Using CBT Techniques: STEP 5
CBT techniques work well in helping you overcome your anxiety, panic and depression.
So what is CBT? CBT is short for Cognitive-Behavioral Therapy. This type of therapy works well because it not only deals with working the mind, but also the actions of an individual. By thinking the right things and acting on those right things, you help produce a healthy mind and body.
For many people, CBT techniques are difficult because they challenge the very core misbeliefs that cause anxiety, panic and depression. Although it's hard work, CBT techniques work very well....even without medication.
People with anxiety and phobias find it particularly difficult to face their fears, while people with depression find it difficult to do what they have no energy or desire to do. CBT techniques work well for both anxiety and depression.
CBT techniques help you learn how to talk to yourself properly while stepping out and facing the activity that you dread. It is using both mind and body together and it has been shown to be most effective in conquering these types of disorders.
In all truthfulness, using CBT techniques to overcome your challenge is hard work! Probably some of the hardest work you will ever do on yourself. Although some may feel it is entirely impossible to do it, I assure you that you can and will do it if you do it in small steps and use positive self-talk along the way.
What Do I Say To Myself?
When facing difficult situations, such as facing a fear or forcing yourself to challenge your depression, it is important to repeat positive, truthful self talk that is based on what you are dealing with. In step 2, you learned positive thought replacement methods. Hopefully, you have worked this step enough to know how to replace your scary, unwanted thoughts and have already become accustomed to using many of them on a daily basis.
How Do I Challenge Myself?
No matter what you are challenged with, sometimes it is most effective to take small steps at first when using your CBT techniques. This means to slowly desensitize yourself to your challenged situation. You must know that when you challenge yourself you may feel more stress or anxiety in the beginning. It is also not uncommon to have panic attacks when facing your challenges. Be sure you understand panic attacks and positive thought replacement before taking those first steps.
For more on baby steps visit Overcoming Agoraphobia for tips on how to approach situations that you have previously avoided.
Learn Relaxation Breathing
Do not forget that proper breathing is important. It has the ability to help calm you down and keep your stress under control. It can also help prevent extreme anxiety and panic sensations. A simple breathing technique can have profound effects on your body and your ability to relax.
Step 5 Actions:
1. Take time each day to practice relaxation breathing.
2. Plan a daily event you can do that will help you face your challenged situation. Remember, you get to pick how little or how much work you want to put into this. You are in full control over yourself and your comings and goings. Do something even if it's small and then slowly increase your activities as you see fit. Just be sure you are challenging yourself and when you are done, you quickly affirm yourself and your efforts!
3. Keep working on changing your diet to include foods that will support your body during this time (Include natural supplements if necessary).
4. Spend approx. 10-20 minutes each day on your choice of isometric or progressive muscle relaxation exercises.
5. Spend 20 minutes each day on aerobic or strength and toning exercises. These exercise the heart as well as the muscles in your body. They also help burn up the excess adrenaline and negative stress hormones that are there.
6. Write in a journal each day (preferably before bedtime). Don't pressure yourself, just write whatever comes to mind. Use the Journal Entry Worksheet if you don't have a journal.
7. Do the Positive Thought Replacement worksheet at least once a day. If your thoughts are running rampant and you are going through a particularly hard time, it helps to do this worksheet as many times possible throughout the day. As silly as this feels, it's a very important activity that will make a big difference in your recovery.
8. If you are struggling with obsessive thinking, take the time each day to practice visualization exercises and thought stopping exercises.
9. When you understand how to practice cognitive behavioral therapy techniques and have actually started a daily routine of it, move onto Step 6.
Do not move forward until you are ready!