How Cognitive Behavioral Therapy Can Rewire Your Thoughts
Have you heard of cognitive behavioral therapy (CBT)? It’s been around since 1960 and is considered the gold standard of psychotherapy.
CBT is a talk therapy but its not about dredging up your past but rather it teaches you to focus on the present and gives you skills to recognize how you respond to stressors in life. Once you understand your ‘triggers’ you can learn to respond differently.
CBT is based on the idea that your thoughts, emotions, and behaviors are interconnected. The goal is to learn skills that you can use outside of a therapist’s office to address real-life problems.
The next time you notice yourself feeling anxious, stress or depressed, ask yourself:
- What emotions am I struggling with that might be causing me to feel this way?
- How can I change the situation?
- What is my part in this? (If any)
- What do you think caused the situation to worsen?
- How does the problem affect how I feel about myself?
- What could I have done differently in this situation?
- What is my evidence for the way I feel?
Notice your thoughts and start to jot them down on a piece of paper or keep a ‘mind journal’. Doing this will help you to understand how your emotions and thoughts are connected and any ‘trigger patterns’ you may have.
Focus on looking at the situation in a more positive or balanced light. If you changed your thought process what new emotions might crop up?
The goal is to catch the negative thoughts and rationalize them; by doing so you build your skills to feel more equipped to handle negative situations.
Focus on the small wins, then slowly build your goals over time. Any positive change is good change! Be kind to yourself and watch for negative self talk like “I will never get this” or “this is to much work”.
Learning to see the world in a positive way or in the eyes of someone else is hard, it isn’t a linear process, some weeks will be easy, and others will be darn right challenging, that’s perfectly normal - its okay to be human!
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