Managing our feelings and thoughts can be hard to do under normal circumstances, so we are finding it even harder in a world of uncertainty. What we are feeling is a very human response to the situation we find ourselves in, but in order to maintain good mental and physical health it may be helpful to use some simple ideas from Cognitive Behavioural Therapy as a support. It can be useful to consider that we are using these ideas to build up our immune system, both physically and mentally. We can do this by trying to keep our stress levels at a more tolerable level from day to day. Hopefully, it will also help us to live in a more positive way despite the current challenges. These ideas are not the ‘answer to everything’ but can perhaps help us to think and act in more helpful ways.
“The principles are beneficial, regardless of whether you are trying to face a particular problem or situation. Or whether you are just living your daily life. CBT techniques inspire confidence and courage, meaning individuals feel better in themselves and notice an increase in their confidence and self-esteem.” (The CBT Workbook Dr Stephanie Fitzgerald)
CBT is based on the idea that our thoughts, feelings, physical feelings and behaviours all affect and interact with each other.
By changing things in one area we will see changes in all the others. A small shift can create positive change, so we are encouraged very quickly.
One of the first steps is to try and identify our thoughts, feelings and behaviour. So here is a table to look at. What would you think? How would you feel? What would you do?
Situation: Your partner is late for a meal
|That is so inconsiderate and selfish. The meal will be ruined.
Oh my goodness. I hope everything is ok
|Go in the huff and refuse to speak.
Call to check
As you can see our thoughts and feelings can cause very different behaviours. The idea of CBT is to become more aware of our thoughts and feelings and find ways to check them out and perhaps manage them differently so that we can prevent getting into a vicious and unhelpful cycle.