How To Stubbornly Refuse To Make Yourself Miserable About Anything-yes, Anything!: Revised And Updated

How To Stubbornly Refuse To Make Yourself Miserable About Anything-yes, Anything!: Revised And Updated

by Albert Ellis
How To Stubbornly Refuse To Make Yourself Miserable About Anything-yes, Anything!: Revised And Updated

How To Stubbornly Refuse To Make Yourself Miserable About Anything-yes, Anything!: Revised And Updated

by Albert Ellis


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“No other individual—not even Freud himself—has had a greater impact on modern psychotherapy.” —Psychology Today
All of us worry about something, big or small, every day. But much of the emotional misery we feel is an overreaction—and can be significantly reduced using the techniques in this book.
World-renowned therapist Dr. Albert Ellis, who created Rational-Emotive Behavior Therapy (REBT), believed that anger, anxiety, and depression are not only unnecessary, they’re unethical, because when we allow ourselves to become emotionally upset, we’re being unfair and unjust to ourselves. Thinking negative thoughts is a choice we can refuse to make. Applying the proven, time-tested principles of REBT is a simple, logical way to find true mental health and happiness. REBT acknowledges the power of emotions, but it also helps us understand which feelings are healthy and which are not. This classic book teaches you how to:
· Retrain your brain to focus on the positive and face obstacles without unnecessary despair
· Control your emotional destiny
· Refuse to upset yourself about upsetting yourself
· Solve practical problems as well as emotional problems
· Conquer the tyranny of “should,” and much more
Get the tools you need to take back your life—and your happiness. If you can refuse to make yourself miserable, you’re that much closer to making yourself happy—every day.
“Shows how to avoid the traps of self-harm and find mental health.” —Publishers Weekly

Product Details

ISBN-13: 9780806536538
Publisher: Kensington
Publication date: 07/11/2012
Sold by: Barnes & Noble
Format: eBook
Pages: 224
Sales rank: 175,689
File size: 560 KB

About the Author

Albert Ellis, Ph.D. founded Rational Emotive Behavior Therapy (REBT), the pioneering form of the modern Cognitive Behavior therapies. In a 1982 professional survey, Dr. Ellis was ranked as the second most influential psychotherapist in history. His name is a staple among psychologists, students, and historians around the world. He published over seven hundred articles and more than sixty books on psychotherapy, marital and family therapy, and sex therapy. Until his death in 2007, Dr. Ellis served as President Emeritus of the Albert Ellis Institute in New York, which provides professional training programs and psychotherapy to individuals, families and groups. To learn more, visit   Kristene A. Doyle, Ph.D., Sc.D. is the Director of the Albert Ellis Institute. Dr. Doyle is also the Director of Clinical Services, founding Director of the Eating Disorders Treatment and Research Center, and a licensed psychologist at the Institute. She is a Diplomate in Rational-Emotive and Cognitive-Behavior Therapy and serves on the Diplomate Board. In addition, Dr. Doyle conducts numerous workshops and professional trainings throughout the world and has influenced the growth and practice of Rational Emotive and Cognitive Behavior Therapy in countries spanning several continents. Dr. Doyle is co-author of A Practitioner’s Guide to Rational Emotive Behavior Therapy, 3rd edition, and co-editor of The Journal of Rational-Emotive and Cognitive-Behavior Therapy. She has served as an expert commentator for ABC’s 20/20, Access Hollywood, Channel 2 and Channel 11 News. Dr. Doyle has also been quoted in prestigious publications including The New York Times, U.S. News and World Report, and The Wall Street Journal.

Read an Excerpt

How to Stubbornly Refuse to Make Yourself Miserable About Anything â" Yes, Anything!

By Albert Ellis


Copyright © 2006 Albert Ellis
All rights reserved.
ISBN: 978-0-8065-3653-8


Why Is This Book Different from Other Self-Help Books?

Hundreds of self-help books are published every year, and many of them are truly helpful to millions of readers. Why bother to write another? Why should I try to surpass my own and Robert A. Harper's A New Guide to Rational Living, which has already sold over two million copies, and try to supplement derivative books, such as Your Erroneous Zones, which have also had millions of readers? Why bother?

For several important reasons. Although Rational Emotive Behavior Therapy (REBT), which I originated in 1955, is now a major part of the psychological scene today, and although most modern therapists (yes, even psychoanalysts) include big chunks of it in their treatment plans, they often use it in a watered-down, wishy-washy way.

Aside from my professional writing, no book as yet gives a hardheaded, straight-from-the-horse's-mouth version of REBT; those few books that have attempted to do so are not written in simple, popular, self-help form. The present volume aims to make up for this omission.

More specifically, this book has the following goals — which I do not think you will find presented, all together, in any other book about acquiring mental health and happiness.

• It encourages you to have and to express strong feelings when something goes wrong with your life. But it clearly distinguishes between your feeling healthily and helpfully concerned, sorry, sad, frustrated, or annoyed and your feeling unhealthy and destructively panicked, depressed, enraged, and self-pitying.

• It shows you how to cope with difficult life situations and how to feel better when you are faced with them. But, more important — much more important — it demonstrates how you can get better as well as feel better when you needlessly "neuroticize" and plague yourself.

• It not only teaches you how you can control your emotional destiny and can stubbornly refuse to make yourself miserable over anything (yes, anything!), but it also specifically explains what you can do to use your potential for self-control.

• It rigorously stays with and promotes scientific thinking, reason, and reality, and it strictly avoids what many self-help books carelessly counsel today — huge amounts of mysticism and utopianism.

• It will help you achieve a profound philosophic change and a radically new outlook on life instead of a Pollyannaism "positive thinking" attitude that will only help you cope temporarily with difficulties and will often defeat you in the long run.

• It gives you many techniques for changing your personality, which are not backed merely by anecdotal or case-history "evidence," but which have now been proven to be effective by scores of objective, scientific experiments that were conducted with control groups.

• It efficiently shows you how you are now still creating your present emotional and behavioral problems, and it doesn't encourage you to waste endless time and energy foolishly trying to understand and explain your past history. It demonstrates how you still needlessly upset yourself and what you can do today to refuse to keep doing so.

• It encourages you to take full responsibility for your "upsetness" and for reducing it rather than copping out by blaming your parents or social conditions for your going along with their silly teachings.

• This book presents the ABCs of REBT (and of other forms of cognitive and cognitive behavioral therapy) in a simple, understandable way, and it shows how stimuli or Activating Events (A) in your life do not mainly or directly cause your emotional consequences (C). Instead, your Belief System (B) largely upsets you, and you therefore have the ability to Dispute (D) your dysfunctional and irrational Beliefs (iBs) and to change them. It especially shows you many thinking, many emotive, and many behavioral methods of disputing and surrendering your irrational Beliefs (iBs) and thereby arriving at an Effective New Philosophy (E) of life.

• It shows you not only how to keep your present desires, wishes, preferences, goals, and values; but how to give up your grandiose, godlike demands and commands — those absolutistic and dogmatic shoulds, oughts, and musts that you add to desires and preferences and by which you needlessly disturb yourself.

• It informs you how to be independent and inner-directed and how to think for yourself rather than be gullible and suggestible, going along with what others think you should think.

• It gives you many practical, action-oriented exercises, which you can use to work at and practice REBT ways of rethinking and redoing your way of living.

• It shows you how to be rational in a highly irrational world — how to be as happy as you can be under some of the most difficult and "impossible" conditions. It insists that you can stubbornly refuse to make yourself miserable about some truly gruesome happenings — poverty, terrorism, sickness, war — and that you can, if you choose to do so, work more effectively to change some of the worst situations that confront you, and perhaps even the entire world.

• It will help you understand some of the main roots of mental disturbance — such as bigotry, intolerance, dogmatism, tyranny, and despotism — and to see how you can combat these roots of neurosis in yourself and in others.

• It presents a large variety of REBT methods for dealing with severe feelings of anxiety, depression, hostility, self-denigration, and self-pity. More than any other major school of therapy (except Arnold Lazarus's Multimodal Therapy), REBT is truly eclectic and multimodal. At the same time, it is selective and does its best to eliminate harmful and inefficient methods of psychotherapy.

• REBT is highly active-directive. It gets to the heart of human disturbance quickly and effectively, and presents self-help procedures that can be unusually effective in a short time.

• This book shows you how to be an honest hedonist and individualist — to be true to thine own self first — but at the same time live happily, successfully, and relatedly in a social group. It lets you keep and even sharpen your own special values, goals, and ideals while being a responsible citizen of your chosen community.

• It is simple and, I hope, exceptionally clear, but far from simplistic. Its wisdom, gleaned from many philosophers and psychologists, is practical and earthy — but nonetheless profound.

• It presents rules and methods derived from today's fastest-growing type of therapies — REBT (Rational Emotive Behavior Therapy) and CBT (Cognitive Behavioral Therapy) — which have grown enormously in recent years through their efficacy in helping millions of clients as well as thousands of therapists. It takes the best of the self-help techniques from which these therapies are formed and adapts them to the ability of the average reader to use them. That means Y-O-U.

Does this book, finally, uniquely tell you how to stubbornly refuse to make yourself miserable about anything — yes, anything? Really? Honestly? No nonsense about it? Yes, it actually does — if you will sincerely listen (L-IS-T-E-N) and work (W-O-R-K) at receiving and using its message.

Will you listen? Will you work? Will you T-H-I-N-K, F-E-E-L, and A-C-T?

You definitely can. I hope you will!


Can You Really Refuse to Make Yourself Miserable About Anything?

This book has a strange message, that practically all human misery and serious emotional turmoil are quite unnecessary — not to mention unethical. You, unethical? When you make yourself severely anxious or depressed, you clearly are acting against you and are being unfair and unjust to yourself.

Your disturbance also badly affects your social group. It helps to upset your relatives and friends and, to some extent, your whole community. The expense of making yourself panicked, enraged, and self-pitying is enormous. In time and money lost. In needless effort spent. In uncalled-for mental anguish. In sabotaging others' happiness. In foolishly frittering away potential joy during the one life — yes, the one life — you'll probably ever have.

What a waste. How unnecessary!

But isn't emotional pain the human condition? Yes, it is. Hasn't it been with us since time immemorial? Yes, it has. Isn't it, then, inevitable as long as we are truly human, as long as we have the capacity to feel?

No, it isn't.

Let us not confuse painful feelings with emotional disturbance. Humans distinctly feel. Other animals feel, too, but not as delicately. Dogs, for example, seem to feel what we may call love, sadness, fear, and pleasure. Not exactly as we do, but they definitely have feelings.

But how about awe? Romantic love? Poetic ardor? Creative passion ? Scientific curiosity? Do dogs and chimpanzees have these feelings too?

I doubt it. Our subtle, romantic, creative feelings arise from complex thoughts and philosophies. As Epictetus and Marcus Aurelius, ancient stoic philosophers, pointed out, we humans mainly feel the way we think. No, not completely. But mainly.

That is the crucial message that Rational Emotive Behavior Therapy (REBT) has been making for fifty years, after I adapted some of its principles from the ancients and from later thinkers — especially from Baruch Spinoza, Immanuel Kant, John Dewey, and Bertrand Russell. We do largely create our own feelings, and we do so by learning (from our parents and others) and by inventing (in our own heads) our own sane and foolish thoughts.

Create? Yes, we create. We consciously and unconsciously choose to think, to feel, and to act in certain self-helping and self-harming ways.

Not totally. Not all together. Not by a long shot! For we have great help, if you want to call it that, from both our heredity and our environment.

No, we are hardly born with specific thoughts, feelings, and behaviors. Nor does our environment directly make us act or feel. But our genes and our social upbringing give us strong tendencies to do (and enjoy) what we do. And although we usually go along with (or indulge in) these tendencies, we don't exactly have to. We definitely don't.

Not that we have unlimited choice or free will. Heck, no. We can't, no matter how hard we try, flap our hands and fly. We can't easily stop our various addictions to such substances as cigarettes, food, and alcohol, or to habits such as procrastination. We have one hell of a time changing any of our fixed habits. Alas, we do!

But we can choose to change ourselves remarkably. We are able to alter our strongest thoughts, feelings, and actions. Why? Because unlike dogs, monkeys, and cockroaches, we are human. As human beings, we are born with (and can escalate) a trait that other creatures rarely possess: the ability to think about our thinking. We are not only natural philosophers, we can philosophize about our philosophy, reason about our reasoning.

Which is damned lucky! And which gives us some degree of self-determination or free will. For if we were just one-level thinkers and could not examine our thinking, could not weigh our feelings, could not review our actions, where would we be? Pretty well stuck!

Actually, we are not stuck or habit-bound — if we choose not to be. For we can be aware of our surroundings and also aware of ourselves. We are born — yes, born — with a rare potential for observing and thinking about our own behavior. Not that other animals (primates, for example) have no self-consciousness. They do have some. But not much.

We humans have real self-awareness. We can, though we do not have to, observe and judge our own goals, desires, and purposes. We can examine, review, and change them. We can also see and reflect upon our changed ideas, emotions, and doings. And we can change them. And change them again — and again!

Now let's not run this idea of "self-change" into the ground. Of course we have this capacity. Of course we can use it, but not without limits — not perfectly. We get our original goals and desires largely from our biological tendencies and from our early childhood training.

We like mother's milk (or bottled formulas), and we enjoy nestling up to our parents' bodies. We like mother's milk and parental cuddling because we are born to like them, are trained to like them, and become habituated to liking them. So what we call our desires and preferences are not all freely chosen. Many are instilled in us by our heredity and our conditioning.

The more we choose to use our self-awareness and to think about our goals and desires, the more we create — yes, create — free will or self-determination. That also goes for our emotions, both our healthy and our disturbed feelings. Take, for instance, your own feelings of frustration and disappointment when you suffer a loss. Someone promises to give you a job, for example, or to lend you some money, and then backs down. Naturally, you feel annoyed and sad. Good. Those negative feelings acknowledge that you are not getting what you want and encourage you to look for another job or another loan.

So, your feelings of annoyance and sadness are at first uncomfortable and "bad." In the long run, however, they tend to help you get more of what you want and less of what you don't want.

Do you have a choice of these healthy negative feelings when something goes wrong in your life? Yes. You may choose to feel very annoyed — or a little annoyed. You may choose to focus on the advantages of losing a promised job (such as the opportunity to try for a better one) and hardly feel annoyed at all. Or you may choose to put down the person who falsely promised you the job and feel happy about being a "better person" than this "louse."

You may also choose to highlight the disadvantages of getting the promised job (for example, the hassle of commuting to work) and actually make yourself feel quite pleased about not getting it. You might have to work at not feeling sad and annoyed about losing the job, but you could definitely choose to do so.

So you do have a choice about your natural or normal reactions to losing a job (or a loan or anything else). Usually, you would not bother to exert this choice, and you would choose to accept the normal, healthy feelings of annoyance and disappointment, using them in the future to help you. You would live with them and benefit from them.

Now let us suppose that when you are unfairly deprived of a job or a loan you make yourself feel severely anxious, depressed, self-denigrated, or enraged. You see that you are being treated unfairly. You upset yourself immensely about their unfairness.

Can you still choose to have or not have these strong, off-the-wall feelings?

Definitely, yes. Clearly, you can.

That is the main theme of this book: No matter how badly you act, no matter how unfairly others treat you, no matter how crummy are the conditions you live under — you virtually always ( yes, A-L-W-A-Y-S) have the ability and the power to change your intense feelings of anxiety, despair, and hostility. Not only can you decrease them, you can practically annihilate and remove them. If you use the methods outlined in the following chapters. If you work at using them!

When you suffer a real loss, are your feelings of panic, depression, and rage unnatural? No, they are so natural, so normal that they are a basic part of the human condition. They are exceptionally common and universal. Virtually all of us have them — and often! It would be most strange if you did not feel them fairly frequently.

But normal or common doesn't mean healthy. Colds are very common. So are bruises, broken bones, and infections. But they are hardly good or beneficial!

So it is with feelings of anxiety. Concern, caution, vigilance, and what we may call light anxiety are normal and healthy. If you had absolutely zero anxiety you would fail to watch where you're going or how you're doing, and you would soon get into trouble and perhaps even kill yourself.

But severe anxiety, nervousness, dread, and panic are normal (or frequent) but un healthy. Severity of anxiety leads to dismal over concern, to terror, and to horror. It can freeze you and help you to behave incompetently and unsocially. So by all means, keep your feelings of concern and caution but junk your feelings of overconcern, "awfulizing," panic, and dread.

How? First, acknowledge that the two feelings are quite different, and don't quibble or rationalize that anxiety is a healthy condition. Don't claim that anxiety is inevitable and has to be accepted as long as you live. No. Concern or caution is almost inevitable (and good) for you. But not panic and horror.


Excerpted from How to Stubbornly Refuse to Make Yourself Miserable About Anything â" Yes, Anything! by Albert Ellis. Copyright © 2006 Albert Ellis. Excerpted by permission of KENSINGTON PUBLISHING CORP..
All rights reserved. No part of this excerpt may be reproduced or reprinted without permission in writing from the publisher.
Excerpts are provided by Dial-A-Book Inc. solely for the personal use of visitors to this web site.

Table of Contents


A partial list of books and monographs by Albert Ellis,
Title Page,
Copyright Page,
Introduction: Bringing Rational Emotive Behavior Therapy Up to Date in the Twenty-First Century,
1 - Why Is This Book Different from Other Self-Help Books?,
2 - Can You Really Refuse to Make Yourself Miserable About Anything?,
3 - Can Scientific Thinking Remove Your Emotional Misery?,
4 - How to Think Scientifically About Yourself, Other People, and Your Life Conditions,
5 - Why the Usual Kinds of Insight Won't Help You Overcome Your Emotional Problems,
6 - REBT Insight No. 1: Making Yourself Fully Aware of Your Healthy and Unhealthy Feelings,
7 - REBT Insight No. 2: You Control Your Emotional Destiny,
8 - REBT Insight No. 3: The Tyranny of the Shoulds,
9 - REBT Insight No. 4: Forget Your " Godawful" Past!,
10 - REBT Insight No. 5: Actively Dispute Your Irrational Beliefs,
11 - REBT Insight No. 6: You Can Refuse to Upset Yourself About Upsetting Yourself,
12 - REBT Insight No. 7: Solving Practical Problems as Well as Emotional Problems,
13 - REBT Insight No. 8: Changing Thoughts and Feelings by Acting Against Them,
14 - REBT Insight No. 9: Using Work and Practice,
15 - REBT Insight No. 10: Forcefully Changing Your Beliefs, Feelings, and Behaviors,
16 - REBT Insight No. 11: Achieving Emotional Change Is Not Enough — Maintaining It Is Harder!,
17 - REBT Insight No. 12: If You Backslide, Try, Try Again!,
18 - REBT Insight No. 13: You Can Extend Your Refusal to Make Yourself Miserable,
19 - REBT Insight No. 14: Yes, You Can Stubbornly Refuse to Make Yourself Severely Anxious or Depressed About Anything,
Appendix: The Biological Basis of Human Irrationality,
Selected References,
About the Author,
Anger: How to Live With It and Without It,

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