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Stress Mastery: The Art of Coping Gracefully by Ph.D. LAUREL BRUCATO, Ph.D. DOMINIC BRUCATO, Ph.D. JUAN R. ABASCAL

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Dealing with Irrational Beliefs

Another powerful way humans create stress for themselves is by doing what Albert Ellis (1975) called catastrophizing, which happens when you give yourself messages that a situation is too awful or overwhelming to bear, or that the worst is about to happen. These messages, also termed self-talk by Ellis or automatic thoughts by Aaron Beck (1970), refer to running commentary that goes on in your head during the course of the day. Most of it is mundane and benign, but problems arise when your perceptions are influenced by automatic thoughts that reflect irrational beliefs. Many studies have documented the link between irrational beliefs and anxiety (Bonner & Rich, 1991), but not all irrational beliefs cause stress. ...

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