The Mental and Emotional
Tool Kit for Life
To fix anything that's broken, and build something better
Promises I Make
The "tools" are ten life skills.  There are a variety of
formulas, sayings, diagrams, strategies and new ways of
looking at things that help to develop these skills.  The
"tools" help people get into the best cognitive and
emotional place to make the best behavioral and lifestyle
choices for themselves and others.  

The key to how people feel and what they do is what they
choose to think about themselves, others, life, and what
happens to them.  Thoughts cause feelings, not events,
and attitude is always the father of behavior. The "tools"
The Ten Tools
E-books about the "Tool Kit"
available at and other online book outlets
The Mental and Emotional Tool Kit  $3.99  
(click on image to link to
At times, we all have more emotion than we'd like to have. It often causes us to make mistakes with
other people. For some, it gives purpose to unhealthy, self-defeating behavior that they struggle to
stop engaging in. Generating emotion is part of being human, but it's not some inevitable product of
what happens to us. We can learn to generate less emotion.  This book will show you how to.
Mental and Emotional Karate  $3.99  
(click on image to link to                             
No one can hurt our feelings. That's semantic and scientific nonsense. The truth is that it's what we
choose to think about others and what they say or do that really determines how we feel, be it hurt or
anything else. I will teach you how to use the power of choice to earn the equivalent of a black belt in
Mental and Emotional Karate and stop being a victim of others comments or actions.
The Mental and Emotional Tool Kit for Teachers and Parents  $3.99   
(click on image to link to
Parenting and teaching can be tough. It's easy to generate more emotion than is helpful and make
mistakes, especially with the most troubled and troublesome young people. This book was written by
a health education teacher who became certified in cognitive behavioral therapy to better understand
and help students, and ended up helping himself in the process. He can help you do all three things.
A Quick Emotional Tune Up $1.99  
(click on image to link to Smashwords. com)
Most people don't really understand exactly why they feel bad, and because of that, don't realize just
how easy it can be to feel better. This book is intended to do exactly what it says, give you a quick
way to tune yourself up emotionally so that your life can run smoother. There are 8 simple steps you
can take to start feeling a whole lot better quickly.  They are steps anyone can take.
Most people live their lives based on a big lie, and don't realize it. That lie is that what other people
say and do, and what happens makes them feel the way they do. Believing that lie causes people to
feel worse than they need to, and to miss many opportunities to feel better. Learn the truth about
how feelings come about, the choices you really have, and how to use those to feel better.
Stress and Anxiety - How to permanently reduce them in your life       
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There are a lot of books about how to manage stress better. The strategies other books give do
help lower stress. However, they are often what therapists call "band aids" that only give temporary
relief, and only while you're doing them. There's a difference between temporarily feeling better, and
getting better. Getting better means permanently reducing stress. This book shows you how.
It's Just an Event
It's your choice how you want to feel
Click on image to link to
So much that goes wrong in the lives of individuals, families, schools and society is caused by
people generating more emotion than is necessary or helpful in response to their life events, and
what they do because of it, or to deal with it. That is why emotional management is the most
important life skill. Many self-help books give wonderful advice and information and even teach
helpful skills. However, someone has to be in the right cognitive and emotional place to access and
act on that advice, and to perform such skills. Most self-help books neglect to teach people how to
get there. This book teaches truly effective emotional management by teaching people how to
develop an internal locus of control, to recognize and correct irrational thinking, and to have
unconditional self and other acceptance. It also teaches a step-by-step approach that can be taken
to any troublesome life situations.
(50 Minute, 2-3 hour, half or full day)

The Mental and Emotional Tool Kit                                                Troubleshooting with Troubled Students
    For teachers, student teachers, students                                       For teachers and parents
Mentally and Emotionally Vaccinating Students                             "Tool Time" Workshops / Groups
    against mental health, health and social problems                       For troubled and troublesome students
Mental and Emotional Karate                                                          A Mental and Emotional Tune-up
    against bullying and other social problems                                   For people of all ages
Mental and Emotional Fitness for Students
    to achieve more academically and athletically                        
Anger Prevention (instead of Anger Management)                         
anger is like emotional nitro-glycerin
Violence Prevention
Suicide Prevention
Alcohol and Drug Prevention
Helping Young People Make Better Choices                                   
Wellness - The Missing Ingredient

 (LinkedIn profile)                                                                     Contact Information

B.S. Health Education  M.A. Education                                              
Taught health education for 33 years                                                 
30 post graduate hours in REBT                                                        
Primary certification in REBT and REBE                                                              815-353-5312 cell
75 hours past Masters                                                                                          815-344-6115
Represents the Chicago Institute for REBT                                         
Motivational-Educational Speaker                                         
"Tool Time" group leader                                                                      
I would appreciate any feedback you could give
Adjunct Professor - International Renewal Institute                              me regarding this site. Was it helpful?

                          State and National Award Winning Nature Photographer  (

No One Upsets You, You Upset Yourself.  It's Your Choice How You  
Want to Feel  $1.99
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Whenever I speak, or run workshops or groups, I always make a few simple but important promises to those in attendance.  I
promise to teach them:

1)  How to have real power and control in and over their lives
                                      a)  How to choose whether they are going to get upset or not
                                      b)  How to feel the way they've always wanted to about themselves
                                      c)  How to feel as good as possible regardless of what happens
                                      d)  How to keep other people out of their heads
                                      e)  How to defend themselves against anyone who's been living there for too long
                                      f )  How to stop behaving in unhealthy, self-defeating ways
                                      g)  How to have their best shot at having the life they've always wanted
                              2)  To be
smarter than other people in some very important ways

The "tools" I give people can do these things.  However, they have to practice using them to realize their full potential.  It's just
like becoming a good carpenter, plumber, mechanic, doctor or anything else.  It takes practice.  
I believe we should teach these "tools" to all our young
people as they go through school.  These "tools" would be
a major ounce of prevention worth many pounds of cure for
all mental health, health, social, behavioral and academic
problems and issues that student so often struggle with.
That includes anger problems, anxiety disorders,
depression, substance use and abuse, suicide, bullying,
school shootings, and low achievement and dropping out.

I believe these "tools" should first be given to every new
and current teacher for their sake, and the sake of their  
Presentations and Workshops
Ray Mathis
The further into discipline we get, the more positive it
should become.  The exact opposite usually occurs in
most families, schools, and society.  Teaching the "tools"
could be a way to make discipline positive.  They should
be taught to all troubled and troublesome young people,
especially those in alternative schools or who are
incarcerated.  They just want
In Our Schools
The "Tool Time" Approach to Discipline Problems
students. Once teachers see the value of these"tools" in
their own lives, it will be much easier to enlist their expertise
and help in teaching the "tools" to students in age
appropriate ways.  Teaching these "tools" to students
should be approached in the same way we approach
teaching reading and writing across the curriculum.  They
are as, if not more important to success in school and in life
as reading and writing.
the same kind of life they've always seen others have.  
They've just never known how to get that for themselves.  
Many lose hope.  The "tools" can help them have the life
they've always wanted.  To read more about what this
approach entails, click here >
TOOL TIME for troubled and
troublesome students
Why a Tool Kit?
Imagine someone who day after day uses furniture or
equipment that has loose screws, and therefore is not as
stable as he would like. And this person does not own a
screwdriver, and is not all that familiar with tools of any
kind. There’s also some piece of furniture he has always
wanted to build for himself, but it uses a lot of screws to
hold it together. Suppose you gave him a screwdriver. My
guess is that he would tighten all those loose screws he
comes across day after day, and finally build that piece of
furniture he has always wanted.

A lot of people have things in their lives that are broken
and need fixing. By broken I mean they have thoughts and
feelings they don’t like having and their life is not what they
would like it to be. Others might even jokingly say they
have some "loose screws" that need tightening.

When you fix anything, or build anything, there are only so
many tools you can use. There’s an old saying in the
building trades that “Any job is easy if you use the right
tool”. The same is true when people have something
broken in their lives, and struggle with thoughts and
feelings they don’t like having. Or, want to have a better
life.  There are only so many “tools” available, and if you
use the right ones, it’s fairly easy to fix what’s broken, and
build something better.
When I took 30 hours of grad classes in Rational Emotive
Behavioral Therapy (REBT), my instructor for all of those
classes was a practicing REBT therapist in the Chicago
area named Terry London.  Terry used to always say his
classes were “cheap therapy”. He was right. He gave me
“tools” from REBT, and I was able to tighten all those
proverbial “loose screws” in my life, and build a better life
for myself.  I believe other people can do the same if they
are given the same “tools”.

I gave those same “tools” to my students for much of my 33
year career as a health education teacher, and for seven
years since as a speaker. The "tools" worked for them as
well as they did for me. Teaching the "tools" to them helped
me a lot. Over the years, I started calling the ten "tools" the
“Mental and Emotional Tool Kit for Life”. Each "tool" in the
"tool kit" plays an important role, and compliments the
others. You can read about each on this site.

I can’t fix what might be broken in your life, or build some-
thing better for you. Only you can do that. But I can give you
the “tools".  I’m betting it will be like giving that person
above a screwdriver. Just like it was for me.  With practice,
you could get pretty good at using these “tools”, just like
carpenters, plumbers and electricians do with their tools.  
You could even pass them on to others.
Make a list of all the things people of all ages struggle
with.  Many of those things are literally defined by them
generating what I call a dysfunctional amount of emotion.
By that I mean more than is necessary or helpful for the
situation they find themselves in, more than they want to
have, more than they know what to do with, and more than
is healthy for them.

Emotion can be nice to have. For example, joy, happiness
and pride. It can also be helpful energy to move to motivate
us and help us act to make our lives better. Frustration will
make us try harder, and concern will make us take helpful
precautions. Anger and anxiety, which are part of our "fight
or flight" response, can protect us from threats. The
problem is that people can imagine or manufacture threats
that don't exist, or needlessly magnify ones that do by the
way they think. Then the emotion works against them
instead of for them.  

Many people are said to have anger problems, and
overreact emotionally to too much in their lives. Others
have anxiety disorders and are needlessly stressed out.
Still others are guilt or shame ridden, and/or depressed.

These folks often say and do things that make their lives
worse, including seeking relief from how they feel through
Defining Broken
all manner of unhealthy ways. They engage in violence,
abuse, or bullying, or tolerate others doing such things to
them. They might smoke, drink, use drugs, overeat or have
eating disorders, self-harm or even attempt to take their own
lives to get relief from their feelings, and the thoughts that
cause them. They often ruin career opportunities and
relationships they care about, and destroy their own lives
and those of others. Some end up incarcerated because of
what they do. All these things happen because they have a
dysfunctional amount of emotion, and don't know what to do
about it. Shame can even get in the way of them seeking or
accepting help that is available to them.

Most people think such emotion is caused by the events of
peoples' lives. If people generate a dysfunctional amount of
emotion in response to, or in reaction to their life events,
that's perfectly understandable and part of being human.
However, as you'll learn if you read on, it's really what we all
choose to think about what happens to us that really causes
how we feel.

The "tools" in the "toolkit" are all necessary and sufficient to
help anyone, of any age, get control over their emotional
thermostat. If people practice using them, they'll get good at
keeping their thermostats turned down, and turning them
down quickly should they suddenly get turned up.
Most people know when they have a dysfunctional
amount of emotion in their lives. However, they don't
always fully appreciate how it can negatively impact their
lives. That's especially true when they are angry. Anger
gives people a false sense of power, righteousness,
permission and protection that can preclude them from
seeing how their emotion works against them. The main
way too much emotion works against people is that it
makes them react to life events rather than response to
them. They become less response-able, or able to respond
to life events in the best possible way. I like to give people a
THINK-FEEL-DO thermostat model to help them better see
the role emotion plays in their lives, and help them see why
they feel the way they do, and what they  can do  to  turn
their thermostat down.  
Read more.....
Shame comes from believing (being told) you don't live
up to expectations. We all have plenty of expectations
place on us by others, and often place more on
ourselves. That means plenty of opportunities to feel
shame. Shame is often the primary feeling people seek
relief from through alcohol, drugs, or even suicide.
Shame can play out as anxiety and anger. It's why kids
shut down and eventually drop out of school. Shame can
also make people keep what they think and feel a secret,
and make them less likely to seek or accept help that's
available to them. That's common in "bullicides" and school
shootings. The solution is to teach and encourage people of
all ages to have what Dr. Albert Ellis called Unconditional
Self-Acceptance (USA) and Unconditional Other
Read more....
Most people have an external locus of control. They
wrongly believe that what others say and do and what
happens actually makes them feel the way they do. That
puts them at the mercy of others, and their life events. It
needlessly puts others and life events in control of their
emotional thermostats. That often causes them to feel
worse than they need to, for longer than necessary. It's
actually what we think about what others say and do and
what happens that really causes how we feel. We all have a
host of cognitive choices we make all the time, usually
without being aware that we do, that really determine how
we feel. Learning how feelings really come about, what
those choices are, and to use this knowledge to our
advantage is called developing an internal locus of control.
Doing so can be extremely empowering. It's the main way to
gain control over our own emotional thermostats.
Read more
help them get there.

The "tools" are mainly from
Rational Emotive Behavioral
(REBT).  REBT was developed by the late Dr.
Albert Ellis.  REBT is a highly educational and self-help
approach to therapy.  Dr. Ellis always said therapy should
be educational, and education can be very therapeutic.  

To learn about why each "tool" is important, what each
entails, and how to teach it, click on the hyperlinks below.
Thoughts cause feelings, not events. Attitude is always
the father of behavior. That's why recognizing irrational
thinking is so important. By irrational, I mean that the way
people think causes them to generate more emotion than
is helpful or necessary, and to say and do things that
make their lives worse instead of better. Dr. Albert Ellis
identified a pattern to such thinking. He called the four
basic types of irrational thinking Demandiness, Awfulizing,
Can't Stand It-itis, and Label and Damning. These types of
thoughts are usually well rehearsed and practiced, and
therefore automatic. It's why people so often engage in them
and don't realize it. Teaching them to recognize when they
do is a big step toward getting better.
Read more....
There are some simple ways to correct irrational thinking.
Every thought we have, or comment we make is basically
our personal theory or hypothesis about the way we,
others and life is, or should be. We need to apply the
scientific method to these personal theories and
hypotheses the same way scientists do with theirs. Does
the evidence of our past and everyday life support our
theories and hypotheses, or does it perhaps refute them and
suggest better ones? We want to practice disputing,
challenging and questioning our irrational thoughts so that
doing so becomes automatic. We want this process to
become like spell check or grammar check on a computer.
To read about more specific ways to dispute, question and
challenge irrational thinking, click here.
Read more....
Most peoples' thoughts and actions are well practice and
rehearsed. That makes them very automatic. Their
thoughts often cause them to generate a dysfunctional
amount of emotion, which makes them more likely to react
to their life events, and less response-able, or able to
respond to life in the best possible ways. That's why they
often keep making the same mistakes. It's why they often
recreate their pasts, and why their histories become their
destinies. That could be good, but often isn't. Dr. Ellis
developed a five step process by which to approach any
potentially troublesome life events. If followed, it helps
people get into a much better cognitive and emotional place.
It helps them generate a more functional amount of emotion.
That allows them to respond to life rather than react to it. It
frees them to access and act on helpful advice and
information they have, and to make better behavioral and
lifestyle choices.
Read more....
Most people use YOU Messages when talking to others.
That's especially true when they are angry. YOU
Messages include threats, orders, demands, criticism,
ridicule, and name-calling. They are also called solution
messages because they try to tell others what to do, and
take away from them their right to choose. They usually
involved pointing a finger at others. No one likes either of
these things. Therefore, YOU Messages are usually very
ineffective ways of communicating. They usually cause
conflicts to escalate. People are usually less likely to get
what they really want in the long run when they use YOU
Messages. I Messages are much more effective ways to
communicate. They simply give others information and leave
it up to them what they want to do about it.
Behavior is always goal-orientated. It always starts and
continues because it serves a purpose of some kind.
Ideally, everything we do would take us closer to getting
those things we really want in life. Like living as long as
possible, being healthy instead of sick, being happy instead
of unhappy, being successful instead of failing, having good
relations with others, and as much freedom to do as we
please, and control over our own destinies as possible.
Unfortunately, human beings often have what Rudolph
Dreikurs called "mistake" goals. These get people off
course from getting what they really want. They get some
satisfaction from what they do, but make it less likely they'll
get what they really want in the long run. It can be very
helpful to learn to recognize when we and others have
"mistaken" goals that get us off course.
People don't like others telling them they're doing something
"wrong". That's true regardless of whether it's something
they're thinking, feeling, saying or doing. It always feels
critical and judgmental. That's because it often is. However,
if people keep thinking, feeling, saying and doing what they
always have, they'll keep getting what they've always have
gotten. That could be good or bad. When it's bad, it would
help to have a simple but non-judgmental way for the to
evaluate their own thoughts, feelings and actions.
Read more....
People often want to change the way they think, feel, say
and do things, but struggle to do so. They often give up
after repeated attempts that fail. Brain physiology is a
double-edged sword. It can work for us, or against us. If we
get off to a good start in life, and think, feel, say and do
things that make our lives better, brain physiology is a
blessing. Many people seem to be on automatic pilot for a
great life. However, if we get off to a rough start, and think,
feel, say and do things that make our lives worse, brain
physiology can be a curse. We all create cognitive,
emotional and behavioral RUTS from practicing and
rehearsing thinking, feelings and behaving in certain ways.
RUTS can be good or bad things to have. It depends on
what thoughts, feelings and behaviors they lead to. Knowing
about RUTS can help us see what we're up against if and
when we want to change the way we think, feel, say and do
Read more....