Cognitive Behavioral Therapy
We all worry, feel anxious or feel low at times, but do you ever wonder why and what causes it and why it seems to continue for so long?
Very often there is more than one reason for why people feel anxious, unhappy, stressed, angry or negative.
In many cases the underlying causes of negative feelings and emotion are because of people's:
- Negative life experiences
- Lifestyles choices
- Self image
- Thoughts patterns
- Brain chemistry
- Diet related
- Lack of understanding and awareness
The good news is, all negative feelings and emotions are just states of being that can be changed at any given moment.
Because by deliberately making a conscious effort to think better feeling thoughts, speak better feeling words and learning new techniques that will enable you to take control of your feelings and emotions.
You will soon start to feel better and with all that new calm and positive energy flowing through your body you will find it much easier to handle the stresses of life in a more calm, productive and carefree attitude.
Processing your emotions
Everybody wants to end all their constant negative chit chatter and everybody is striving to feel better emotionally and physically and to feel good about themselves.
In fact, many, people spend a lot of time, effort and money working on feeling good, looking good and feeling better about themselves.
The trouble is, most people just don't kow how to go about it.
Many people look for external solutions, fixes or material things to help them feel better within themselves.
Maybe you think. If only you had all the things that you want or if only you could get your problems or your life sorted out.
Then things would automatically get better and all would be well.
Of course if you have a external problem.
Then sorting out your problems, achieving your goals or getting the things that you want can certainly help you to feel better.
But can that bring us the happiness and peace of mind, you had hoped for?
Because as we all the know to well. Even though, solving an external problem can gives you a temporary break from all your worry, stress and emotional overwhelm.
It does not guarantee you a long term solution neither does it offer you permanent relief to all our negative feelings and emotional pain and suffering.
External things are not the real solutions to life's problems, worries and challenges.
The real solutions can only be found, experienced and enjoyed.
Once you learn how to control your thoughts, feelings and emotions.
Because, physical things or situations do not really change us that much on an emotional level in the long term.
Real inner happiness and peace of mind can only be achieved through becoming the master of your thoughts, feelings and emotions.
Because the happiest, most contented and most relaxed people.
Are not always those who:
- Earn a lot of money
- Who have the biggest house
- Go on exotic holidays
- Have the most expensive cars
- Seemingly have it all or have the best lifestyles.
Because they too, have their own problems, issues, challenges and difficulties that they are trying to deal with and overcome.
The real happy, relaxed and contented people are those who have a calm mind, a relaxed body and a positive attitude and outlook on life.
The reason for this is because.
The true authentic and happy people have:
- Learned how to bounce back quickly from adversity
- Learned how to step back emotionally, away from their problem
- Learned how to creatively problem solve
- Learned how to deal with their problems and challenges calmly
- Learned how to feel good regardless of their situations and circumstances.
The things that need to be avoided are trying to suppress, stop or resist your thoughts, feelings and emotions as all these techniques just make the emotional arousal and overwhelm worse and longer in duration.
One good way of processing your emotions is to get yourself a journal and every time you have a negative experience or you experience negative thoughts and feelings.
Write down the thoughts and feelings you were experiencing a the time they happened.
NLP is another good technique that can help you to quickly change your emotional and physical state from a negative or anxious state back to a calm and happy state.
Changing your perceptions
Another important thing to be aware of.
For every negative or pessimistic way of perceiving a situation there is a positive and better way of thinking about or perceiving the situation or yourself.
Feeling good and feel better is not determined by life's events, adversities and circumstances.
Feeling good and feeling better is dependant on how you perceive or how you react or think about, what has happened, what is or what might happen.
Sometimes, a shift in your attitude and thinking is enough to take all the emotionally overwhelm away from your challenge, difficulty or problem.
Although positive thinking is a good habit to make. Developing a positive mental attitude is of equal importance.
Yes, we all experience bad times, situations and things and we all have our own problems, difficulties and challenges to face and overcome, which can affect how we think, feel and behave.
But once something has happened, it has happened. The next step is to decide how you're going to react, handle or deal with the bad times.
After the event, bad experience or the bad news is over.
Our emotional suffering and pain goes inwards and it is then generated by how we react or how we think about what has happened or what might happen.
The truth is. Nothing can affect, bother or upset you, if you do not think about it or give it your undivided attention.
Always try and be nice to yourself and say positive and encouraging things to you, about you, because your thoughts and the words you speak are powerful.
Try not to put too much pressure on yourself and try not to be too perfect all the time.
Because no one is perfect and it is perfectly OK not to be perfect.
Accept yourself and your imperfections, because there is only one you, therefore do no wish to be somebody else.
Always be yourself, because if you try and fake it or you try to be something your not, then eventually it becomes tiring, and hard act to keep up and eventually it will show up to others.
What is Cognitive behavioral therapy
Cognitive behavioral therapy otherwise known as CBT is a talk therapy or self help thinking therapy that can help you to use new logical and better ways of thinking and perceiving you, events and your life.
CBT is a useful mindful tool that can help you pinpoint and change all your old negative, limiting and false beliefs that can lead to self destructive and negative emotions and unhelpful patterns of thinking.
CBT allows us to examine our thoughts to let us see if our thoughts are helping us, making us feel good or bad or whether they are pushing us forwards in a positive direction or they are keeping us small, limited or stuck.
Life can be hard at times and we all experience bad or negative things. Initially reacting or feeling bad is a perfectly natural way to respond when life become really hard, painful or a real struggle for you.
But even through bad times are sometimes unavoidable.
What makes bad times even worse is how long you dwell on them and how you think about and you perceive your bad times and negative experiences, once they have happened.
CbT can help you to clarify and make sense of your thoughts and feelings. Allowing you to be more mindful and self aware, which can help you to reduce your anxiety and stress and help you to alleviate negative moods.
CBT is also a great way to help you change your perspectives, get to know yourself better, bring out the best version of you and help you to create new positive thinking skills, habits and behaviors.
There is always more than one way to perceive every situation.
Yet most people have trained themselves into the habit of seeing the negative or worst case scenario.
When you perceive yourself, your situations or even others from a negative perspective or a negative belief filter.
Then this will cause a negative emotional reaction which can then produce a negative behavioral response from you.
You can have an experience or something happen to you.
Yet how you feel, react and behave can be determined by the thoughts you have about that situation or experience.
This means that you can have two dramatically different emotional reactions from the same experience and situation, depending on how you perceive that situation.
Which can negatively or positively affect your actions, your behaviors, who you are and the course of your life.
Depending on how you think about it, your beliefs and how you perceive the situation, others, events or your experience.
Setting your positive goals or intentions
To get the most out of CBT you first have to have a positive goal, something that you want to change, something you want to do or maybe something you want to become more confident at.
Because, when you set a positive goal or intention that this gives your mind a clear blueprint and path to follow.
When you begin to work on changing your thoughts and the more you begin to work on, changing the things that you would like to change.
This will create new positive habits and behaviors that can help you to build up the positive momentum which can help to keep you motivated and inspired to carry on and achieve more.
To get you started you can state your positive intentions or you can write down the thing, situations or things that you would:
- Like to do differently
- Like to achieve
- Like to change your career
- Like to try
- Like to better
- Like to change
- Like to be happier
- Like to feel less anxious
- Like to solve a problem
- Like to have more confidence
Once you have decided on what you want, then you can begin to work towards your goal or wants.
If it is your goal to reduce your anxiety or feel more confident then you can then identify and write down all the situations where you would like to feel less anxious or more confident.
Once you have decided on your specific goal or want. Ask the universe for help and guidance.
You can do this several ways:
- Write down your positive statement or what you would like
- Ask the universe or your mind
- Say or ask for help in the form of prayer
- Do as much research on the subject as you can, buy a book or you can find a lot of good help on google, bing or youtube
You already have what you want
If you are trying to create something new in your life ad you find it difficult at first then do not give up and return back to your old negative thinking habits, ways and behaviors.
Because it can take time to change how you think, feel, act, behave and become.
One concept many people struggle to grasp is the belief that they have to do something or learn something before they can create the life, the feelings and things they want and desire.
This can lead them to believe that there is something outside of them, which is separate from them. That they must need to do or learn
This way of thinking can send them down the path of thinking that they have to do or learn something outside of them, before they can create their ideal self and life.
Of course you may have to change your beliefs, feelings and thought processes. But the truth is, you already have the capability to create everything that you want and desire.
And you can start to change anytime you want, so you can begin to feel better and create everything that you truly want, by shifting yourself into a feel good energy and a positive new mindset and reality.
If you constantly doubt, self sabotage or beleive that how you feel, think and what you create is not in your own power and destiny then that's what future you will create.
Everything exist right now and everything exist simultaneously. What creates how you feel and what you experience, all comes down to what you focus your attention on the most.
If you don't believe it or feel it, then this means that you're not in the energy that will create the very things that you want and desire.
The way to change how you feel and what you create can be done by changing your thoughts, feelings, perceptions, imaginings and actions.
The first step is to imagine yourself already having or feeling what it is you want.
If you want to be more calm, composed and confident socially
Imagine yourself, feeling calm, cool, composed and confident in specific social situations, where you feel you would like to be more confident.
If you would like to experience blissful feelings of inner calm, peace and balance
Imagine yourself on a beach feeling blissfully, calm, peaceful and relaxed
If you would like a happy, fulfilling, enjoyable and loving relationship
Imagine yourself already having a wonderful, happy, fulfilling relationship
If you would like to lose weight and be fit and healthy
Imagine yourself already having a slim, toned, body and imagine yourself feel great and having good health
If you would like more money or a better job
Imagine yourself already having lots of money or imagine yourself working in your ideal job or your ideal work environment
When you imagine yourself achieving or already having something then your mind will accept that it is possible and start to believe that you can have it, do it, become it or feel it.
The future thoughts and things that you imagine, you feel, become and get.
Make it a habit to imagine yourself having or achieving whatever it is you want to be, feel or become.
Imagine yourself already having what you want or feeling more calm, happy and confident, then focus on how great you feel, how relieved you feel, how pleased you feel and how great it is.
Then whenever you start to feel negative or your having those old self defeating and self sabotaging thoughts.
Return to that imagining and feeling.
So instead of spending hours repeating affirmations or saying mantras to yourself over and over again.
Just imagine yourself having, feeling or doing what you want to happen, feel or be, everytime you notice those negative or self sabotaging and self defeating thoughts coming into your head.
When you have a constant accumulation of negative thoughts in your head, each and every day, and everybody has them.
Then eventually that's who you will become and what life you create.
How you currently feel and what life your living is a result of your past thinking, beliefs and programming.
The first step to feeling better and creating a better you and a better life, starts off, by being more aware and mindful to the thoughts, beliefs and imagining that you're having.
Therefore, you need to be able to pick up on all those negative and self defeating thoughts that you're having.
Then as soon as they enter your head, instead of following them and accepting them as being true.
Then pick the imagining or visualization of you already having, behaving or feeling the way you desire to be.
Like the examples above.
Imaging yourself already having, what you want and imagine yourself celebrating or feeling great about it.
Once you have got an image and feelings of you, already successful, already happy and joyous, already having supreme self confidence, already feeling calm and at peace, Already being fit, slim and healthy, etc.
Tag it with a positive statement like.
- I have supreme self confidence
- I always feel calm and composed under pressure
- I have unlimited wealth
- I have a great relationship
- I feel calm and at peace
- Or whatever else you want
Then, whenever you notice any of those old self sabotaging or negative thoughts.
Stop yourself and ask yourself.
What am I creating.
Then immediately imagine, the scenario you picked of you already having, being or feeling your desired outcome and finish it with your positive statement..
So, if you started to feel anxious, underconfident or negative about a specific social situation.
Flip over from your negative thoughts and imaginings and then return to your positive, imagined scenario of you already feeling, cool, calm and confident.
Do this every time, until it becomes and automatic way of thinking and feeling to you.
Reframing or thoughts and situations
If you keep on reinforcing the negative then you will create a negative you and a negative outlook on life.
When you set your goals or intentions. Make sure that you say or write them down as a positive statements, terms or intentions.
Because, goals that are set with negative words, thoughts or statements, will not motivate or inspire you very much.
Try and avoid negative or non-motivational words such as:
- I must
- I really should
- I don't
- I hate
- I can't
- I'll never be able
- I must stop
Some typical examples could be
Negative framed statements
I don't want to be overweight
I want to stop feeling anxious
I hate Modnay mornings
I should read more
Positive framed statements
I would love to be slim, fit and healthy
I would like to feel calm and at peace
Monday is just another day, which I intend to enjoy
Reading can supply me with so many positive benefits
When you set goals that are framed in a positive term or statement then it will make you feel more empowered, inspired and excited, which will help you to do any action work that is required.
Goals or intentions that are framed in negative terms and statements, make your goal seem like a chore or a task that you feel you ought to do rather than want to do.
One way to break your negative beliefs and negative thinking patterns is by challenging them, reframing them or changing them.
Ask yourself, are your thoughts and beliefs true, are they helping you and do they coincide with reality or what is realistically, most likely to happen?
Humans are emotional creatures, therefore they tend to think, act and behave, based on how they're feeling at the time.
Rather than calming themselves down, first and then logically and rationally looking at the situation. So they can make their decisions or give their opinions, with a clear head.
Another human habit and tendency is to assume things or base their reactions, viewpoints and actions, based on their previous emotional experiences, trauma's or their old belief systems.
This can lead to:
- Jumping to conclusion
- All or nothing thinking patterns
- Catastrophic thinking and the over exaggeration of things, situations, outcomes and problems
- Mind reading
This is where you focus on and exaggerate the worst possible outcome and then you emotionally react to and accept that outcome as the only possibility, which is certain to happen.
Which closes the door on any other alternatives.
Causing you to either to worry yourself silly, make you avoid the situation or make you make plans to try and make sure the thing you're worried about, doesn't happen.
Using CBT to reduce your stress, anxiety and helping you solve your problems
The reason behind many people's problems is their previous negative emotional conditioning and patterns of thinking that has weakened their ability to cope with and deal with life's problems, challenges and adversities.
This can lead them to negative, unhelpful and unhealthy patterns of thinking and behaving.
Those who are more prone to low self esteem, depression, anxiety, anger, low confidence and addictive behaviors.
Have gotten themselves into the bad habit of emotionally conditioning themselves to think negatively and to feel bad.
Or they have trained themselves to respond to life events, experiences and situations in negative and self defeating ways, even when in reality, things are perfectly normal and fine on the outside.
Change the feelings as well as the thoughts
Although CBT can help your mind to look at better and alternative ways of thinking about yourself, your life and the world in general.
Sometimes changing your thoughts is not always the easiest way of going about things.
Most people think that it is our thoughts that cause us to feel negative, anxious or bad.
But very often, it is our feelings and our learned emotional responses that come before our thought processes.
Take fear and anxiety for instance.
The anxious thoughts are triggered by a
- Physical emotional trigger or stimuli
- A bad or negative memory
- An imagined emotional trigger
- When we learn that we have to face a stressful or challenging situation
Once your fight or flight response as been activated, positive thinking may not always help you to ease your anxiety.
Muscle releasing and tension exercises and deep belly breathing can help you to switch off your fight or flight response, but in some cases it may not be enough to fix deep-seated fears and anxieties.
However, deep belly breathing is a good tool that can help you ease anxiety and stress.
Because, regularly engaging in deep belly breathing can help you to switch off your fight-or-flight response and return you to a more relaxed state of mind and body, that is beneficial to your health and well-being.
The normal approach many people take when they develop fears, high levels of anxiety or general anxiety disorders is they use safety or avoidance techniques to help them manage with or control their anxiety.
When an anxiety attack strikes. They then try and resist, fight with or attempt to control or defeat their symptoms and sensations of anxiety.
This is quite understandable, because nobody likes to feel anxious, worried and stressed.
However, safety and avoidance techniques or thought and feeling suppression techniques are a big mistake that will actually make your anxiety worse, longer in duration and more intense.
We've all heard the saying.
"What you resists, persists and gets stronger"
And this is certainly true as far as anxiety goes.
We've all done it.
You feel anxious, you panic even more and just then want to avoid the situation or thing that makes you feel uncomfortable.
Or you get bullied by your thoughts and feelings to take others forms of prevention measures to avoid feeling anxious.
Yet there is a much easier and less painful way to deal with your anxiety, instead of deploying avoidance or safety techniques.
The first step is to give up trying to physically control, resist, stop or suppress your thoughts, feelings and emotions.
The less you focus on and obsess about your anxiety, the better.
If it arises do not try and stop it, attempt to avoid the situation or run away or leave the situation.
What it is important to be aware of is.
The symptoms of anxiety are very much like the symptoms of excitement.
With both of these. Your heartbeat quickens up, you might feel sweaty and your breathing becomes shallow and rapid.
Yet even though anxiety and excitement are very similar.
The only real difference is. One is positive and one is negative.
It is our interpretation of the event that makes all the difference.
And by that I mean, whether we associate the event, people or situations as positive or negative.
If you were feeling excited, you would not worry about something bad about to happen to you.
You would not wish to avoid the thing or situation that made you feel excited neither would you try and resist, stop, suppress or control your feelings.
You would probably just let them fade away all by themselves and you would quickly forget about it.
You should try and use the same approach when you feel anxious as you would if you felt excited.
On the onset of any anxiety.
Do not attempt to resist, control or want to leave or avoid the situation.
- Just feel and observe the feelings
- Take a few slow deep breaths, smile and release any tension
- Then just let it happen and allow the feelings to rise up through you and away unchallenged
- Do not react badly, just take a step back from your thoughts and feelings, let yourself know nothing bad is going to happen so the anxiety is not necessary and let the thoughts and feelings fade away
Once you have returned back to a more calm and a relaxed state.
You can then start to challenge and change the beliefs that are driving your fears and anxiety.
Any form of exercise and deep relaxation techniques such as
- Tai chi
- Alexander Technique
- Self hypnosis
- Muscle tensing and releasing techniques
- Walking in nature
Will also help you to reduce your stress, anxiety and tension as well as boost your mood.
When you attach high levels of anxiety to specific situations and negative traumatic experiences and bad memories.
Then you may need to detach the emotional responses away from your feared situations or thing.