If you’re dealing with anxiety, cognitive behavioral therapy (CBT) may be the answer you are looking for. CBT is an evidence-based treatment that has been shown to help people with anxiety. It can help alleviate symptoms and improve quality of life by changing patterns of thinking and behaving that lead to the development of anxiety disorders.
Anxiety is a cognitive and emotional state characterized by feelings of fear, worry, and agitation. It can be experienced as an overreaction to stressful situations or events that are not dangerous or threatening. For those who suffer from anxiety disorders such as Social Anxiety Disorder, Generalized Anxiety Disorder (GAD), or Panic Disorder, the symptoms can be overwhelming—shaking hands, sweaty palms, rapid heartbeat, etc.
The good news is that cognitive behavioral therapy for anxiety has been shown to significantly reduce symptoms in most cases. In this blog post, I will discuss cognitive behavioral therapy for anxiety, which you may have heard about but may not have really understood what it was. First, let’s start with some basics on CBT so you can understand how it can help.
CBT is a cognitive and behavioral approach to understanding emotions and problematic thinking patterns that lead to anxiety disorders or other mental health disorders.
CBT for anxiety works by identifying unhelpful thoughts (or cognitive distortions) which can create feelings of stress and anxiety.
Once you’re able to identify unhelpful thoughts, you can start to work on reframing them. This cognitive reframing allows you to replace unhelpful thoughts with more functional ways of thinking. This will help decrease your anxiety symptoms and get rid of the cognitive distortions which were creating them in the first place.
The main principle in CBT is that our thoughts, feeling, and behaviors are interconnected and can affect each other. For example, if anxious thoughts are causing anxiety symptoms, the cognitive reframing process will help you to learn how to replace those thoughts with more functional ones in order to decrease your anxiety and get rid of unhelpful patterns of thinking once and for all.
A major goal of CBT is that clients understand their cognitive processes well enough to be able to identify cognitive distortions when they are happening.
This helps with being able to respond more skillfully to decrease anxiety and help you function better on a daily basis.
The cognitive reframing technique is very helpful for dealing with cognitive distortions because it provides you with concrete examples of how different thoughts, feelings, and behaviors work together in your life so that you can make sense of them.
Cognitive reframing helps you understand that your cognitive distortion about something doesn’t make it true. It might also point out to you how much the thought pattern is affecting your life.
Cognitive Behavioral Therapy (CBT) can also be used to help people with anxiety disorders deal with emotions more effectively. Once you recognize how your thoughts are affecting your emotional state, you will have better control over your ability to regulate your emotions. It’s normal to feel anxiety or other emotions in response to events that are going on around you. However, cognitive reframing helps you understand that just because you think something, it doesn’t make it true.
In many cases, people who suffer from high levels of anxiety see a lot of catastrophizing fear patterns because they have been bombarded by anxious thoughts for so long due to their cognitive distortions and automatic thinking processes associated with anxiety disorders. Cognitive Behavioral Therapy (CBT) can give people with anxiety disorder tools to help them better cope with these distorted ways of thinking so they can find relief from symptoms like panic attacks, social anxiety, or generalized anxiety.
Behavioral change happens as a result of cognitive change.
When cognitive distortions are recognized and reframed, a person’s emotional state will begin to regulate naturally because their thoughts, feelings, and behaviors are in harmony with each other. In addition, cognitive behavioral therapy techniques help you get in touch with your emotions so that they can be managed more effectively by checking them against reality. You can search for evidence for or against your anxiety-provoking thoughts.
The CBT approach helps you to recognize your emotions instead of avoiding them, and then guides you on the path to self-discovery by learning how mood and behavior are influenced by thinking patterns. Cognitive behavioral therapy for anxiety can help you better understand how your thoughts (or what you tell yourself) contribute to how you feel and give you the ability to change your thoughts to change your mood (and your life).