Do irrational thoughts increase stress in my life?

Think of a situation in which your irrational beliefs could have  increased stress in your life. Dr. Albert Ellis developed a ABCDE technique in which to examine our irrational beliefs.[1],[2]

 Briefly stated: A stands for the stressor of ( activating agent). B stands for the belief system supports perceiving the stressor as stressful. C stands for the consequences which are a result of that belief. and D stands for the argument one poses to dispute the irrational belief. E stands for the effect, or changed consequences which follow once the belief is disputed.

For example, in order to get angry when driving my car when someone passes me, I first, must see the A. event or stressor as personalized at me." That car passed me and deliberately cut me off." Secondly, I must have a B belief that states that the driver should not have done that. The C consequence is that I will show the driver and speed up and go around him/her which activates my fight-or-flight response.. D Let me dispute that belief. Probably, the driver was in a hurry as he/she had something important to do. The driver  did not know me, therefore his/her passing my car t could not have been personal. E. I will drive normally and not speed up and continue driving safely.

Now see if you can give an example, of how one of your irrational thoughts which evokes a stressful response. Fill in the sentences below:

A. What is the stressor that I interpret is personal?

B. What is my belief that perpetuates this interpretation?

C. What is the consequence? How does this activate my fight-or-flight pattern?

D. How can I dispute the belief?

E. What  will be the less stressful consequence that will result?


 1. Jerrold S. Greenberg, Comprehensive Stress Management, 6th ed., Boston: McGraw-Hill, 1999, p.131

  2. Brian Luke Seaward, Managing Stress: Principles and Strategies for Health and Wellbeing, 3rd ed., Boston: Jones and Bartlett Publishers, 2002, p.177, 181

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