My mom died at the beginning of this year. She was like my third child because I took care of her all the time.
I was lost. I cried all the time, had irrational fears, I couldn’t sleep, I didn’t want to speak with anyone, sometimes I didn’t want to wake up and stay from the bad.
I finished with panic attacks and antidepressants.
After three months of taking antidepressants and didn’t have any progress, my psychiatric told me to try with CBT therapy.
Believe me or not, I overcame anxiety. Now I live a happier life with my family, and I have more success in my business too.
How can CBT therapy help you to overcome anxiety?
People with anxiety disorders have negative thoughts about themselves and the future. CBT therapy can help with changing the negative thoughts and beliefs that lead to these thoughts. The basic theory behind CBD is to change the feelings about certain situations. We can’t change the circumstances around some cases; we only can change how we think and feel about them.
People with believe that nothing will help them will have less or no success than people with a positive attitude. A positive attitude helps to have a strong motivation to succeed.
CBT therapy is not appropriate for all issues. If self-harm, suicidal thoughts, severe psychiatric conditions, ideas of causing harm to others are involved, a trained therapist is needed.
Step 1: Identifying the problem to work with
Identifying the problem to work on is the first step in the CBT therapy.
It can be an unpleasant feeling you often have, some behavior or unwanted thoughts you want to change with CBT therapy.
The most important skill to develop in the CBT process is to recognize the dysfunctional thoughts. Start with noticing when specific thought triggers a negative emotion. Realize if they are connected with certain beliefs you hold, with some person, particular event, film, some places and so on.
In my situation, even I took antidepressants, I was crying without reason. So I started to focus on circumstances when my negative thoughts arise, and I began to cry.
When you will focus on a situation where you experience negative emotions, ask yourself what thoughts and beliefs lead to feelings you want to change.
To change them, you need to set your goals appropriately.
Step 2: Setting goals
If you want to get results with CBT therapy, you must set your goal correctly.
They have to be specific, measurable, and achievable.
Specific: You can set a common goal. For example, Instead of I don’t want to cry my goal was I will spend more time with my friends, I will post new articles every week in my blog.
Measurable and realistic: Set short term goals instead of long term goals. For example, We will go out with my husband and friends two times a week, and I will post three new articles every week.
Achievable: Don’t set unrealistic goals. Set goals you can achieve quickly. In another case, you will have a feeling of failure.
For example, If I set the goal to write an article and go out with friends every day, it may be hard to achieve. I would lose my willings to continue.
Make sure your goals are significant to you. If you realize that any of your goals is not essential, change it. You can replace all your not meaningful goals with ones which are the most important to you too.
Step 3: Address your obstacles?
Knowing your obstacles will help you to avoid worries and feeling discouraged and quit if there is not an improvement in the first week. Write down several things which can be obstacles.
In my case, they were :
- I can’t write if my kids need my attention
- We can’t go out if we are ill and so on.
Believe I wrote more than 15 obstacles, but they didn’t stop me from fulfilling my goals.
Step 4: Deal with your negative thoughts and beliefs
In step1 you defined your problem you want to work on. In this step, you need to start to keep a thought journal.
Try to substitute negative thoughts with positive ones. This is more effective than just eliminating negative thoughts. With time you will be able to reduce the intensity of the negative emotions.
I can’t tell you my thoughts here because they are so personal, but I can give you some example.
You argue with your friend about some political issue. Instead of thinking I will lose my friend and he will never speak with me you have to believe that you are friends, he will respect your opinion, you had an argues with him before too and an argument like this can’t influence on your friendship.
Your though journal has to consist:
1) The situation which is connected with your thoughts — describe it in detail
2) Your thoughts and their intensity (from 1–10)
3) Write thoughts with positive and realistic attitude related to the situation
Step 5: Identify your core beliefs
Core beliefs have roots from childhood or are connected with some traumatic event.
No one loves me
I can’t love
are examples of core beliefs.
Your negative thoughts and beliefs are connected with your core beliefs.
You have to dig dipper inside of yourself with your therapist to find that connection.
Step 6: Behavior part of CBT Therapy
When you analyzed all situation which leads to negative thoughts, found your core beliefs, learned how to deal with your negative thoughts, you can start to practice Behavior part of CBT therapy.
In this step, you will have to increase participation in activities which make you happy and lead to positive thoughts and feelings such as:
exercises at home or in the gym,
walking in the park with your friends or dog,
eating in the restaurant,
Biking, Hiking or traveling
practicing hobbies like reading, cooking, knitting and so on.
Step 7: Improve your well-being with a healthy lifestyle
The last step is improving your well-being with a healthy lifestyle.
Take care of your sleep, diet, exercises, social life.
You can overcome anxiety too
Commit yourself to success and never give up
I know what you think now
This is not for me; I can’t do this, I don’t have money for therapist,
So It is time to start changing your thoughts as described above.
They will change your feelings, and you can live a happier life
Nothing happens overnight. You need time and efforts to overcome anxiety, but in the end, you will realize that nothing is more important than your happiness.