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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 28, 2020

The Pros and Cons of Working from Home

The Pros and Cons of Working from Home

At the start of the year, if you had asked anyone if they could do their work from home, many would have said no. They would have cited the need for team meetings, a place to be able to sit down and get on with their work, the camaraderie of the office, and being able to meet customers and clients face to face.

Almost ten months later, most of us have learned that we can do our work from home and in many ways, we have discovered working from home is a lot better than doing our work in a busy, bustling office environment where we are inundated with distractions and noise.

One of the things the 2020 pandemic has reminded us is we humans are incredibly adaptable. It is one of the strengths of our kind. Yet we have been unknowingly practicing this for years. When we move house we go through enormous upheaval.

When we change jobs, we not only change our work environment but we also change the surrounding people. Humans are adaptable and this adaptability gives us strength.

So, what are the pros and cons of working from home? Below I will share some things I have discovered since I made the change to being predominantly a person who works from home.

Pro #1: A More Relaxed Start to the Day

This one I love. When I had to be at a place of work in the past, I would always set my alarm to give me just enough time to make coffee, take a shower, and change. Mornings always felt like a rush.

Now, I can wake up a little later, make coffee and instead of rushing to get out of the door at a specific time, I can spend ten minutes writing in my journal, reviewing my plan for the day, and start the day in a more relaxed frame of mind.

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When you start the day in a relaxed state, you begin more positively. You find you have more clarity and more focus and you are not wasting energy worrying about whether you will be late.

Pro #2: More Quiet, Focused Time = Increased Productivity

One of the biggest difficulties of working in an office is the noise and distractions. If a colleague or boss can see you sat at your desk, you are more approachable. It is easier for them to ask you questions or engage you in meaningless conversations.

Working from home allows you to shut the door and get on with an hour or two of quiet focused work. If you close down your Slack and Email, you avoid the risk of being disturbed and it is amazing how much work you can get done.

An experiment conducted in 2012 found that working from home increased a person’s productivity by 13%, and more recent studies also find significant increases in productivity.[1]

When our productivity increases, the amount of time we need to perform our work decreases, and this means we can spend more time on activities that can bring us closer to our family and friends as well as improve our mental health.

Pro #3: More Control Over Your Day

Without bosses and colleagues watching over us all day, we have a lot more control over what we do. While some work will inevitably be more urgent than others, we still get a lot more choice about what we work on.

We also get more control over where we work. I remember when working in an office, we were given a fixed workstation. Some of these workstations were pleasant with a lot of natural sunlight, but other areas were less pleasant. It was often the luck of the draw whether we find ourselves in a good place to work or not.

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By working from home we can choose what work to work on and whether we want to face a window or not. We can get up and move to another place, and we can move from room to room. And if you have a garden, on nice days you could spend a few hours working outside.

Pro #4: You Get to Choose Your Office Environment

While many companies will provide you with a laptop or other equipment to do your work, others will give you an allowance to purchase your equipment. But with furniture such as your chair and desk, you have a lot of freedom.

I have seen a lot of amazing home working spaces with wonderful sets up—better chairs, laptop stands that make working from a laptop much more ergonomic and therefore, better for your neck.

You can also choose your wall art and the little nick-nacks on your desk or table. With all this freedom, you can create a very personal and excellent working environment that is a pleasure to work in. When you are happy doing your work, you will inevitably do better work.

Con #1: We Move a Lot Less

When we commute to a place of work, there is movement involved. Many people commute using public transport, which means walking to the bus stop or train station. Then, there is the movement at lunchtime when we go out to buy our lunch. Working in a place of work requires us to move more.

Unfortunately, working from home naturally causes us to move less and this means we are not burning as many calories as we need to.

Moving is essential to our health and if you are working from home you need to become much more aware of your movement. To ensure you are moving enough, make sure you take your lunch breaks. Get up from your desk and move. Go outside, if you can, and take a walk. And, of course, refrain from regular trips to the refrigerator.

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Con #2: Less Human Interaction

One of the nicest things about bringing a group of people together to work is the camaraderie and relationships that are built over time. Working from home takes us away from that human interaction and for many, this can cause a feeling of loss.

Humans are a social species—we need to be with other people. Without that connection, we start to feel lonely and that can lead to mental health issues.

Zoom and Microsoft Teams meeting cannot replace that interaction. Often, the interactions we get at our workplaces are spontaneous. But with video calls, there is nothing spontaneous—most of these calls are prearranged and that’s not spontaneous.

This lack of spontaneous interaction can also reduce a team’s ability to develop creative solutions—there’s just something about a group of incredibly creative people coming together in a room to thrash out ideas together that lends itself to creativity.

While video calls can be useful, they don’t match the connection between a group of people working on a solution together.

Con #3: The Cost of Buying Home Office Equipment

Not all companies are going to provide you with a nice allowance to buy expensive home office equipment. 100% remote companies such as Doist (the creators of Todoist and Twist) provide a $2,000 allowance to all their staff every two years to buy office equipment. Others are not so generous.

This can prove to be expensive for many people to create their ideal work-from-home workspace. Many people must make do with what they already have, and that could mean unsuitable chairs that damage backs and necks.

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For a future that will likely involve more flexible working arrangements, companies will need to support their staff in ways that will add additional costs to an already reduced bottom line.

Con #4: Unique Distractions

Not all people have the benefit of being able to afford childcare for young children, and this means they need to balance working and taking care of their kids.

For many parents, being able to go to a workplace gives them time away from the noise and demands of a young family, so they could get on with their work. Working from home removes this and can make doing video calls almost impossible.

To overcome this, where possible, you need to set some boundaries. I know this is not always possible, but it is something you need to try. You should do whatever you can to make sure you have some boundaries between your work life and home life.

Final Thoughts

Working from home can be hugely beneficial for many people, but it can also bring serious challenges to others.

We are moving towards a new way of working. Therefore, companies need to look at both the pros and cons of working from home and be prepared to support their staff in making this transition. It will not be impossible, but a lot of thought will need to go into it.

More About Working From Home

Featured photo credit: Standsome Worklifestyle via unsplash.com

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