SKILLS

OF

LIVING

A Complete Course in You and
What You Can
Do About Yourself

William L. Mikulas

 

Copyright © 1983 by

William L. Mikulas

University Press of American Inc.

4720 Boston Way

Lanham, MD 20706

3 Henrietta Street

London WC2E 8LU England

All rights reserved

Printed in the United States of America



Library of Congress Cataloging in Publication Data

Mikulas, William L.

Skills of living.

1.

Life skills. I. Title.

HQ2037.M54

1983

158.l

83-10367

ISBN 0-81 91-3340-X

ISBN 0-8191-3341-8 (pbk.)

No part of this book may be used or reproduced in any manner whatsoever without written permission, except in the case of brief quotations embodied in articles and reviews.


for BENITA.

 


CONTENTS

ABOUT THIS BOOK
1
BASIC STRATEGY
3
Will Power?
4
Understanding vs. action
4
Relax
5
Set up a program
6
Take small steps
7
Revise your program
8
Help from others
8
Summary
9
KNOW YOURSELF
11
Written records
12
When and where?
14
What do you do?
15
What happens?
15
What you will find?
15
Goals
16
SECTION TWO: GENERAL TECHNIQUES
INTRODUCTION TO SECTION TWO
17
CHANGE OF SCENE
19
Remove
19
Avoid
20
Restrict
20
Remindes
21
The big change
22
Social support
22
RELAXING BODY AND MIND
25
Relaxation area and time
26
Diaphragm breathing
27
Deep breathing
28
Muscle relaxation
28
Muscle relaxation list
31
Muscle relaxation practice
32
Meditation
33
Suggested reading
38
CALM AND RELAXED LIVING
39
Practice in relaxation area
39
Into the world
41
Other aids
42
Sleeping problems
43
Suggested reading
45
GETTING MOTIVATED
47
Rewards
48
Types of rewards
49
Simple contracts
50
Complex contracts
51
Example
53
GETTING ORGANIZED
57
Memory aids
57
Lists
59
Priorities
60
Suggested Reading
61
OUT OF HABIT
Good habits
63
Bad habits
64
Nervous habits
64
Desires
66
Disrupt the sequence
67
Overloading
68
Unpleasant assocations
68
Suggested reading
70
WHAT DO YOU THINK
71
Postive thinking
71
Basic principles
72
Changing your mind
72
Developing mental flexibility
73
Quieting the mind
73
Observing thinking
73
Evaluating thoughts
74
Take action
76
Reducing undesired thoughts
76
Increasing desired thoughts
78
All together
80
Talking to yourself
80
Suggested reading
81
MENTAL REHEARSAL
83
Examples
84
Variations
85
Suggested reading
86
NUTRITION AND EXERCISE
89
Getting in touch
89
Nutrition
90
General nutrition principles
91
Weight loss
92
Exercise
92
General conditioning
93
Muscle tone and posture
93
Flexibility
94
Burning calories
94
Meditation
95
General exercise principles
95
Suggested reading
97
SECTION THREE: SPECIAL PROBLEMS
INTRODUCTION TO SECTION THREE
99
FEARS
101
Relax
102
Know your fear
102
Infrequent specific fears
104
Non-specific fears
105
Anxiety hierarchy
106
Sample hierarchies
107
Reducing your fears: imagination
108
Reducing your fears: real world
110
Additional ills
111
Suggested reading
111
EATING AND WEIGHT CONTROL
113
Observe your eating
114
Small steps
115
Setting up a program
115
Feelings
116
Thoughts
116
Remove and avoid
116
Restrict
117
Meals
118
Desires
120
Support from others
120
Social eating
121
Long-term maintenance
121
Suggested reading
122
SMOKING
123
How did you begin?
123
But why continue?
123
A stop smoking program
124
Reasons to stop
124
Excuses
126
Observe your smoking
127
Feelings and thoughts
127
Remove, avoid, restrict
128
Make smoking a commotion
129
Make smoking less desirable
129
Alternatives for hands and mouth
129
Quitting
130
Staying a non-smoker
132
Suggested reading
133
ALCOHOL
135
Do you having a drinking problem?
136
Reducing drinking
136
Reasons to decrease drinking
137
Observe your drinking
137
Related problems
138
Thoughts
139
Remove and avoid
139
Alternatives
139
Decreasing desires
140
Cutting down
140
Staying free
141
Suggested reading
142
SEX
142
Uptightness
143
Inadequate education
144
Troublesome beliefs
145
Sexual development
147
Professional help?
148
Get the facts
148
Know yourself
149
Communication
150
Medical checkup
152
Anxiety
153
General principles
153
Specific dysfunctions
154
Sexual fantasies
159
Conclusion
163
Suggested reading
163
LEARNING AND REMEMBERING
165
Memory aids
165
Attention
165
Association
166
Mental imagery
168
Memory system
169
Studying
169
SQ3R
171
Suggested reading
173
SECTION FOUR: EFFECTIVE AND HAPPY LIVING
INTRODUCTION TO SECTION FOUR
175
PERSONAL FREEDOM
177
Becoming freer
177
Simple examples
178
Personal freedom
179
Suggested reading
181
HAPPINESS
183
Sources of pleasure
183
Your happiness
183
Pleasure and happiness
184
What doesn't work
186
What does work
188
You are responsible
190
Becoming happier
190
Beyond happiness
191
Suggested reading
191
LOVE
Unconditional acceptance
194
Love yourself unconditionally
194
Loving others
195
Aggression
196
Suggested reading
198
INNER PEACE
199
Your center
199
Quieting your mind
200
Opening your heart
201
Unconditional acceptance
201
Going with the flow
203
Being centered
204
MINDFULNESS
205
Meditation
205
General mindfulness
207
Mindfulness of behavior
209
Mindfulness of body
209
Mindfulness of perceptions
210
Mindfulness of feelings
211
Mindfulness of mind
212
The witness
213
Be mindful
214
Suggested reading
214
COMMUNCIATION
215
Listening
215
Honesty
216
I versus you messages
218
Problem-solving
219
Suggested reading
219
CHOOSING A COUNSELOR
221
FEEDBACK
225
TECHNICAL OVERVIEW
227


There are two different prefaces to this book. For the general reader the first chapter (About This Book) is the preface ‘and you should start there (p. 1). For professionals (e.g. counselors, psychologists, college professors) I have included a second “preface” (Technical Overview) at the end of the book (p. 227).

For the content of this book I am indebted to numerous sources and disciplines. I have particularly learned from my major teachers: my students, clients, and workshop participants. In the preparation of the book I received major and significant help from my partner and best friend, Benita. She made numerous suggestions about style and content. She also typed all drafts of the book, a task that was often tedious. I also want to thank several friends who made comments on specific chapters: Rod Voss (chap. 13), Dave Red— fering (19), Bryan Standley (22), and Jack Keller (28).

WLM

April 1983