Photo courtesy of Shutterstock

Photo courtesy of Shutterstock

 

Last week we explored the lifestyle changes which serve to reduce anxiety. This week we delve into how Cognitive Behavioral Therapy (CBT) can help us to halt thinking traps altogether with just a little practice.

 

Actively Axing Anxiety Through CBT

 

I cannot begin to tell you just how profound an impact CBT has had upon my life and this article would not be complete without my strongly encouraging you to read the free ‘Panic Stations’ CCI InfoPax as featured on my best resources page.

 

Whilst lifestyle choices can certainly lessen anxiety symptoms, if you want to see a vast improvement and learn how to effectively manage and considerably reduce your anxiety I would highly recommend working through this exceptional CBT workbook.

 

Within this workbook I would recommend taking the following modules:

 

  • The thinking / feeling connection

This module describes automatic thoughts and explores how thoughts influence feelings.

 

  • The ABC’s of thinking and feeling

This module explores how you can use a thought diary to monitor the unhelpful thoughts that can lead to how you feel about a particular situation.

 

  • Detective work and disputation

Module 6 explores how you can examine and challenge unhelpful thoughts by expanding the thought diary described in the ABC’s of thinking and feeling.

 

  • Evaluation and balanced thinking

This module describes how you can summarize how you have challenged unhelpful thoughts by producing a balanced thought.

 

  • Core beliefs

Core beliefs are often at the root of unhelpful thoughts that are particularly difficult to change. This module looks at core beliefs and how to change them.

 

  • The calming technique

This module describes how you can reduce your anxiety by gaining control of your breathing.

 

  • Self management

This final module describes how to maintain gains and continue the progress that has been made throughout the previous modules.

 

If working through all of these modules is too overwhelming I would recommend just focusing on both the detective work and disputation and the evaluation and balanced thinking modules.

 

In reviewing the CBT InfoPax I realized that I needed to challenge my thoughts and create balanced ones much more often – rather than getting caught in thinking traps. In practice this means making a conscious effort to view my thoughts more objectively by following the steps as outlined in the course. Although viewing my thoughts objectively is not always easy I know that with practice it has the potential to become automatic.

 

Naturally I am not expecting to instantly eradicate all of my anxiety, as if by magic. It’s a process. I will stumble. I may even fall at times. But I have resolved to get up and continue, slowly but surely reducing my anxiety until it subsides and I claim victory over this war of the mind.

 

Likewise you too should not expect instantaneous success, not only is this unrealistic but it sets you up to believe you have failed prematurely, inducing despondent thoughts which may lead to your not persisting in your journey towards a better quality of life. Rather resolve to keep going, moving forward steadily towards your goal.

 

Join me in using lifestyle choices and highly effective CBT strategies to reduce your anxiety symptoms, leaving dread and dismay behind you and embarking on a journey whereby you are free to enjoy all of what life has to offer.

 

Do you see the advantages in challenging your thoughts and creating more objective and balanced ones? Did you read through the CCI InfoPax ‘Panic Stations’? Was it helpful to you? Please share your thoughts in the comments below to gain encouragement, insight and support from our community, we’d love to hear from you.

 

Exercises:

 

  1. Re-read your list of examples of the thinking traps you’ve fallen into in the past and how they affected you.
  2. Go through the detective work and disputation module of the CCI InfoPax ‘Panic Stations’ and work through the exercises for each example you listed.
  3. Go through the evaluation and balanced thinking module of the CCI InfoPax ‘Panic Stations’ and work through the exercises for each example you listed.

 

Further resources:

 

Overcoming Anxiety: A Self-Help Guide Using Cognitive Behavioral Techniques by Helen Kennerley

 

Stay tuned – next month’s hot topic is resilience!