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Feeling Good

Overview

Feeling Good: The New Mood Therapy, written by David D. Burns. The basic idea of the books seems to be instead of calling yourself a total loser, you should tell yourself that you sometimes fail and sometimes succeed just like everyone else and just let it go.

Principles of Cognitive Theraphy

Ten Cognitive Distortions

Perfect is the enemy of good.

Voltaire

Identifying Cognitive Distortions

Every time you feel depressed, stop and try to identify the thought that made you feel the way you are feeling. See if your thought contains any of the distortions listed above.

Building Self-Esteem

.. there is actually a formal thinking disturbance in depressed patients. Depressed people were compared to undepressed people in terms of extracting meaning from proverbs such as 'A stitch in time saves nine'. It was seen that depressed people had problems extracting the meaning and had many logical errors. They were overly concrete and could not make generalizations.

Talk Back to the Internal Critic

Criticism Cognitive Distortions Response
I know nothing about programming despite many hours I have invested in it. All or Nothing Thinking, Emotional Reasoning Yes, I forget some details I study, but not everything. And I remember things I have done before and look them up much faster when I face them even though I can not exactly remember the details.

Do Nothingism

Find the Cause for Motivational Paralysis

Common Mind-Sets Most Commonly Associated with Do-Nothingism and Procrastination

How to Beat Procrastination?

Fight your Buts

But Rebuttal
I really should start entering my notes on the book to my webpage, but I am just not in the mood. I will feel more like it once I get started. When it is done, I will feel much better.
But it will take forever. No, it will not take forever. And I know I will enjoy doing when I get started.
But I feel very tired right now. I feel tired because I am not doing anything. If I really can not concentrate after I actually started, I can always rest. Procrastination is not resting and not the answer to being tired.

The TIC-TOC Technique

Task Interfering Cognitions Distortion Task Oriented Cognitions
I will never be able to clean up the storage room. Jumping to Conclusions
Magnification
Why not, of course I will. I have to start somewhere. I do not need to finish all today.
This term paper / task is pointless. All or Nothing Thinking I sure am going to learn / gain something. It is better than doing nothing at all. I do not have to do it perfect anyway, just accept it and get it done.

Get It Done

(This is a technique I made up and not found in the book that works the best for me.)

Make a list of tasks you have walked away from, that have been waiting to be done for a while. Accept that you will not get some of them done and simply discard the least important. Put them in an order from either easier to more difficult, difficult to easier, shortest to longest or the other way around, whichever you believe will work the best for you. Do not come up with anything else that is not vital until this list is done. Prohibit yourself from creating more tasks such as I must get the car washed or I need to buy a new .. or whatever. Get the dead weight off your shoulders. Remember Yesterday, you said tomorrow.

Focus. Get a dumb wrist watch, put that cell phone away, in another room. Go offline. Get off the social media and focus. Do not waste much time on the looks, focus on the content and the workings.

Guilt

Guilt vs Remorse

Guilt Remorse
Descrutive Constructive
Underlying reason is cognitive distortions Underlying reason is self awarness
Aimed at self Aimed at behavior
Leads to (self) Punishment Leads to (self) Improvement

Distinguising Guilt from Remorse

The Irresponsibility of Guilt

Must you punish yourself for what you have done, and if yes what is the punishment and for how long? Is there an answer? Will you be able to stop being miserable after the punishment is served? Feeiling guilty will not reverse anything that has been done and labeling self as bad and beliving in it will lead up to further bad behavior.

Change and learning occur most readily when you (a) recognize that an error has occured and (b) develop a strategy for correcting the problem. An attitude of self-love and relaxation facilitates this, whereas guilt interferes.

Dealing with Guilt

How should Defeats You

The major thing that holds you back when you're trying to change a bad habit like eating, smoking or drinking too much is your belief you are out of control. The cause of this lack of control is the should statements. They defeat you. Suppose, for example, you are trying to avoid eating ice cream. There you are watching TV, saying, "Oh, I really should study and I shouldn't eat any ice cream." Now ask yourself, "How do I feel when I say these things myself?" I think you know the answer: You feel guilty and nervous. Then what do you do? You go and eat! That is the point. The reason you are eating is that you're telling yourself you shouldn't! Then you try to bury your guilt and anxiety under more piles of food.

Guilt Source Reasonal Response
I should be able to make my wife happy (all the time). I wish I could make my wife happy all times but she is a human being and we all have our ups and downs. I will always be supportive, but this also means sometimes just letting it go.
I should be studying at least .. hours a day / week. I will aim at studying .. hours a day / week. I will log my time and do my best to achieve it. But who says I should? I wish I could, but life is full of good and bad surprises that needs adjusting to.