Ready to Improve Your Mental Health?-Try These CBT Strategies
By Jeanette Lorandini
Cognitive-behavioral therapy, also known as CBT, is a powerful therapeutic tool for in-office treatment sessions. Together, you and your therapist at Suffolk DBT work on untwisting thought patterns that are unhelpful and disruptive.
However, you don’t have to limit yourself to doing CBT just when you visit your therapist. Many of the interventions designed for CBT can be done in your own home.
This practical approach allows you greater flexibility to implement CBT every day and see the changes you want.
If you are ready to improve your mental health, try these CBT strategies.
One way to practice CBT is by journaling every day. Journaling is a powerful practice that allows you to explore your thought patterns and change them simultaneously.
For example, let’s say that you are anxious about how others perceive you. You can journal about a particular interaction, writing down what happened. You can then jot down your beliefs about how you perceived the situation — you might have felt the other person was judging you, for example.
Once those thoughts are on paper, focus on the facts; that you merely had a conversation with someone. Accept your emotions, but remind yourself that everything is fine. Physically writing with pen and paper also helps with reinforcing those new beliefs, too.
Stress Management and Relaxation
Another way to incorporate CBT into your daily life is by adopting a mindfulness practice. This approach helps you to manage stress and to stay calm.
When you wake up in the morning, take 10-15 minutes to perform some deep breathing exercises. Add in some reassuring thoughts or daily meditation to contemplate.
These help you counter thoughts that today will turn out terrible or other negative thinking patterns. Over time, you’ll be able to approach the morning with renewed energy and enthusiasm, rather than dread.
Using Role-Play to Practice New Skills
A helpful CBT technique to practice new skills, as well as perspectives, is role-playing. You are “trying on” a thought pattern that you might never have used before when you role play.
Think of it as trying on a new shirt or pants. You’re unsure whether it will fit, so you want to test it out before you buy the item. The same is true in therapy.
Sometimes we are hesitant to adopt a new thought pattern because we are unsure it will work. However, it’s much safer to role-play before using that thought pattern or skill in real life.
Create a scenario for yourself, and practice acting it out at home. Or, ask a trusted friend or family member to work with you in this process.
Divide and Conquer Complex Tasks
It can be overwhelming facing a complex task that you need to complete. There might be a really in depth-project at work that needs to get done. Yet, it’s hard to know where to start. It might seem far too overwhelming.
Try breaking up these tasks into smaller, more reasonable chunks. Use a calendar to plot out which job you will get done on a particular day. This plan allows you to find the beginning, identify the middle, and know how the end will look. It also provides you with a game plan to accomplish the task.
The advantage of CBT is that many strategies are not meant to be restricted to the therapists’ office. Instead, they are also life-hacks that you can bring into your everyday routine.
When you see your therapist, they might provide you with an assignment to implement one of these strategies for the rest of the week. Over time, you develop healthy strategies to cope with stress, anxiety, and more.
If you’d like to learn more about applying CBT techniques click the following link Cognitive Behavioral Therapy