Many of us live with anxiety every day. As the body’s natural response to stress, anxiety can affect our emotional wellness, causing us to become fearful when faced with high-stakes situations, including:
- Job Interviews – Will I get the job? What if I make a bad first impression?
- First Dates – Will I embarrass myself in front of someone I like? What if I say something stupid or offensive?
- Social Gatherings (both formal or informal) – What if I don’t know anyone there or no one wants to talk to me? What if I have to sit by myself?
- Presentations – What if I make a mistake or can’t remember what to say? What if I fail or disappoint someone?
We all experience feelings of occasional anxiety, but after a short period of time, our minds replace these nervous tendencies with either excitement or relief when the situation is over. When our worries or fears don’t go away, or they become irrational (i.e. cause us to avoid certain settings or relationships, even when danger isn’t present), we’re experiencing what’s known as generalized anxiety disorder.
Treating anxiety through individual therapy allows you to actively participate in your own journey to recovery. Working with a therapist can help you identify the underlying cause of your irrational fears, so you recognize these thoughts early on and use effective coping mechanisms to regain control of your emotional state.
Why is Cognitive Behavior Therapy Used to Treat Anxiety?
According to the Anxiety and Depression Association of America, Cognitive Behavior Therapy (or CBT) is a highly effective approach to treatment that focuses on identifying, understanding, and changing one’s thinking and behavior:
“CBT typically involves reading about the problem, keeping records between appointments, and completing homework assignments in which the treatment procedures are practiced. Patients learn skills during therapy sessions, but they must practice repeatedly to see improvement.”
Learning how to recognize negative thoughts that enter your mind and trigger feelings of fear, worry, or heightened stress allow you to reassess the situation and modify your behavior.
For example, if you avoid social settings (e.g. birthday parties, office happy hours, dinner events with friends, etc.) because you worry about encountering strangers or you fear no one will want to spend time with you or even wants you there, practicing the skills you’ve learned through CBT can help you recognize this type of “automatic response” and help you evaluate it to decide whether this is an irrational fear or a natural reaction to stress.
Understanding how to separate your thoughts from your emotions can help you learn how to control your thinking and regain your self-confidence, one day at a time.
Is CBT Right for Me?
Everyone will experience anxiety independently, but learning how to cope with these negative thoughts can allow you to overcome your fears and build healthy relationships and habits for long-term mental health and wellness.
To learn more about CBT, contact the Calli Institute today.