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SUSANNE SWEENY
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Control Your Mind
 

Many times in life we know exactly what we should do, but a variety of obstacles derail us and keep us from accomplishing it.  In this section we examine some of the mental traps that send us reeling off the tracks, and introduce a process for you to get control of your mind and help you reach the destination defined in your life plan.

Often people harbor irrational beliefs that they have developed over a lifetime that ignore the positive and exaggerate the negative. Their inner voice may say:

  • "Why does everything bad always happen to me?"
  • "If I just ignore this obligation, maybe it will go away."
  • "There's no sense applying for that good job, I'll never get it."
  • "I'll never get over having been abused by my parents. Life is so unfair."
  • "I'll never find my perfect mate."

One of the most practical and successful techniques in helping people deal with personal and family problems is called Rational Emotive Behavior Therapy (REBT), the lifelong contribution of psychologist Albert Ellis.

At the core of REBT is the A-B-C theory of emotional functioning.  The A stands for the activating event or adversity a person faces – some type of challenging life situation.  B stands for beliefs, especially the irrational, self-defeating beliefs that may have been ingrained since childhood, that are the actual sources of our unhappiness.  C stands for consequences, the neurotic symptoms and negative emotions that come from our beliefs.

 
Figure 13
 

I have found both in my counseling practice and in relationships with friends and family that I know that issues with worry and forgiveness are two of the biggest factors that impact a person’s happiness. We all worry about something, be it health, our children, career, finances, et. al. In this area, I try to determine the distinction between constructive concern and destructive worry. Similarly, learning to forgive others and ourselves can be a huge, life –changing experience.  They are two of the most significant mind control issues and mental traps that keep us from feeling fulfilled and happy.

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