Cognitive Behavioral Therapy: 5 steps to stop worryingMarch 6, 2020
CBT (Cognitive Behavioral Therapy) is one of the most well-known forms of therapy. However, just knowing the type of therapy does not elicit results in your life. So, the goal of this article is to explain what CBT is and how these 5 steps can help you from worrying.
What is CBT?
Cognitive-behavioral therapy is a form of talk therapy. In order to receive CBT treatment, patients typically attend a set number of sessions per week with a mental health professional (therapist, psychotherapist or counselor). CBT allows patients to understand their delusional thinking patterns, and how to properly avoid making similar mental mistakes in the future.
CBT can be an extremely useful therapy and can be used independently, or with other forms of psychotherapy. CBT is used to help a wide variety of mental health issues- from depression, anxiety, PTSD to sleep and eating disorders. However, the benefits of CBT are not exclusive to mental health issues. CBT can also be a helpful tool for people who want to manage stress and basic life situations.
Compared to other forms of talk therapy (psychotherapy), CBT is usually the quickest to identify certain problems. Because CBT requires less time, it is usually the preferred therapeutic method. CBT strategically focuses on simplistic methods to rewire the reactions of our brains, ensuring that the majority of people can be successful in CBT therapy.
Beyond the benefit of mental health disorders, CBT can also help emotional issues such as:
- Dealing with loss
- Experiencing pain
- Building relationships
- Finding new hobbies
- Learning to cope with stress
- Creating new skills
- Managing medications or other forms of therapy
Below is a list of 5 steps on how to deal with stress and stop worrying by using some simple forms of CBT therapy.
Step 1: Breath
Learning to focus on the breath can be an amazing way to deal with new stressful situations. CBT teaches us how to change our thought processes during stressful events. So, when a new stressful situation comes up, it is important to find a new strategy to deal with the circumstance. This is where focusing on breathing comes into play. When focusing on our breathing during a stressful moment, our conscious thoughts are then placed on something new- the breathing patterns.
Example Breathing patterns:
- Three second exhale, five second inhale
- Five second exhale, ten second hold, five second exhale
- Quick breathing (One second exhale, one second inhale)
- Nose/Mouth switch (inhale thru the nose, exhale thru the mouth)
Step 2: Reaching Out
Reaching out to others may seem an inconvenient waste of time. However, when we are able to admit we are not capable of saving ourselves and put our faith into others, we then become less selfish and focused on our problems. Getting into the action of calling on others when you are distraught, teaches us a new behavior of dealing with stress, anger or sadness.
Step 3: Get Physical
This suggestion may seem crazy, but CBT is all about changing our behaviors. So, the next time you find yourself in a stressful situation, do something physical. Whether it’s push-ups, sit-ups, stretches or jumping jacks, getting your mind to rewire itself is key. Plus, you may get into good shape if you are stressed enough!
CBT and an exercise program can often go hand in hand. According to this article by Beck Institute, patients suffering from Fibromyalgia who combined CBT with exercise saw drastic changes in their physical fitness.
Step 4: Mindfulness
Mindfulness is a powerful spiritual practice that allows us to get out of our obsessive and intrusive thoughts and into the present moment. When we focus on something specific during meditation, whether a sound, smell or feeling, we are able to immediately become present. And when we consistently practice mindfulness, our lives become more peaceful, meaningful and our brains are restructured completely.
Tips on starting a mindfulness meditation:
- Set aside a time and place daily to get quiet and relax.
- Close your eyes and allow the thoughts to pass.
- Focus on the current moment- the sights, sounds, and feelings of the now.
- Be happy that you are alive.
To learn more about mindfulness meditation, visit here.
Step 5: Analyze the Worry
Analyzing situations is not new to us. However, when we are trying to get rid of worry, it only makes the situation worse to focus on the problem. So, with CBT, it’s important to note what the problem is, how it exists and how to find a solution.
For example, when you are stressed, you may dwell on the problem itself. But, the problem will not be changed by the simple identification of its existence. To change our behavior and attitude, we must first analyze the problem and why this problem affects us. Then, we can analyze what would happen if we decided to have a new perspective. After this, we may realize we are holding onto worry unnecessarily and change our out-look entirely.
CBT is an extremely useful therapeutic tool that can help people with general problematic issues or specific mental health disorders. CBT is a quick and efficient method and can greatly benefit the lives of anyone who applies it.