4 new beliefs for a surprising boost in happiness!

4 new beliefs for a surprising boost in happiness!

via Eric Barker

Traffic upsets you. People upset you. Your job upsets you… Wrong, wrong and wrong.

Actually, none of those things upset you. Your beliefs about them do. That’s what the ancient Stoic philosophers believed.

From The Daily Stoic:

“People are not disturbed by things, but by the views they take of them.” – Epictetus

Let’s say you expect something to cost $90. Turns out it costs $80. You’re thrilled. But if you expect it to cost $30 and it costs $80, you want to murder someone. Price didn’t change. Your belief did. And that determined your reaction.

Oh, and science agrees with the Stoics here. Big time. Albert Ellis was a psychologist and he took the ideas of the Stoics and weaponized them into some of the most effective therapies that professionals use today.

How big a deal was Albert? According to a survey of psychologists he was the 2nd most influential psychotherapist ever. Sigmund Freud came in third. Here’s what Wikipedia says about his system:

In general REBT is arguably one of the most investigated theories in the field of psychotherapy and a large amount of clinical experience and a substantial body of modern psychological research have validated and substantiated many of REBTs theoretical assumptions on personality and psychotherapy.

And Albert says your beliefs are what cause the majority of unhappiness, anger, and anxiety you experience. Problem is, some of these beliefs are sneaky.

You don’t even realize they’re there. If I told you that you believed them, you’d deny it. But they’re often dictating your reactions — and making you miserable in the process.

So what are some of the most common problematic beliefs Albert identified – and how do we fix them?

Let’s get to it…

#1: “This shouldn’t be happening!”

This is the big one. Here’s how Albert describes the #1 irrational belief we all too often hold:

“People and things should always turn out the way I want them to and if they don’t, it’s awful, terrible, and horrible, and that’s not fair.”

Sounds ridiculous. You would never say that, right? Problem is, you often believe it without realizing it.

Say I tell you this toaster over here almost never works. You try to use the toaster. It doesn’t work. Do you get furious and throw the toaster at me? No. Reality met expectations. No surprises. No emotional outburst. Now let’s apply that same logic in a different scenario…

You know the world is not always a fair place, right? But then something unfair happens and… you go ballistic. Does that make sense? Nope.

If you really believed the world wasn’t always fair and the world promptly delivered some unfairness, you wouldn’t get all bent out of shape. Reality met expectations. But what you really believe is the world shouldn’t be unfair to you. And that, my dear friend, is crazy talk.

Here’s Albert:

We know the world is not fair, yet we still get overly upset when it’s unfair to us. We start thinking, very early on, that the world should be fair to us in particular… The “upsetness” doesn’t make the problem go away or solve anything (as a matter of fact, you probably make poorer decisions, and deal with others less effectively), but you don’t question your reaction because it seems so natural.

So how do you stop getting angry when life (which you acknowledge is unfair) does exactly what you said it would (and acts unfairly)? You need to change that underlying belief — the one you didn’t know you had.

Next time you find yourself getting upset, notice it. Pause. And then:

  • Identify the underlying belief: “Uh-oh. I’m believing that this unfair life must treat me fairly, aren’t I?”
  • Dispute that belief: “Is this belief rational?” No. Uh-uh. No way, no how.
  • Replace the belief: So what’s a more reasonable stance? “I would prefer to be treated fairly, but I know things aren’t always going to be to my liking. I’m not surprised and I’m not going to lose my cool.”

(To learn more about the science of a successful life, check out my bestselling book here.)

Okay, so outside events aren’t always gonna go your way and holding an underlying belief that is aligned with that can make life’s ups and downs much easier to manage.

But what beliefs about your own behavior does Ellis say regularly cause you problems?

…keep reading the full & original article HERE