The Art Of Christian Living

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Book Review: Ask Albert Ellis? Straight Answers and Sound Advice from America’s Best-Known Psychologist

Self-care is a word that may have a negative connotation especially when the meaning is misunderstood. Self-care is important for every human on this busy planet. Taking your time to look after yourself is vital. No one can take care of yourself like you do, just as no knows you better than you. Self-Care to me means purposefully paying attention to things that are important to your wellbeing such as: your physical health, mental health, your values, your interests/desires, your hobbies etc. All these components affect your health, and wellbeing. Health is typically defined as being multidimensional, requiring a degree of depth and balance between emotional health, intellectual health, social health and spiritual health (Hawks, 2004). The World Health Organization says, ‘Health’ is a state of complete physical, mental and social wellbeing and not merely the absence of disease or infirmity (World Health Organization, 1986). ‘WHO’ continue to suggest that engaging in regular physical activity can help lower risk of heart disease, stroke and high blood pressure; reduce the risk of developing type II diabetes and some cancers; help build and maintain healthy bones, muscles and joints reducing the risk of injury; and promote psychological well-being and reduce feelings of stress, anxiety and depression.

A few months ago, after reading and learning the importance of Self-Care, I decided to do some self-reflection and determined to retake stock of my values, and below are some of my values. You can list your values for visual purposes and as continuous reminder.

  • Appreciation – I love to appreciate life and receive/welcome life everyday as a present.
  • Compassion – Having compassion toward others helps me to see the world in a different lens.
  •  Diligence – Being diligent helps me to realize that perfection is not what I need in order to succeed in life.
  • Perseverance – I love this value because when life gets tough it helps me to keep pressing forward.
  • My favorite things – I love cooking and creating recipes. Time does not matter when I get lost in my cooking. 

            *Another favorite thing is taking long walks. Even if it is just for thirty minutes, my day lightens up.

*Running is also something I enjoy. I love having my quiet time every morning and in the evening before going to bed. Usually I read devotional books or scriptures, listen or watch sermons or TED-talks.

*What am I grateful for – I am grateful for my life, always thankful that I get to see another day and share the experience with friends and family.  I thank God for giving me such an awesome family. I am grateful for the opportunity to start a blog where I can share my experiences and figure out, life like most of us are doing.  

Book Review: Ask Albert Ellis?

I read this book for one my classes, and lately I started reading it again. It is a Self-Help book, again, actively looking or seeking ways to improve one’s mental or physical health is most of the time a win-win situation. That’s why I wanted to review this book and share my thoughts as someone who is working on the idea of Self-Care. I will do it in a series, and today’s post will be about the Author, and a synopsis of the book. Not everything in this book will be everyone’s cup of tea, just like it isn’t always mine, but there are relevant tips we can all learn.

Authors: Albert Ellis, Ph.D.

Ellis was a well-known Psychologist and the founder of REBT (Rational Emotive Behavior Therapy), speaker and a writer. He published approximately fifty books and more than five hundred articles (Wilson,2013).

Awards/Prizes Won: Won numerous awards such as ACA Professional Development Award (1988).The Association for Behavioral and Cognitive Therapies presented him the ‘Outstanding Clinician Award (1996), Lifetime Achievement Award by the Association for Behavioral and Cognitive Therapies (2005)

Genre: Nonfiction, Research, Self -Help, Educational

Book Title: Ask Albert Ellis? Straight Answers and Sound Advice from America’s Best-Known Psychologist. The title of the book fits it perfectly. Ellis answered heart burning questions from the general public and mental health professionals as well. It is an interesting title though.

Preface/introduction/table of content: The book is divided into three main categories; About Rational Behavior Therapy, About Living a More Rational and Healthy Life, and About Doing REBT. (Ellis, 2003)

Brief Synopsis

This book was written for the purpose of answering the frequent questions that people have regarding REBT, and how to live their lives according to the principles of REBT, for which ‘Rational’ thinking or belief is one of the main core. The book summarized some of the main principles in a question and answer format. Several mental disorders or issues were discussed and, since it a self-help book, Ellis gave seemed to be very practical and everyday language was used for the benefit of easy understanding by the reader. Questions or issues such as how to gain and maintain happiness, strategies of coping with specific kinds of emotional problems: anxiety, depression, anger, grief for death, interpersonal relationship problems.  Ellis answered questions that model the REBT approach to therapy: straightforward, direct, no-nonsense (as some people call it), brutal honesty. Ellis gave personal example from his own experiences with clients he worked with and also several thinkers who motivated his philosophy.

            Ellis elaborated that the causes of emotional disturbances are our perception or interpretation of things or events. He stated “What troubles us in life is not what happens to us, but how we react to what happens” (Ellis, p.3, 2003). This book helps readers change self-defeating attitudes by identifying crippling beliefs or thought patterns that keep us from achieving happiness or self-actualization in areas of interest. Ellis also reinforced three main philosophies; Unconditional self-acceptance (USA), Unconditional other-acceptance (UOA), and Accepting the world and its real frustrations (Ellis, p.127, 2003). Basically the self-help book wants readers to embrace these three philosophies and change irrational beliefs to rational beliefs. This is perfectly exemplified through the ‘Serenity Prayer’

God, grant me the serenity to accept the things I cannot change,
Courage to change the things I can,
And wisdom to know the difference.

Series #1


Ellis, A. (2003). Ask Albert Ellis: Straight answers and sound advice from Americas best known psychologist. Atascadero, CA: Impact.

Hawks, S. (2004). Spiritual Wellness, Holistic Health, and the Practice of Health

Education. American Journal of Health Education, 35(1), 11-18. doi:10.1080/19325037.2004.10603599

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