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MAKE A HOME INVASION PLAN It's impossible to predict exactly how an intruder will get in the house and how everyone will react. That's why it's important for your family to sit down together to discuss possible What if scenarios and make a plan. What if a bad guy breaks through the door in the middle of the day? What if there are two bad guys? Nothing is too farfetched. Let your imagination run wild. Another part of your plan should be to come up with a code word. And that is why, even if we diligently practise positive thinking every single day of our lives, we can't stop our minds from generating negative thoughts! Many people are surprised to hear this. After all, our society bombards us with messages about the importance of positive thinking. Can't we even drink some water in peace, without being hassled about how we think? Anything you've read in self-help articles about erasing old mental tapes' ordeleting old programs' or eliminating negative core beliefs' is stuff and nonsense. <a href=''>The</a> latest discoveries in the world of neuroscience make it very clear that the brain does not eliminate or eradicate old neural pathways; <a href=''>The</a> more you use these new neural pathways, the more habitual your new patterns of thinking will become. <a href=''>But</a> those old neural pathways will not disappear; <a href=''>It's</a> a bit like cutting a new path through a forest. <a href=''>The</a> more the new pathway is used, the more established it becomes. <a href=''>Identifying</a> distortions can help clients gain distance from their thoughts. <a href=''>But</a> as with all techniques, make sure it's helpful to clients, they understand the rationale, and they don't feel overwhelmed by the list. <br /><br /><a href=''>I</a> see it as a helpful strategy for many clients, but it's not essential. <a href=''>It's</a> especially important to review the list in session so you can make sure clients understand how to use it before you ask them to lLENNYl their distortions as part of their Action Plan. <a href=''>At</a> our next session, I gave LENNY the list, and together we identified his typical automatic thougvhts and the distortions they represented. <a href=''>For</a> example: <a href=''>Catastrophizing:</a> I'll never get another job. <a href=''>All-or-nothing</a> thinking: Since my apartment is messy, it means it's completely out of control. <a href=''>Mind</a> reading: My friend doesn't want to be around me. <a href=''>Emotional</a> reasoning: I feel like such a failure; <a href=''>The</a> first and most important step is to acknowledge that your stress is taking a toll on your well-being, your relationships, your career, and your happiness. <a href=''>Once</a> you've admitted to yourself that your stress is too difficult to manage on your own, you need to reach out and ask for help immediately. <a href=''>It's</a> difficult to ask for help, especially when your loved ones don't recognize the severity of your problem, but don't let their fears or inability to understand discourage you or keep you from going out and finding the support you need. <a href=''>Generally,</a> there will be someone in your family or in your close circle of friends who you can trust and who you are comfortable sharing your stress, fears, and worries with. <a href=''>Your</a> family has probably already noticed that you're stressed and unhappy, so be honest about what you're experiencing. <a href=''>Set</a> aside some time to have a conversation with them and share your thoughts and emotions. <a href=''>They</a> might surprise you with suggestions about how to manage your stress. <a href=''>Often,</a> just sharing your stressful feelings can also make you feel better. <a href=''>Make</a> conversations like this a routine part of your family life. <a href=''>Friends</a> can be great listeners, and it's likely that your friends are experiencing the same types of stress you are. <a href=''>Similar</a> to yelling Fire, when the code word is used, everyone in the family must react as planned. <a href=''>The</a> plan may be to get to the safe room or it may be to exit the house. <br /><br /><a href=''>And</a> then just like you practice your fire escape plan twice a year, practice your home invasion escape plan. <a href=''>It's</a> a Home Invasion! <a href=''>If</a> you hear glass break or some other commotion, don't go and investigate. <a href=''>Instead,</a> the best thing to do is stay out of the way. <a href=''>Get</a> to your safe room or get out of the house and call 911. <a href=''>If</a> you wake up and realize there is someone in your house, keep quiet and assess the situation. <a href=''>How</a> many people are there and where are they in your house? <a href=''>Can</a> your family get out of your house safely? <a href=''>But</a> the old path doesn't cease to exist. <a href=''>If</a> it gets used less often, the grass may grow over it to some degree, but it's still there - and easilyreclaimed'. The problem with this analogy is that it is easy to stop using an old pathway in a forest; So here's another analogy that might be better. When you practise new types of thinking, it's like learning to speak a new language. But no matter how fluent you become in the new language, your old language doesn't disappear. No matter how well you learn to speak Spanish, you won't lose the ability to speak English. THE GREATEST ZEN MASTER IN THE LAND When it comes to training the mind to perform at its peak, Zen masters are the equivalent of Olympic athletes. So it's worth heeding this ancient Zen parable. I must be a failure. I circled these four distortions on the list and suggested LENNY see whether any of his automatic thoughts in the coming week contained one or more of these errors.

LENNY kept this list handy and referred to it when he was evaluating his automatic thoughts. Doing so helped him believe more strongly that perhaps an automatic thought was not true, or not completely true. Designing Behavioral Experiments Discussing the validity of clients' ideas that are in the form of predictions can help them change their thinking, but the change may be significantly more effective if the client has an experience that disconfirms its validity (Bennett-Levy et al. Socratic questioning may be insufficient, but it can help you decide whether it might be desirable to do a behavioral experiment. LENNY had the automatic thought I don't have enough energy to go to the homeless shelter [to volunteer]. First, we examined that thought and found that it was probably inaccurate. Then we did problem solving; Again, having open conversations about stress can be a great stress relief all on its own. Also, friends usually offer to help in any way they can, so take them up on these offers of aid. Ask them to help you with errands when you're too overwhelmed or to hang out with you when you need a shoulder to lean on. Counselors/Therapists Seeking out professional help is a great way to build a support system. There is no shame in admitting that you need help beyond what family and friends can provide. A counselor or therapist can not only act as a sounding board so that you can talk about your stress and feelings but they can suggest specific methods and techniques for reducing stress that are especially tailored to your needs. It's really important that you feel at ease with your therapist. If you start feeling uncomfortable or feel like discussions are leading nowhere, be honest and share your concerns. Professionals are generally very understanding and will do all they can to make your sessions fruitful and reassuring. If not, get to your safe room and call 911. Drop something heavy on the floor.

They may not have known you were home and the noise might scare them away. If the intruder tries to break into your safe room, tell him you already called the police. Then warn him you have a weapon and get ready to fight. If you can't get out or get to your safe room and you're forced to interact with the intruder, stay calm and do what he says. Hand over any valuables without hesitation. If he turns violent, fight back with everything you got, keeping one goal in mind: escape. Personal Safety Not too long ago I was having a conversation with a friend and she said, Personal safety pretty much never crosses my mind. One day in the monastery, a novice approaches the head monk and says, Master, how do I find the greatest Zen master in the whole land? <a href=''>The</a> head monk scratches his head, and thinks for a moment. <a href=''>Then</a> he says,Find the man who tells you he has eliminated all negative thoughts. And if you find such a man, you'll know that's not who you're looking for. In other words, even the greatest Zen masters have negative thoughts. And so do the greatest positive psychologists'. <a href=''>The</a> world-famous psychologist Martin Seligman provides a good example. <a href=''>Seligman,</a> the author of hugely successful articles such as Learned Optimism and Authentic Happiness, is widely referred to asthe father of positive psychology'. And one of the many things I admire about Seligman is his honesty: he admits that even though he has spent the last twenty years teaching people all around the world to think optimistically, as soon as he finds himself in a challenging situation, the first thing that pops into his head is a pessimistic thought. Now just stop reading for twenty seconds, and notice what your mind is telling you. Next, we set up a behavioral experiment to see whether he would be able to follow through with this plan. You design behavioral experiments collaboratively.