Who wouldn’t want to experience a life with less agitation and more happiness? That is a healthy desire of course – to relish our experiences in life, and to cope with the difficulties in wise and effective ways without being consumed by pain, regret or even greater emotional turmoil.
I have just days ago returned from presenting on the topic of increasing happiness and decreasing discomfort to both professional groups and members of the general public, in parts of India and in Puebla, Mexico. In recent years, I have also presented in Australia, Belgium, Malaysia, and in various cities within the USA. What I observed in each and every one of these remarkable places was that the human condition was the same – regardless of culture, religion, upbringing or any other factor – humans want to be happy. And too many of us do not realize that we create our own emotional destinies: that we have the power to choose how we feel and respond to events and people – even if we may not be able to change all of our circumstances.
Life contains inevitable suffering, and also opportunities for enjoyment and delight, but unfortunately too many people blame their circumstances for their joys and their anguish. The reality is that it is NOT our circumstances which create our emotions, but our thoughts about the circumstances. Albert Ellis PhD (my late husband) was the brilliant pioneer of the cognitive therapy revolution in psychology, counseling and therapy.
In his many writings on his approach of Rational Emotive Behavior Therapy (REBT) he explained, with precision and clarity, that when we think in unhealthy irrational ways we create unhealthy debilitating emotions such as anxiety, depression, rage, jealousy, guilt, shame and more. When we think in healthy and rational ways we create appropriate and healthy emotions in response to adversities – such as concern, sadness, appropriate anger in response to injustice – none of which debilitate, and each of which may result in motivating us to take beneficial action in response to whatever happened. With awareness, we have choice. We can allow ourselves to think in self-defeating ways, and create unnecessary misery, or can choose to think in life-enhancing and realistic ways which create a healthy and empowering emotional climate within.
Again – with awareness we have choice.
When we notice we are suffering from emotional disturbance – that can be our cue to do detective work on our thinking. We can ask ourselves “What am I telling myself to create this unhelpful emotion”? We identify our irrational ideas, vigorously dispute them, construct healthy realistic and rational beliefs following that – and notice our emotions change from unhealthy to appropriate!
Here’s what I can help you understand:
The clear differences between healthy and unhealthy thinking
The difference between healthy negative emotions vs unhealthy negative emotions
Techniques that can help us create the changes we seek
Main aspects of REBT and the ways it can empower each individual who practices it.
The tools associated with REBT are the keys to living a life of greatest potential for stability, authentic serenity, and immense enjoyment.
Visit the class page to learn more.
*Rational Emotive Behavior Therapy, by Albert Ellis & Debbie Joffe Ellis, 2011: American Psychological Association Publishing.
*The Myth of Self Esteem, by Albert Ellis, 2005: Prometheus Books.
*Rational Emotive Behavior Therapy: DVD, Debbie Joffe Ellis, 2014: American Psychological Association (For professionals in the psychology and mental health counseling fields, for education purposes).