It makes sense that stress reduction techniques such as Rational Emotive Behavior Therapy (R.E.B.T.) should form key ingredients in helping us to manage stress, given that our thoughts and beliefs are probably the single, greatest causes of stress in our lives.
Dr. Albert Ellis designed R.E.B.T. in 1955 and Dr. Maxie Maultsby further developed the theory in 1971. Basically, this winner amongst stress reduction techniques says that by changing how we think about stressors or stressful events, we can change the stress response that occurs in our bodies.
Have you ever read witness reports from accident scenes? They are so interesting. Two people who saw the exact same accident take place will describe the events very differently. How is that possible? It's because, like everything human, we all see and experience life through our own personal filters.
What are those filters? They include our upbringing, our current situation, our culture, our attitude and outlook and whole bunch of other filters. I am sure you have heard the saying, "You can't know how someone else feels until you have walked a mile in their footsteps."
The point is that our thoughts and our feelings are very powerful. By learning to control our thoughts and feelings, we will strengthen our ability to manage stress.
Whenever you experience stress, it would help a great deal to check in with your perception of the situation before allowing your stress level to build too greatly.
Ask yourself five questions to determine if your thoughts are rational or irrational.
As you can see, our thoughts control us and there are certain thought behaviors that can make things worse or better. REBT is one of the better stress reduction techniques to help us get by.
Your thoughts should accomplish the following and if they don't, it's time to take a step back and revisit things because you are probably causing yourself a whole lot of unnecessary stress. Your thoughts and feelings will cause you less stress if they:
Sometimes, if we are very negative in our thoughts, we can’t go all the way to completely positive, overnight. We can’t go “cold turkey” about stopping our negativity. Sometimes it’s better to just be less negative. Using fully positive stress reduction techniques is something that can be learned later or learned slowly. For now, less negative and better self-care are enough.
Probably, the best way to sum up this discussion of stress reduction techniques is to let you know that it's time to stop beating yourself up. Nobody's perfect, after all.