Life gives us a variety of experiences, and we get to choose our way of handling those experiences.
Rational emotive behavior therapy (REBT) is one constructive way to navigate our way back to a peaceful mind, no matter what is happening around us.
It’s like cognitive behavior therapy (CBT), which retrains your thinking, but with a focus on reframing both emotions and thoughts.
Here are 13 constructive REBT alternatives to irrational beliefs that I find very helpful to be reminded of in stressful times:
1. I give myself love and approval, whether or not others approve of me.
2. I am inherently worthwhile as a person, and I sometimes make mistakes.
3. Other people make mistakes too, and are doing the best they can in their current situation.
4. Things will not always be the way I want them to be, and that’s ok.
5. There is always something I can do to feel a bit better if I’m unhappy.
6. I trust myself to handle anything life sends my way, so there’s no need to worry.
7. Life includes difficulties, unpleasantness and responsibility – these are often our greatest teachers.
8. I am strong and can depend on myself.
9. I learn from the past but it doesn’t control me.
10. I feel compassion when other people have problems, but it’s not my job to rescue everyone.
11. I expect and can tolerate discomfort and pain as part of a rich life experience.
12. Not every problem can be solved (or solved ideally).
13. There are always choices. I always have a choice.
The way I interpret these lessons is: if I am less demanding and hard on myself, it will help me be kinder and gentler to others.
I can keep building my distress tolerance, avoid over-generalizing, look for other stories and alternate explanations to triggers.
I can feel each emotion and not need to ride a horse on a horse (when you’re feeling an emotion about an emotion, like I’m angry about feeling sad).
And I can question assumptions, asking “is this useful?”
The goal of all this is not happiness per se, but an awareness and acceptance of the reality around us. This brings peace of mind.
Return to this list anytime you need a loving reminder.