Excel At Life logo


PsychArticles button PsychNotes button PsychApps button PsychAudios button PsychTests button About button
Support Excel At Life's Mission!
Help Translate
Spread the Word
Make Contribution
Become a fan on Facebook! Follow on twitter for site updates! Follow on Google+ for site updates!
Excel At Life--Dedicated to the Pursuit of Excellence in Life, Relationships, Sports and Career












Sport Psych


Crazy-Makers: Dealing with Passive-Aggressive People

Why Are People Mean? Don't Take It Personally!

When You Have Been Betrayed

Struggling to Forgive: An Inability to Grieve

Happy Habits: 50 Suggestions

The Secret of Happiness: Let It Find You (But Make the Effort)

Excellence vs. Perfection

Depression is Not Sadness

Conflict in the Workplace

Motivation: Intrinsic vs. Extrinsic

20 Steps to Better Self-Esteem

7 Rules and 8 Methods for Responding to Passive-aggressive People

Promoting Healthy Behavior Change

10 Common Errors in CBT

What to Do When Your Jealousy Threatens to Destroy Your Marriage

Rejection Sensitivity, Irrational Jealousy and Impact on Relationships

For Women Only: How to Have the Relationship of Your Dreams

What to Do When Your Partner's Jealousy Threatens to Destroy Your Relationship

Making Attributions for a Healthier Attitude

Happiness is An Attitude

Thinking Your Way to a Healthy Weight

Guide to How to Set Achieveable Goals

The Effectiveness of Cognitive-Behavioral Treatment for Anxiety Disorders

Co-Dependency: An Issue of Control

The Pillars of the Self-Concept: Self-Esteem and Self-Efficacy

Catastrophe? Or Inconvenience?


Panic Assistance

Motivational Audios

Mindfulness Training

Rational Thinking

Relaxation for Children

Change Yourself--Don't Wait for the World to Change

Loving Kindness Meditation

Self-Esteem Exercise

Meadow Relaxation

Rainy Autumn Morning

Energizing Audios

Quick Stress Relief

Thinking Your Way to a Healthy Weight

Lies You Were Told

Choosing Happiness

Lotus Flower Relaxation

Audio Version of Article: Crazy-Makers: Passive-Aggressive People

Audio Version of Article: Why Are People Mean? Don't Take It Personally!

Audio Version of Article: Happiness Is An Attitude

All Audio Articles

Kindle Books by Dr. Monica Frank


Why You Get Anxious When You Don't Want To

Why People Feel Grief at the Loss of an Abusive Spouse or Parent

“Are You Depressed?”: Understanding Diagnosis and Treatment

15 Coping Statements for Panic and Anxiety

Beyond Tolerating Emotions: Becoming Comfortable with Discomfort

Emotion Training: What is it and How Does it Work?

How You Can Be More Resistant to Workplace Bullying

Are You Passive Aggressive and Want to Change?

When Your Loved One Refuses Help

The Porcupine Effect: Pushing Others Away When You Want to Connect

What if You Considered Other Peoples' Views?

5 Common Microaggressions Against Those With Mental Illness

What to Expect from Mindfulness-based Cognitive-Behavioral Therapy (MCBT) When You Have Depression and Anxiety

Does Cognitive-Behavioral Therapy Lack Compassion? It Depends Upon the Therapist

When Needs Come Into Conflict

What to Do When Anger Hurts Those You Love

A Brief Primer On the Biology of Stress and How CBT Can Help

50 Tools for Panic and Anxiety

Coping With Change: Psychological Flexibility

Breaking Up is Hard to Do: Ending a Bad Relationship

I'm Depressed. I'm Overwhelmed. Where Do I Start?


Building Blocks Emotion Training

Hot Springs Relaxation

5 Methods to Managing Anger

Panic Assistance While Driving

Autogenic Relaxation Training

Rainbow Sandbox Mindfulness

Mindfulness Training

Riding a Horse Across the Plains

Cityscape Mindfulness

Change Yourself--Don't Wait for the World to Change

The Great Desert Mindfulness

Tropical Garden Mindfulness

Thinking Your Way to a Healthy Weight

Lies You Were Told

Probability and OCD

Choosing Happiness

Magic Bubbles for Children

Lotus Flower Relaxation

Cloud Castles for Children

Hot Air Balloon Motivation

All Audio Articles

Cognitive Behavioral Therapy

Cognitive Diary CBT Help

The Best Eating Disorder iPhone and Android Apps Free Android App: Improve Your Life by Changing Your Thinking!
  • Are you stressed?
  • Do you have anxiety?
  • Do you have depression?
  • Are you controlling?
  • Does anger cause problems with others?
  • Do you have problems in relationships?
  • Do you tend to be jealous?
  • Do you have low self-esteem?
  • Are you unmotivated?
  • Do you want to be more satisfied in life?
  • If you answered "yes" to any of these questions, this app can teach you how to recognize thinking that interferes with achieving your goals in life and how to change that thinking.

    Irrational beliefs lead to many life problems such as stress, anxiety, anger, depression, conflict in relationships among many other issues.

    Don't feel hopeless about changing your life. Learn the methods shown in psychological research to be effective.

    These self-help methods use the tools of cognitive-behavioral therapy (CBT) to challenge irrational thinking.

    The cognitive diary helps you to determine some ways to challenge the irrational thinking. Once you have done that, it is important to read the rational challenges frequently until they automatically come to mind rather than the irrational thinking.

    How Do We Change Irrational Thinking?

    "Our thinking is very changeable. If you worked on changing your thinking everyday by reading, listening to the audio exercises, and completing a cognitive diary you will find your thinking changing even within a few weeks."

    As you may realize as you read the articles on this site, the underlying core issue for many problems resides with irrational thinking styles. That, of course, is the basic premise of cognitive-behavioral therapy (CBT). We develop styles of thinking based upon our learning experiences, our parents' thinking, and societal/community beliefs and expectations.

    Learning Experiences. When we are growing up, we have many experiences and the outcome of these experiences contribute to beliefs or ways of thinking that we develop. For instance, as a child I was very shy and fearful of speaking in public due to fear of making a mistake and being ridiculed. In the 7th grade I had a teacher who encouraged me to attend speech competitions. I was so excited that she thought I could be good at this that I was willing to face my fear and engage in speech competitions which I continued even throughout high school. As a result, I developed the belief "Even though talking in front of people causes anxiety I am capable of doing it." Now, if I had not had that experience and my main experience was being embarrassed in front of my class because I couldn't say the word "peculiar" when I was reading out loud (it sounds different than it looks and I couldn't get my brain to switch from the visual to the auditory because I was so anxious), I may have developed the belief "Talking in front of people leads to embarrassment which I must avoid." The problem that causes this belief to be irrational is that it is black and white--it leaves no room for alternatives. I would be assuming that talking in front of people always leads to embarrassment. Instead, by doing speech competitions I learned that talking in front of people could be enjoyable and could lead to awards.

    Trauma is an important subset of learning experiences that severely affects an individual's belief system. For example, an individual who survived a fire has a fear of low probability catastrophes. Due to the fact that a low probability catastrophe occurred to him or her, it is more difficult to challenge the thinking with a statement such as "It is unlikely to occur." Or a person who was raped and then told it was her fault because she left her door unlocked may tend to unreasonably blame herself for things that happen.  Read more...

    10 Common Errors Made in Cognitive Behavioral Therapy In the course of my twenty-five years of clinical practice, I have found a number of common errors that can prevent cognitive-behavioral therapy (CBT) from being as effective as it could be. The following describes these errors and how to correct them.

    ERROR 1: Not Understanding the Necessity of Repetition for Change

    A few years back when I was lecturing a group of psychiatric residents (future psychiatrists) about using CBT with sexually traumatized clients, one of the doctors stated “I tried that cognitive therapy with my patients and it doesn't work at all!” As I explored with her the specifics of what she had tried with her patients, I ascertained that, basically, she had told them how they should think and then expected them to change their thinking.

    When I asked her what method she used to help them practice and repeat the new ways of thinking in daily life, she was speechless. I then explained that the key to successful cognitive therapy was repetition of the statements that challenge the irrational thinking and that the therapist must use a method to help clients do that.

    People don't change their thinking just because they are told to think differently. If that was the case, most people wouldn't need CBT because someone else has probably already told them how they should think. The difference with CBT is that a variety of methods have been developed to provide the steps to change thinking.

    The importance of repetition as a key component of CBT can't be emphasized enough. This is true of any new skill. When I was training for my black belt in Kenpo karate my instructor told me “When you have done this self-defense move 6,000 times, it will be automatic.” And he was right! At first, I was awkward and slow in executing the movements. I had to think about every aspect of each move. I thought initially that it would never be automatic. However, I continued to practice. One day (after years of training) when I was teaching one of the brown belts, I realized that I was able to automatically respond to a wrist grab and put him on the ground without even thinking about it.

    Changing your thinking is learning a new skill in the same way you learn a physical skill. Read more...

    Understanding and Using the Cognitive Diary Often, when I suggest to my clients to use the Cognitive Diary to help change irrational thinking styles, they protest "But I know my thinking is wrong and how I should think. That doesn't make a difference. How will writing it down help?" Many people, even medical professionals, believe that cognitive therapy is about telling someone to think accurately. If that were the case, then we should all be thinking rationally because people are always telling one another how they should think.

    However, several aspects of using the Cognitive Diary help people to actually learn how to change their thinking. The first is developing a rationale that you can believe more than the irrational thinking. The second is repeatedly using this rationale until it becomes automatic thinking. And the third is using different sensory modalities to help reinforce the thinking. Read more...

    Danger:Negativity Ahead
    "...'I wouldn't have it any other way.' In other words, why dwell on what you can't have? Focus on what you do have."
    Many times when I first meet clients some comment, “I've tried that positive thinking and it doesn't work.” What they don't expect is that I tell them I am fully in agreement with them that positive thinking doesn't work. However, negative thinking doesn't work either. We need to develop realistic, believable thinking. Positive thinking is believing “Everything will be all right” whereas realistic thinking is “I might encounter some obstacles but I can figure it out.” As you can see, realistic thinking is more believable than positive thinking and that is what makes it effective.

    However, all too often, people believe that their negative thinking is realistic. Therefore, they need to be able to evaluate it and determine how to look at the problem more realistically. The two main problematic areas of negative thinking are negative evaluation whether of yourself, others, or the situation and negative labeling of yourself or others. Let's examine each of these types of thinking. Read more...

    "When you are in a state of mindfulness you are actually more aware and able to engage in tasks..."

    Why are meditative relaxation and mindfulness important?When I ask clients what they do for daily relaxation I usually get responses such as:

    "I relax by watching TV every night."

    "I have a glass of wine."

    "I read a book."

    "I go out with friends."

    "I go to the gym and work out."

    "I find gardening relaxing."

    "I like to fish."

    Although each of these activities may be perceived as relaxing and may even have an element of mindfulness, they don't provide the brain and body with the deep meditative relaxation we require. In fact, most of these activities are stimulating to the brain or the body rather than quieting. Read more...

    The Effectiveness of Cognitive Behavioral Treatment for Anxiety Disorders After experiencing severe heart palpitations and shortness of breath while driving, Diane rushed to the emergency room of the nearest hospital. Extensive tests showed no physical abnormalities or problems. She was told she had a panic attack and was given an anti-anxiety medication. As a result of the panic attack, she quit driving by herself because she became fearful of having another panic attack and losing control while driving. Whenever she would attempt to drive by herself, she would have a panic attack. Her family physician explained to her that Panic Disorder was a chemical imbalance and that
    medication helps to regulate the chemicals in the brain. An anti-depressant was prescribed in addition to the anti-anxiety medication. Diane found that she began to feel less anxious with the medications, but that she was still avoiding the driving due to her fear of having a panic attack. Additionally, she became concerned about needing to be on the medication for a long time and wondered if any other treatment could help. Read more...

    Depression is Not Sadness A serious problem exists with the public's understanding of depression. The problem occurs because of the clinical term "Major Depression" and the general use of the word "depression." One of the definitions in the Merriam-Webster dictionary indicates that depression is "a state of feeling sad." Therefore, the general public typically defines "depression" interchangeably with "sadness" as in "I'm so depressed today." The tendency, then, is to assume that clinical depression is just extreme sadness or the inability to handle normal stress and sadness of life.

    This assumption is not only wrong but it is a disservice to all individuals who experience one of the clinical forms of depression: Major Depressive Disorder, Dysthymic Disorder, Depression NOS (Not Otherwise Specified), or Adjustment Disorder with Depression. Read more...

    Catastrophe? Or Inconvenience? Listening to the weather forecast one frigid day, I realized how much we are influenced by the catastrophic thinking of the media.  The weatherman reported, "The weather has brought more misery to the St. Louis area."  Certainly, the weather was causing problems that day.  An ice storm caused car doors and locks to be frozen so that people had a great deal of trouble getting into their cars.  However, I thought, unless someone was in the middle of nowhere with no cell phone and they were unable to open their car door because of the ice, this was not "misery."  Instead, I would call it an "inconvenience."  Most of us walked out to our cars to find that we couldn't open the door, went back inside a warm house or office, and found some solution to our problem. Read more...

    How to Interfere with Therapy When Your Loved One Has Anxiety or Depression Most of the time parents and spouses of individuals with depressive or anxiety disorders truly want to assist in the treatment. However, sometimes their efforts may interfere due to lack of understanding or due to fears and their own internal pressure to make the situation better. So often family members may have their own irrational thinking that might influence the person with the disorder. Therefore, if you have a loved one with anxiety or depression, you may need to examine your behavior to prevent interference with their improvement. The following is a list of ways that family members interfere with treatment and some ways to change these behaviors. Read more...

    OCD and Social Phobia Janine is a 38-year-old married woman with two young children. She obsesses continuously about whether her house is neat and clean enough. She frequently stays up until three in the morning scrubbing and straightening. In addition, Janine is painfully shy and has few friends. She worries about what other people think of her and is terribly afraid of rejection. Some of her neighbors get together with their children to play in a nearby park or each other’s homes, but Janine never joins them.

    You may easily recognize that Janine has obsessive-compulsive disorder (OCD). What you may not recognize is that she has an additional anxiety disorder called social phobia. Janine is not alone; recent research (1) estimates that 24% of individuals diagnosed with OCD receive an additional diagnosis of social phobia. In fact, this study found that social phobia is the most common additional anxiety disorder diagnosis made for those individuals with OCD. Read more...

    Become a fan on Facebook! Follow on twitter for site updates! Follow on Google+ for site updates!