that, when you take note of their feelings, you invite a greater intimacy into your lives.

It shows that you are really listening to them. You allow them to feel heard, accepted for where they are right now, and loved unconditionally.

Read this next: 7 Secret Habits of Very Content and Satisfied People

 

What To Do Next

Then, mirror back to them what they’ve just said, as this lets them know that you are getting what they are saying. Say,

Then, instead of minimizing, judging, giving advice, or blowing it off, offer your support by validating their emotions.

Let them know that it’s ok for them to feel that way. That you’re there to support them. You don’t have to say you know how they feel, because you might not know exactly how they’re feeling, but you can say things like,

“It’s understandable you feel that way. Dealing with (whatever it is) can be upsetting.”

Be Willing To Take The Mask Off

Today, I can go to certain people when I’m struggling.

I can be vulnerable and share my true thoughts or feelings…most days. I still find myself sometimes resorting to “I’m fine” due to insecurity, but my desire to live an authentic life as a vessel of light and love beckons me to stay real and raw.

A greater vulnerability (taking your masks off) will lead to a greater intimacy, which will lead to a more authentic life full of the real-deal kind of love and joy that we all crave.

So, when someone comes to you with their “stuff”, resist the temptation to dismiss, minimize, or fix them. Acknowledge their feelings.

When you have some issues going on, resist the temptation to just say, “I’m fine” when asked by someone who really cares about you. 

Take your mask off. Give them the opportunity to really be there and grow some intimacy.

After all, we can teach each other the most amazing life and love lessons, can’t we?

Photo by Josue Michel on Unsplash

Our thoughts can make or break us — quite literally.

If you start telling yourself that you are unworthy or not enough, you will start believing it. And this can quickly start a downward spiral, increasing your risk of anxiety, depression, and other mental health disorders.

In contrast, if you believe you can achieve, it’s more likely you will. Surprisingly, your thoughts and beliefs often become reality. Cognitive behavior therapy (CBT) forces you to challenge your negative thoughts to alter your behavior and ultimately, improve your life. So, let’s take a closer look at this topic. Is CBT right for you? What should you know?

 

What is Cognitive Behavioral Therapy?

Cognitive behavioral therapy (CBT) is a type of psychotherapy that helps a person identify unhelpful or negative thought patterns and behaviors and change them. In fact, experts even consider CBT the gold standard of therapy.

It is used to treat a variety of conditions, such as:

Additionally, it can help in other situations, including:

Generally, the main goal of CBT is to alter a person’s thoughts and feelings, which then helps to alter their behavior. For instance, if you fear plane crashes but you have to take a plane, CBT can help you gain better control of these thoughts so that you don’t end up crippled by fear.

CBT shows individuals that they have control over their interpretations of events, despite not having control of the world, environment, or situations around them. This helps you create healthier thinking patterns, improving your mood and life.

Related Article: 3 Easy and Simple Secrets for Relieving Morning Anxiety

 

What Are 5 Cognitive Behavioral Interventions?

Common CBT techniques may include:

1. Recognizing Negative Thoughts

A therapist uses the cognitive-behavioral approach to help you find ways to identify and challenge your negative thought patterns. In many ways, this is a guided self-discovery method, which helps you become more introspective.

2. Cognitive Restructuring

This is one of the main CBT techniques used. It involves examining your cognitive distortion (negative thought) to basically make the whole idea fall apart. This may involve categorizing your thought as black-and-white thinking, overgeneralizing, catastrophizing, and jumping to conclusions. In fact, research shows how this technique can help alter a person’s fear response since it can make the fear less fearful.

3. Goal-Setting

Setting goals helps you move forward with your life toward more positive and productive outcomes. When working with a CBT therapist, they will instruct you how to do this in an effective and efficient way. 

This often involves using the SMART method, which is an acronym for Specific, Measurable, Achievable, Realistic, and Time-oriented. Having goals that include these aspects is an effective goal-setting approach.

4. Problem Solving

Learning to solve problems can help you overcome life hurdles, which is something else a CBT therapist can help you with. You will learn the five steps of problem solving, including identifying the problem, listing possible solutions, exploring strengths and weaknesses of these solutions, selecting a solution to implement, and implementing the solution.

5. Self-Monitoring/Journaling

Journaling can help you monitor negative thought patterns, feelings, and behaviors. In fact, doing so can help you challenge these thoughts better with more positive ones. Further, this type of tracking can offer your therapist information regarding how to help you better.

Related Article: Mentally Exhausted? How Journaling Can Help

 

Does CBT Work? Here’s What the Research Says…

CBT has tons of research behind it all. 

A 2018 scientific review indicated the effectiveness of CBT when it came to treating anxiety. Research from 2011 suggested CBT was an efficient and effective method for helping those with depression. 

A 2017 study demonstrated how CBT can help those with OCD. In 2010, researchers examined its use in relation to substance abuse and suggested it may help individuals with addiction avoid relapse.

More recent research published in 2021 even showed the effectiveness of CBD in therapy as a virtual treatment. 

At the same time, it’s important to note that changes take time and hard work. The Mayo Clinic indicates that it can take anywhere from five to 20 sessions for CBT to be effective.

 

Finding a CBT Therapist Near You

Usually, a quick Google search will set you on the right track. However, you will want to check your therapist’s credentials before committing to any kind of payment. 

If you’re hunting for an online therapist, BetterHelp only hires licensed, trained, experienced, and accredited psychologists and counselors. 

Depending on where you live, you can also check with your local CBT organization to find out if a therapist is, in fact, certified. For example, The Canadian Association of Cognitive and Behavioural Therapies - CACBT maintains a list of certified CBT therapists in Canada. 

In the United States, certification requirements may vary from state to state. The best way to ensure you get the care you need is to do your due diligence and put in the research before booking an appointment.

 

Take That Next Step & Begin Improving Your Life Today

If CBT sounds like it might help you and your situation, don’t hesitate to book an appointment with a certified CBT therapist. Sometimes, we all need a helping hand. And therapy isn’t taboo anymore! 

If you’re unsure about therapy, you can also consider downloading various CBT phone applications, such as MindShift or CBT Thought Diary. Try them out and see if CBT is something that might help improve your life and set you up for success.

Read Next: Negative Emotions: Friends or Foes?

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Life has taught me so much through the years. Whether you’re a youngster or an old timer, you can learn a great deal from life’s experiences. After all, each day brings new opportunities for learning if we pay attention to the lessons.  

Have you ever gone through some sort of trial or situation that at the time felt terrible, but later on down the road you gleaned much wisdom from the situation? 

You look back and think, “Oh wow, now I know why I had to go through that!” This is why many people use the phrase, “Hindsight is always better.”

 

What Have Your Experiences Been Like?

If you scan your past, what kinds of experiences have you been through? 

Most likely you’ve had some good and bad experiences. You’ve enjoyed some periods of life, and perhaps struggled through some too.

However, what are you letting affect your current perspective and mood? 

Everyone has had some negative things happen to them in the past. Suffering in some form or fashion is quite common to each individual at some point in life. 

Maybe you lost a loved one or have gone through a divorce. Perhaps you’ve been dealing with a debilitating illness or lost your job. Maybe your childhood was less than stellar. We experience all sorts of things in life, but what do we learn from those situations?

 

Looking At The Deeper Meaning

When you go through a situation, it is a good idea to look past the surface issue and into the deeper meaning. 

For example, let’s say that you’re currently in a toxic relationship. No matter what you and your partner do, there is conflict at every turn. 

On the surface, it seems as if you just are not a match or the relationship has run its course, but if you look deeper, you may find something different.  

Maybe your partner’s words and actions cause a reaction in you that stems from old wounds from childhood that cause you to be insecure. Maybe they withdraw emotionally for a little bit and the fear of abandonment is woken up and you create drama in the relationship.

It’s that fear of abandonment that you may want to look at further.

Or maybe simple arguments blow up and become major explosions. In this case, both of you may want to do some digging as to why there’s a pile of explosives sitting within that get ignited when there’s conflict. 

Things like this can be a vicious cycle and until dealt with in therapy or on your own, the toxic cycle can continue to harm the relationship.

This goes for other areas of life too. For example, once I took a job that wasn’t really what I desired to do. I had a gut feeling that I would not like it, but took it anyway.  I ignored that little voice in my soul that said, “Pass on this one.” 

Over time, I realized I had made a mistake. I gave myself permission to walk away from that job and not feel badly about it. Sometimes in life we just learn valuable lessons as we go along. I took that experience and learned from it.

I learned to listen better to my gut feelings and go within for clarity before making major decisions. Learn to listen to your gut feelings in the future and that may save you some heartache and frustration.

 

Life Is Full Of Lessons

We are on this life journey to experiment and learn lessons. 

No one knows how the journey will go from time to time. We think things will go one way, but then they go another. We also experience challenging circumstances at times.

When those difficult times come, take some time to contemplate them and be open to learning valuable lessons about yourself, others, and life in general.  

This is one reason it is great to have conversations with the elderly. They’ve been around long enough to have learned some valuable lessons and life and most of them love to share those lessons with others.

In addition, many older people are simply lonely, so make it your aim to spend some time with them. If you happen to be lonely, this is a win-win situation for all.

 

Be Fully In The Present

The past is that past and the future isn’t here yet, so do your best to be fully in the present.

Take the lessons that you learned and apply them to the now. Dwelling on the past may not cause you to move forward. You may be in a situation where you aren't quite sure what valuable lessons there are.

If that's the case, trust that you'll gain insight along your journey. If you find that you need help, give yourself permission to reach out for help.

Some of my most valuable lessons in life came to me at a very dark time, a dark night of the soul, you could say. I couldn't see it in those moments because it was quite dark.

However, looking back, I realized that these trying circumstances humbled me and put me in a space where I was more open to receive insight, clarity, and lessons that mattered.

The lessons learned are parts of my story that I gladly share with others to inspire and motivate them in whatever areas they are needing help with. It's my hope that you can do this as well.

What are you learning from life? What kinds of lessons can you share with others that may benefit them? Do not allow past heartaches or situations to keep you down. Wipe your slate clean and come to appreciate the lessons you have learned from your life’s experiences.  After all, you still have many more to come!

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Apart from that time our biology teacher explicitly stated that the number one aim of living things is “self-preservation”, our common sense also tells us that it is better to stay away from dangerous situations.

Yet, for some very weird reason, some of us really get a kick out of getting the daylights scared out of us.

But why is this so? Why do some people enjoy getting scared? The answer may fascinate you.

While it is true that living things (like we – humans) abhor danger, living things also have an insatiable desire for stimuli. In fact, the differentiator between the living and the non-living is in their ability to feel stimuli and respond to them.

That said, a person who is not feeling anything – maybe because they are asleep, or zoned/spaced out – isn’t very much interested, nor do they necessarily feel “alive”.

In fact, we can quite easily say that the reason other people enjoy getting scared half to death is that it makes them feel very alive. 

This is counterintuitive. In fact, it sounds a bit contradictory. But it isn’t. The secret is in the brain – how it interprets the situation we find ourselves in.

 

Fight, Flight or Freeze

The normal physiological response to danger...

...are exactly the same physiological responses we get when we are excited.

Yet, depending on how your brain interprets that situation (i.e. if it is truly life-threatening), you may find yourself either crippled or thrilled.

That is why a guy about to address a huge audience may feel the same complete paralysis as a lady standing in front of a speeding truck experiences. One of these instances is clearly imminent danger and death, whilst the other is in no way remotely close to harming.

So, why do we even respond similarly in the first place? Why do we fear? Let’s get to the nitty-gritty of this. 

Brain Feedback Loops

The secret to understanding this is in first understanding how the mind and body interact.

It is usually a feedback loop where the mind draws inputs from the body, interprets it, and relays the feedback to the body.

The body then responds to the output from the mind, and its response is relayed back to the mind, etc.

Hence, when the mind interprets a situation as dangerous, the body begins to respond with shivering and sweating. Interestingly, this same bodily response of sweating, and shaking, is exactly what we feel when we are super excited as well. Hence the “fear-excitement” conundrum.

This is why people are advised to constantly remind themselves that what they are feeling is not fear, but excitement when they are about to do something out of the usual. 

Thankfully, if we let our excitement encapsulate us, and whilst remaining calm, it actually feels quite good.

 

We Can Turn Our Fear Response Into an Excited Response

When you are excited (or feeling an intense emotion – like actual fear) your body floods your system with hormones to ready you for action (i.e. fight or flight response).

The hormones include:

This makes for a very interesting possibility because if there is a feel-good hormone in the mix, it only means that if we can curtail the secretion of the stress hormones (like cortisol), we would be left with only dopamine (the feel-good hormone).

The result is that you can easily get an instant “natural-high” from getting scared in a safe environment. And this is exactly what happens. 

It is not strange to see people quickly go from screaming to laughing when seeing a horror movie, visiting a haunted house, or riding a roller coaster. It is absolutely insane, intense, and compels you to keep doing it over and over again.

Just like people who take cocaine, they seek stronger and more intense stuff than what you’ve just experienced. In fact, you can say fear is the formula for a natural high.

Furthermore, studies have shown that people with a specific personality trait – i.e. the Sensation-seeking trait – tend to have lower levels of anxiety-inducing hormones like adrenaline or cortisol, and higher levels of the feel-good hormones (dopamine).

 

Facing Things That Scare You Can Make You Feel Proud of Yourself

The result is that when put in scary situations, those with the Sensation-seeking traits end up experiencing more pleasure than distress.

And, on top of all these, these Thrill-seekers (i.e. those with the Sensation-Seeking traits), due to their brain chemistry, end up being prone to boredom, which then further drives them away from the mundane things in life towards the stimulating extremes.

Consequently: They tend to perform better at high-risk sports, and occupations (including very stressful jobs like working as emergency room nurses or doctors, as well as joining the military). And they enjoy it.

Even when they return to the mundane, people who were able to face their fears (and laugh in spite of it) usually report feeling proud of themselves. It kind of pumps their self-esteem and ego.

That said, the major reason some people enjoy being scared is that their brains can quickly suppress the adrenaline and cortisol. This leaves them reeling over the dopamine like helpless addicts – and the 2017 horror movie ticket sales of over $730 million, only prove this point.

Some of us are scared of getting scared, while others are addicted to getting scared. Now which one are you? 

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No doubt when you get into a relationship, sooner or later, conflict will arise. 

During the honeymoon phase, you might think there is nothing your partner could say or do to upset you. You’re on cloud nine, and you can’t imagine saying or doing anything to upset your partner either.

However, it’s natural for conflict or disagreements to happen at some point in the relationship. The honeymoon phase is wonderful, but life shows up and at some point, you both begin to see each other’s flaws and idiosyncrasies. This can cause conflict.

 

6 Ways to Handle Relationship Conflict

What will you do when conflict arises? 

It is a good idea to think about this ahead of time, as when you’re in the heat of the moment, logic tends to jump ship.  I’ve had plenty of people tell me their alter ego trumps during an argument, but later they feel terrible. 

I encourage you to have a plan on how you will contend with conflict.  You may even want to discuss this with your partner ahead of time.

1. Open-Minded, Honest Communication

Open-minded, honest communication is huge. 

If you determine now how you will deal with the contrast and stick to your plan, you should be able to work through it without sending off too many harmful grenades.

If you're not that great at communicating with each other, make it your aim too better your communication skills now, before conflict happens. If you tend to be the type that shuts down when you get into a situation where there's conflict, there's opportunity for you to learn how to remain open and speak your truth.

Bottling things up inside usually tends to just cause a big blow up later. If you and your partner have a tough time communicating, read some books or watch some YouTube videos on the topic together.

You could even get a counselor and learn some excellent communication skills at couples counseling.

2. Reacting Vs. Responding

It’s common for angry feelings to get aroused in a relationship now and then.

When you get angry, you can react, or you can respond.

Reacting looks like screaming, “You’re such a jerk!”.

Responding means pausing for a few moments to gather yourself. It’s looking at whatever the issue is or whatever happened, contemplating, and processing. Then, you respond from a logical space, rather than a negative emotional space.

Some people count to 20. Some say, “I’m leaving the room to process and we can have a discussion about this when we calm down.” Do what works for you.

Allowing time for cool down is a good idea.  Sure, your partner may be at fault. Maybe they’re an hour late and didn’t call you to inform you of their time issue. 

Or maybe they embarrassed you in front of their friends. No matter what they’ve done to anger you, if you react in an angry or hurtful way, the situation may escalate and not be resolved.

Learn to take a few minutes or hours to cool yourself down and gauge the situation. I think that you’ll find that if you and your partner do this, you’ll be more apt to work through issues instead of exploding and hurting each other intentionally or unintentionally.

3. Educate Yourself On Conflict Resolution

There are plenty of blogs, books, and YouTube videos on the topic of conflict resolution.

If you and your partner are having trouble getting through conflict without causing each other pain, take some time to educate yourself. There are plenty of free videos on YouTube that will take you step by step how to resolve various types of conflict.

You can watch them on your own or with your partner. Try out different skills and see what works for you.

4. Apologize And Forgive

Forgiveness goes a long way in a relationship.

It's quite common to get into arguments with your partner or take out negative emotions on each other. I'm sure many of us can relate to projecting anger or frustration onto our partners, especially after a bad day.

Choose now to forgive one another once you resolve a conflict. Look at each other in the eyes and truly apologize. Aim to do better in the future.

I’m not saying to forgive and forget if there is any type of verbal, emotional, or physical abuse going on. That’s a different scenario. If you’re being abused, contact the Domestic Violence hotline to get some support.

I’m talking about common, fairly normal conflicts that arise in relationships, like saying something in a rude tone, or acting immature when you’re having an argument. Apologize and forgive.

5. Journal

Journaling has long been a therapeutic technique to help out with all sorts of issues.

Putting down your thoughts and emotions during or after conflict in a relationship can help you learn a little bit more about yourself, your partner, and the relationship in general. You could write down things like what happened, how you handled this situation, and how you could have handled it differently.

You can also write down your goals as to how you would like to handle conflict anytime it arises in your life. You can go through your journal from time to time to see the progress that you've made or areas that still need improvement.

Couple Counseling

If you think about conflict resolution ahead of time, getting through conflict will be easier.

If you end up having trouble resolving issues, consider reaching out to a couple’s therapist for some help. You and your partner can talk to the therapist about what's going on and learn some valuable tools for working through conflict as it arises.

The work and time is worth it, and so is your relationship!

Looking for more advice? Similar article: Arguing With Your Partner About Money? Top 6 Practical Tips to Start Working Together

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