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Cognitive Behavioral Therapy has proven to be effective for treating a wide range of difficulties. How can you benefit from CBT techniques at home without a therapist?

What Is Cognitive Behavioral Therapy (CBT)?

Cognitive behavioral therapy is a form of relaxation techniques for anxiety and a psychological treatment that can be effectively used to treat certain conditions such as anxiety. It has been scientifically proven to be effective and was developed through decades of research. The “cognitive” aspect is looking at how a person thinks; the “behavioral” aspect is looking at how a person acts or behaves. The belief is that how we think affects how we behave and how we feel, and these can all increase negative thoughts. It becomes a vicious cycle, and people tend to “act out” more or withdraw more.

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Who Does It Benefit?

This form of therapy is known to work extremely well on those with anxiety disorders in particular. It is also used as a treatment option for depression, eating disorders, anger issues, low self-esteem, chronic pain, and is also recommended for children with autism who often have a cluster of behavior and anxiety issues.

Any condition that is characterized by negative thoughts can be helped with CBT. It helps by teaching how to identify negative ways of thinking and behaving, and how to implement positive changes.

The first important step is to learn about the condition you have. By understanding the condition and how it affects you, you will be better equipped to implement CBT in a positive way. Also by learning about it, you will find that often it’s a lot more common than you think, which also helps to remove some of the negativity, especially that which is associated with stigma and social cues.

Cognitive Behavioral Therapy At Home

Relaxation

The ability to relax is an important component of this therapy. Stress, anxiety and even depression, can lead to shallow breathing and muscle tension, and relaxation can help to relieve these. There are two main relaxation techniques used in CBT called “Calm Breathing” and “Progressive Muscle Relaxation”.

Calm Breathing

This is helpful if you need to calm down quickly. To do this, all you need to do is breathe in through the nose, take a pause, then breathe out slowly through the mouth. Then wait a few seconds and repeat. By doing this repeatedly for a few minutes, you will find your body and your mind start to calm down.

Progressive Muscle Relaxation

This involves a repetitive cycle of tensing and relaxing of the different muscle groups. Focus on one muscle area and tense them, by taking a slow deep breath and squeezing the muscles. You should do this for about 5 seconds before releasing whilst you breathe out slowly. Wait for around 15 seconds before doing the same thing with another muscle group.

Realistic Thinking

To manage negative thinking, you must be able to first identify what a negative thought is, and then replace it with a thought that is realistic and balanced. This doesn’t mean you should make every thought overly positive, it simply means creating a thought that is balanced between negative and positive. It is normal to feel sad about something tragic, but if some minor event takes place, such as the breaking of an appointment, feeling as though there must be something wrong with you to make them break the appointment is extreme and not realistic.

Read More: Primal Therapy: How Feeling Your Pain Can Be Liberating

Learn to understand your thoughts, and challenge that thought whether it is normal or negative. Coming up with positive statements you can say to yourself can help you overcome the negative thinking. Coping statements and positive self-statements about your self are good for those times when you need a quick response to your negative thinking. You could write these down and keep it with you, so when you get distressed, you have your own “cue cards” to help you manage your thoughts and feelings.

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