CBT or Cognitive Behavioural Therapy is systematic program that involves training an individual to think and act in a healthy and constructive manner. However, the basic elements of CBT like mindfulness and detachment have been around for over a thousand years as a part of Buddhism and Hinduism. What makes this program stand out is the variety of techniques that you can combine and test. Here are a few popular techniques used in Cognitive Behavioural Therapy that can change the way you look at the world: –
- Mix and Match Perspectives
You can test different thoughts and perspectives about different aspects of your daily life and thereby counter certain negative notions and solve pressing problems in your life. For example, let us suppose you want to give up smoking. You begin with the thought – “If I sprint whenever I feel like smoking, I will smoke less.” Alongside, you can also test a thought like – “If I eat a chewing gum whenever I feel like smoking, I will smoke less.” Try these two approaches on different occasions and see which gives a more effective result.
- List and Review your Thoughts
Our thoughts are formed from our immediate and long-term experience, but those formed out of immediate experience tend to dominate our mind, which need not always be valid. In order to check the validity of a stream of thought, make a list of such thoughts and seek evidence for and against it. For example, let us suppose you are writer, and your latest manuscript was rejected by the publisher. These are the thoughts running in your head- “I am not a good writer”, “I am not as good as I used to be”. Consciously, make a list of such thoughts and collect evidence for and against each of them. Use positive evidence like, “I am still being paid for all my published works”, “I am still able to write 5000 words every day”, and balance out your negative thoughts.
- Plan Positive Activities
Make a weekly or monthly plan of fun activities you would like to do for yourself. For each day of the week, plan a small activity that you think would give you more happiness and satisfaction. Do something that you don’t do every day, like learning to play a music instrument, surprising an old friend, etc. These will build more positive emotions in you that can help you view your reality more positively.
- Grading Fears and Gradual Exposure
List out your worst fears and rank them in the order of 1 to 10 or more. For example,if your worst fear is driving, mark it 1. You also feel a little apprehensive talking to women, which you can grade in between 5 to 10 according to the severity of the condition. Now that you have graded your fears or things you avoid, you can start by solving the one on the 10th position, and slowly move up the ladder. As you overcome one fear after the other you will gain a lot of confidence in the process. You will be able to build enough confidence by the time you reach the number one in the list.
- Deep analysis of a Negative Experience
One popular belief is that the best way to overcome a negative experience is to stop thinking about it. However, it is found that it never goes away unless it is given the attention it demands. Perform a detailed analysis of the memories of the experience and focus on its imagery as long as it takes for the distress to dissipate. Once you thus train your mind to deal with a negative memory productively, you will find a lot of energy and happiness at your disposal.
Hope the above techniques have helped you gain a better understanding of your mind. Let us know your comments and feedback in the comments section below.