According to the Mental Health Foundation, there were 8.2 million diagnosed anxiety suffers in the UK in 2013, and this number continues to rise. Despite its prevalence, anxiety is still not well understood, with many sufferers struggling with the feeling that they should be able to overcome this on their own. Cognitive Behaviour Therapy (CBT) can help those suffering with anxiety by teaching coping and mindfulness techniques, without which it is almost impossible to retrain your way of thinking.
Cognitive – how you think
Anxiety can become ingrained as you start to link certain actions to certain feelings, until the anxiety becomes a natural part of that action. CBT is able to help you to recognise these patterns of behaviour and thinking in order to change them. It helps you to focus your attention on these negative, intrusive thoughts, so that you are able to rewire your brain to more positive action. You will come across ways of handing your anxiety and fear using more rational self statements which you can put into place whenever you feel anxiety creeping on. Acceptance is also taught and is the first step to coming to terms with the thoughts you are having and stop trying to battle your own mind.
Behaviour – what you do
The second arm of CBT therapy teaches you what you need to do in order to keep anxiety at bay. These strategies allow you to put into place everything you have learned about your mind and the patterns you have fallen into. Changing your behaviour is the best way to deal with any anxiety symptom, and you will be able to stop each one with time and patience.
Emotional response – changing your emotional reaction
Often the symptoms of anxiety are very emotional, with frustration and panic taking over. CBT can teach you relaxation and power strategies which help you to take back the control over your body and mind and remain peaceful the majority of the time. Keeping the brain quiet is an excellent way to recognise when an intrusive thought starts to creep in and CBT will teach this.