Stress Reduction Techniques
The More Tools, the Better!

Rational Emotive Behavior Therapy (R.E.B.T.)

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.

Stress Reduction Techniques
Rational or Irrational?

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.

  1. If I believe this thought to be true, will it help me remain safe and alive?
  2. Is this thought objectively true, and upon what evidence can I form this opinion?
  3. Is this thought producing feelings I want to have?
  4. Is this thought helping me reach a chosen goal?
  5. Is this thought likely to minimize conflict with others?

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.

Stress Reduction Techniques
How to Make Things Worse!

  1. Shoulding, Demandingness - Saying "should" all the time. Being very demanding on yourself. Believing that you must succeed at everything and obtain approval for everything you do.
  2. Awfulizing - I lapsed two weeks ago. Isn’t that just awful?
  3. Low Frustration Tolerance - I can’t quit smoking; it would be too hard for me.
  4. Rating and Blaming - I’m worthless because I made a mistake, or, the world’s a rotten place to live.
  5. Overgeneralizing - Always or never attitudes: I tried it and it didn’t work for me.

Stress Reduction Techniques
How To Make Things Better!

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:

  1. Promote productivity and creativity;
  2. Support positive relationships;
  3. Promote accountability without unnecessary blame and condemnation;
  4. Encourage acceptance and tolerance;
  5. Strengthen persistence and self-discipline;
  6. Serve as a platform for conditions that propel personal growth;
  7. Correlate with healthy risk-taking initiatives;
  8. Link to a sense of emotional well-being and positive mental health;
  9. Lead to a realistic sense of perspective;
  10. Further the empowerment of others;
  11. Stimulate openness to experience and an experimental outlook;
  12. Direct our efforts along ethical pathways.

Not Quite "Cold Turkey", Not Quite Yet Anyway.

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.


  1. If you get into a fight in your relationship, instead of feeling or thinking angry, hateful thoughts, which is unhealthy and creates stress, only allow yourself to be annoyed or irritated, which are healthy, negative emotions.
  2. If you are criticized by someone, instead of feeling worthless, an unhealthy emotion, allow yourself to feel annoyance or concern, which a healthy negative emotion.
  3. If something happens with your children, which would normally cause thoughts or feelings of intense guilt, an unhealthy emotion, change that feeling to regret, which is a healthy negative emotion.

Nobody's Perfect!

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.

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