Whether you’re suffering from panic attacks, obsessive thoughts, unrelenting worries, or an incapacitating phobia, it’s important to know that you don’t have to live with anxiety and stress. Treatment can help, and for many anxiety problems, therapy is often the most effective option. While many different types of therapy are used to treat anxiety, Cognitive Behavioral Therapy (CBT) is the most widely-used therapy for anxiety disorders. Research has shown it to be effective in the treatment of the panic disorder, phobias, social anxiety disorder, and generalized anxiety disorder, among many other conditions.
CBT may be used alone or combined with other types of therapy. Anxiety therapy may be conducted individually, or it may take place in a group of people with similar anxiety problems. But the goal is the same: to lower one’s anxiety levels, calm mind, overcome negative thoughts and distortions.
But, what exactly is CBT?
Cognitive Behavioral Therapy is a prevalent and proven technique to medicate anxiety issues and disorders like social and generalized anxiety. In addition, it is a short-term procedure aimed at developing specific skills to help alter emotional responses that are not only harmful to your wellbeing but can also lead to several other problems. If you are undergoing therapies, your sessions might help change the behaviors and thoughts triggering or worsening your anxiety.
Since thoughts come before emotions and lead to actions, transforming or simply changing your thoughts can eliminate or reduce your unhealthy behaviors and negative emotions. In simpler terms, thoughts → feelings → behavior.
Let’s take an example: if you had to start a new job, there might be several emotions hitting you:
- Anxiousness – Since it will be a new environment with alien processes and co-workers, you may feel anxious. Moreover, you might think, “I won’t be able to relate or catch on,” and consider calling in sick the very first day.
- Neutral – You may feel neutral since you’re an experienced professional who’s taken up different jobs earlier. For you, work is just working, after all. You might even think, “as soon as I’m done on the first day, I’m going out for dinner.”
- Excited – When initiating a new adventure and coming to terms with new challenges, one might feel excited. In such a scenario, you might think, “I can’t wait to collaborate and contribute to that new project.” This might leave you motivated and allow you to introduce yourself to colleagues.
Beginning a new role can offer people different feelings, thoughts, and behaviors. These differences depend on personal beliefs, attitudes, and assumptions we tend to have about our circumstances. When you suffer from anxiety, it’s the negative emotions and thought patterns that overshadow the positive ones. Emotions and feelings of fear and unworthiness can begin to take over. The primary goal of Cognitive Behavioral Therapy is to transform how you think. Through such a process, you can change the way you address a specific situation. Besides, if you want to enroll in particular courses, check one of the best mental health apps, Mooditude.
CBT For Anxiety: How Does It Work?
CBT comprises common techniques or methods to help manage anxiety and transform your behavior. Here is a rundown of how Cognitive Behavioral Therapy can affect your thought process and train your mind to perceive a challenging situation differently.
This consists of taking a hard look towards pessimistic thought patterns. Perhaps a user:
- Thinks about the worst possible scenario
- Emphasizes more on minute details
If you think this way, it can lead to a self-fulfilling prophecy. Your therapist may ask about your thinking patterns and how you react to unavoidable circumstances. Once they have identified the pattern, you can reframe such thoughts for more productivity and positivity to flow through you.
Challenging Negative Thoughts
Thought challenging is not about dealing with negative thoughts in a positive way but considering multiple angles, using factual evidence from your own life. Through such a way, you can promote an objective perspective instead of assuming that your beliefs and emotions are the truth and facts. When you experience cognitive distortions, it enables you to observe and identify when they show up. Having said that, these distortions rectify the futile and accommodating thoughts to those that are factual and balanced.
With anxiousness, it becomes challenging and tedious to rationalize specific problems. Besides, when you feel anxious, you wouldn’t understand the source of such emotions. This might result in awkward social interaction or unapologetic fear that you have no control of. Thought challenging is one of the techniques through which a user can obtain a different perspective towards a specific problem.
Behavioral activation is one of the approaches to mental health, which entails someone utilizing behaviors to influence different forms of emotional state. Even though it is a significant part of Cognitive Behavioral Therapy (CBT), it could be a standalone treatment. How does it help? Suppose your anxiety prevents you from performing or indulging in a particular activity. In that case, you can schedule it through calendar updates. This way, one can plan well and won’t have to worry about it.
For instance, if you experience anxiousness about attending a social event that your friend invited you to, schedule it with a mutual friend. This may encourage you to move ahead and face the situation head-on, armed with specific skills you’ve integrated with CBT.
Journaling or recording
Journaling, often referred to as thought recording, allows you to communicate your feelings and promote awareness. While thought recording, you can organize and clarify your thoughts orderly and without much hassle. Consider drafting a list of your negative thinking patterns. And, once you’re done, swap the negative ones with positive ways. If you’re undergoing therapy, your therapist may even ask you to put new behaviors and skills to paper while working between sessions.
Relaxation therapies can reduce stress and enable you to think more transparently. In the process, such therapy can put you in the driver’s seat and take control over certain situations leading to anxiety. These techniques include deep breathing exercises, meditation, and progressive muscle relaxation. Besides, it would be best for you to know that these practices do not take an extended period and are ideal tools whenever you are having anxious thoughts.
How to find help?
Looking for an excellent therapist can be a daunting task. Anxiety tends to put a halt on your spirits, mental health and makes you feel overwhelmed even in light situations like standing in a queue at a grocery store. So, what do you do and how to find a CBT professional or help? Given below are some insights while looking for help.
Online or In-person
When you plan on seeing a therapist, it may involve sitting in their office setting. However, things have changed post-COVID times, and sessions have become digitized. It simply implies that you can book your session online with your therapist and indulge in a virtual call.
Through Applications Like Mooditude
Studies suggest that online CBT is a viable and effective alternative to face-to-face treatment. Since there are several applications to improve your mental health and wellness, it would be ideal for you to check out Mooditude.app featuring Cognitive Behavioral Therapy (CBT) exercises.
Racing thoughts, unregulated emotions, and pessimism result from personal and professional setbacks or experiences. In such situations, CBT can be one of the influential programs to transform the way you think and manage your mental health. To conclude, Cognitive Behavioral Therapy (CBT) is a potent form of talk therapy, to help manage various mental health concerns by transforming the way you behave and modulate in specific situations.