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Cognitive Behavioral Therapies for Anxiety Disorders

Cognitive Behavioral Therapies for Anxiety Disorders

Cognitive and behavioral therapies are used to treat obsessive thoughts, relentless worries, crippling phobias, anxiety disorders, and panic attacks. This makes it possible to live a life that is free of constant anxiety and fear. When seeking treatments, therapy is a good place to start on the path to a healthy mind. Cognitive-behavior therapy is particularly beneficial to teach individuals how to stop worrisome thoughts, control anxiety levels, and conquer their own fears that they are faced with in their everyday lives.

What is Cognitive-Behavior Therapy?

CBT is a highly effective and well established treatment. It aims to focus on understanding, identifying, and changing negative behavior patterns. While individual results vary, results are usually seen in 12 to 16 weeks. When taking part in CBT, the patient is heavily involved with their own recovery and gain skills that they can use throughout their entire lives.

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The patient will read about their problem, keep their own records for the time between appointments, and even complete homework. While the patient will learn the skills in the therapy sessions, it is up to them to routinely practice the skills in order to see improvements.

Dialectical Behavioral therapy (DBT)

DBT integrates cognitive-behavioral techniques and some concepts from Eastern Meditation through the use of acceptance and change. The therapy is both individual and group centered, allowing the use of mindfulness. It teaches skills for tolerating stress, regulating emotions, and interpersonal effectiveness.

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Exposure Therapy

Exposure therapy is the cognitive behavioral therapy process by which responses of anxiety and fear are reduced as an individual is slowly exposed to the object or situation that makes them fearful. This allows them to become less sensitive over time, and this specific type of therapy has been found to be greatly effective for treating phobias and obsessive-compulsive disorders.

Acceptance and Commitment Therapy (ACT)

When implementing this strategy, mindfulness and acceptance are key. This allows you to live in the moment and experience everything with no judgment. There is also behavioral and commitment changes, used to cope with any unwanted feelings, thoughts, and sensations. ACT uses skills that will help to accept these experiences while placing them in a different context and developing clarity about one’s personal values, and committing to the need of changed behavior.

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Interpersonal Therapy (IPT)

This short-term supportive psychotherapy addresses the interpersonal issues caused by depression in adolescents, adults, or older adults. Generally, IPT involves 12 to 16 sessions that last one hour each week. The initial sessions are used to gather information about the reason for the person’s depression and interpersonal experiences.

Eye Movement Desensitization and Reprocessing (EMDR)

Under specific conditions, it is possible for eye movements to potentially reduce the intensity of disturbing thoughts. This EMDR treatment can have a direct effect on the brain and the way that it will process information. In short, it can help a person to see material that disturbs them in a way that causes less distress. It is similar to what happens during REM sleep, and has been proven effective for treating PTSD, phobias, and panic attacks.

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Cognitive Restructuring (Thought Challenging)

This type of therapy is when an individual challenges the negative thinking patterns that contribute to their anxiety, and then replaces these thoughts with realistic and positive ones. There are three steps that need to be done: identifying the negative thoughts, challenging the negative thoughts, and replacing the negative thoughts with realistic ones.

This therapy may also includes confronting your fears, learning coping skills and techniques for relaxation to counteract anxiety, and the tools to recognize when you are anxious and the physiology behind it.

Complementary Therapies

These are used when exploring anxiety disorders, and are designed to bring your stress level down in order to achieve emotional balance. There are several ways to implement this type of therapy including exercise, biofeedback, hypnosis, and relaxation techniques. All of these things are ways to reduce stress and anxiety, which will lead to an improvement in your health overall.

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Sasha Brown

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Last Updated on September 16, 2019

How to Stop Procrastinating: 11 Practical Ways for Procrastinators

How to Stop Procrastinating: 11 Practical Ways for Procrastinators

You have a deadline looming. However, instead of doing your work, you are fiddling with miscellaneous things like checking email, social media, watching videos, surfing blogs and forums. You know you should be working, but you just don’t feel like doing anything.

We are all familiar with the procrastination phenomenon. When we procrastinate, we squander away our free time and put off important tasks we should be doing them till it’s too late. And when it is indeed too late, we panic and wish we got started earlier.

The chronic procrastinators I know have spent years of their life looped in this cycle. Delaying, putting off things, slacking, hiding from work, facing work only when it’s unavoidable, then repeating this loop all over again. It’s a bad habit that eats us away and prevents us from achieving greater results in life.

Don’t let procrastination take over your life. Here, I will share my personal steps on how to stop procrastinating. These 11 steps will definitely apply to you too:

1. Break Your Work into Little Steps

Part of the reason why we procrastinate is because subconsciously, we find the work too overwhelming for us. Break it down into little parts, then focus on one part at the time. If you still procrastinate on the task after breaking it down, then break it down even further. Soon, your task will be so simple that you will be thinking “gee, this is so simple that I might as well just do it now!”.

For example, I’m currently writing a new book (on How to achieve anything in life). Book writing at its full scale is an enormous project and can be overwhelming. However, when I break it down into phases such as –

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  • (1) Research
  • (2) Deciding the topic
  • (3) Creating the outline
  • (4) Drafting the content
  • (5) Writing Chapters #1 to #10,
  • (6) Revision
  • (7) etc.

Suddenly it seems very manageable. What I do then is to focus on the immediate phase and get it done to my best ability, without thinking about the other phases. When it’s done, I move on to the next.

2. Change Your Environment

Different environments have different impact on our productivity. Look at your work desk and your room. Do they make you want to work or do they make you want to snuggle and sleep? If it’s the latter, you should look into changing your workspace.

One thing to note is that an environment that makes us feel inspired before may lose its effect after a period of time. If that’s the case, then it’s time to change things around. Refer to Steps #2 and #3 of 13 Strategies To Jumpstart Your Productivity, which talks about revamping your environment and workspace.

3. Create a Detailed Timeline with Specific Deadlines

Having just 1 deadline for your work is like an invitation to procrastinate. That’s because we get the impression that we have time and keep pushing everything back, until it’s too late.

Break down your project (see tip #1), then create an overall timeline with specific deadlines for each small task. This way, you know you have to finish each task by a certain date. Your timelines must be robust, too – i.e. if you don’t finish this by today, it’s going to jeopardize everything else you have planned after that. This way it creates the urgency to act.

My goals are broken down into monthly, weekly, right down to the daily task lists, and the list is a call to action that I must accomplish this by the specified date, else my goals will be put off.

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Here’re more tips on setting deadlines: 22 Tips for Effective Deadlines

4. Eliminate Your Procrastination Pit-Stops

If you are procrastinating a little too much, maybe that’s because you make it easy to procrastinate.

Identify your browser bookmarks that take up a lot of your time and shift them into a separate folder that is less accessible. Disable the automatic notification option in your email client. Get rid of the distractions around you.

I know some people will out of the way and delete or deactivate their facebook accounts. I think it’s a little drastic and extreme as addressing procrastination is more about being conscious of our actions than counteracting via self-binding methods, but if you feel that’s what’s needed, go for it.

5. Hang out with People Who Inspire You to Take Action

I’m pretty sure if you spend just 10 minutes talking to Steve Jobs or Bill Gates, you’ll be more inspired to act than if you spent the 10 minutes doing nothing. The people we are with influence our behaviors. Of course spending time with Steve Jobs or Bill Gates every day is probably not a feasible method, but the principle applies — The Hidden Power of Every Single Person Around You

Identify the people, friends or colleagues who trigger you – most likely the go-getters and hard workers – and hang out with them more often. Soon you will inculcate their drive and spirit too.

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As a personal development blogger, I “hang out” with inspiring personal development experts by reading their blogs and corresponding with them regularly via email and social media. It’s communication via new media and it works all the same.

6. Get a Buddy

Having a companion makes the whole process much more fun. Ideally, your buddy should be someone who has his/her own set of goals. Both of you will hold each other accountable to your goals and plans. While it’s not necessary for both of you to have the same goals, it’ll be even better if that’s the case, so you can learn from each other.

I have a good friend whom I talk to regularly, and we always ask each other about our goals and progress in achieving those goals. Needless to say, it spurs us to keep taking action.

7. Tell Others About Your Goals

This serves the same function as #6, on a larger scale. Tell all your friends, colleagues, acquaintances and family about your projects. Now whenever you see them, they are bound to ask you about your status on those projects.

For example, sometimes I announce my projects on The Personal Excellence Blog, Twitter and Facebook, and my readers will ask me about them on an ongoing basis. It’s a great way to keep myself accountable to my plans.

8. Seek out Someone Who Has Already Achieved the Outcome

What is it you want to accomplish here, and who are the people who have accomplished this already? Go seek them out and connect with them. Seeing living proof that your goals are very well achievable if you take action is one of the best triggers for action.

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9. Re-Clarify Your Goals

If you have been procrastinating for an extended period of time, it might reflect a misalignment between what you want and what you are currently doing. Often times, we outgrow our goals as we discover more about ourselves, but we don’t change our goals to reflect that.

Get away from your work (a short vacation will be good, else just a weekend break or staycation will do too) and take some time to regroup yourself. What exactly do you want to achieve? What should you do to get there? What are the steps to take? Does your current work align with that? If not, what can you do about it?

10. Stop Over-Complicating Things

Are you waiting for a perfect time to do this? That maybe now is not the best time because of X, Y, Z reasons? Ditch that thought because there’s never a perfect time. If you keep waiting for one, you are never going to accomplish anything.

Perfectionism is one of the biggest reasons for procrastination. Read more about why perfectionist tendencies can be a bane than a boon: Why Being A Perfectionist May Not Be So Perfect.

11. Get a Grip and Just Do It

At the end, it boils down to taking action. You can do all the strategizing, planning and hypothesizing, but if you don’t take action, nothing’s going to happen. Occasionally, I get readers and clients who keep complaining about their situations but they still refuse to take action at the end of the day.

Reality check:

I have never heard anyone procrastinate their way to success before and I doubt it’s going to change in the near future.  Whatever it is you are procrastinating on, if you want to get it done, you need to get a grip on yourself and do it.

More About Procrastination

Featured photo credit: Malvestida Magazine via unsplash.com

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