3 Instantly Calming CBT Techniques For Anxiety
Hi, I'm Mark Tyrrell of Uncommon Knowledge and welcome to 3
AnxietyNow, Marcus Aurelius said, "Very little is needed to make a happy life, it is all within yourself in your way of thinking." Now I'm a huge admirer of Aurelius and loved his 'Reflections', which I read many years ago, but in the interests of thinking for myself I open with the this quote from the famous stoic philosopher and Roman Emperor because in my humble opinion it's just plain wrong, or at the very least vastly incomplete. So let me explain! People thrive in environments that help them meet their innate emotional and physical needs, so as human beings we have these innate needs, and we have an instinctual desire to fulfil them and when we don't fulfil them we unavoidably suffer and I think it's reassuring to let clients know sometimes that their happiness isn't just about what they do inside their own minds it's also to do with the extent to which their environment meets their needs it's also about taking action to identify and meet their needs, so people who meet their needs in a balanced way are less likely to suffer
anxiety. Just as thirst is a signal that you're not meeting your need for hydration,
anxietyis a signal that you are not meeting your needs in some way. you're not meeting your needs in some way now this isn't to say that what we do in our minds has no relevance to our happiness or lack...
thereof of course it does but the way we feel is not just a response to the way things really are out there in the world it's also about how we make sense of what's happening to us okay now in case you thought I was done ranting I have one other issue with cognitive behavioral therapy that I need to air before I give you three easy to apply CBD
anxietythat I've found over the years incredibly useful when work with anxious clients so let's look at this shaky theory first of changing thoughts to change feelings now strong emotion arises not after thoughts not because of thoughts but before them and if you see reference one you'll know what I mean so it's often easier and more powerful to change feelings than it is to change thoughts okay again this basic neuroscience contradicts classical CBT emotions are a fundamental human characteristic essential for immediate physical survival they're more powerful and thoughts occurring much more quickly than cognition and sometimes with no associative thoughts at all clinical hypnosis is the best way to change feelings directly see reference to and a change in our thoughts is a natural consequence of a change in our emotional responses so for post-traumatic stress disorder and phobias for example it's not faulty thinking that's the problem and the chances of making significant progress through CBT alone are very remote okay but I'm not completely condemning CBT here I do...
believe it can be really useful for less severe
anxietyconditions but only when used with skilled approaches that work directly to calm feelings right down so here are three simple
techniquesthat focus on the thinking and behaving part of a person to help them take back control when they've been feeling anxious so CBT technique one is focus on how the feelings will change it's very simple so I'll often remind clients that feelings are fluid and inevitably change so even if after all the relaxed mental rehearsal work that we've done with the clients they find themselves starting to feel a little anxious in a situation I want them to be thinking about what their feelings will be once they've started to feel better again specifically focusing on that expected change so it might help to write down those expect changes in a few words so for example if they're nervous about a presentation they might write down something like I'm feeling somewhat nervous which is natural when those feelings change I expect to feel calm and clear-headed again so they've given themselves a blueprint a template for what to expect so on top of this I'll ask them to imagine what the very first little sign might be that those alterations in feeling are starting to happen because they will inevitably happen okay so they might tell me that they um they'll find themselves speaking more spontaneously to their audience or it might be helpful to write those words down...
too okay so feelings always shift and even just remembering that is really useful having your client write or think about how they expect their feelings to improve and the very first little indications that
anxietyis morphing into calm take that concept to the next level so all good psychological interventions help change expectations and this technique is no exception okay now the next technique can be applied in lots of different ways and is more behavioral than cognitive so the second CBT technique is chew it over and act normal okay so
anxietyis a survival responses you know it's not an illness but it's a response that can go wrong sometimes to the point that it hinders rather than helps like a guard dog that feels like it's helping even as it bites the leg of the friendly postman or mailman or the little old lady next door so your
anxietyresponse kicks in because it senses a threat even though that perceived threat may not actually be a real threat at all so one way to train
anxietyto be selective and behave itself is to give it feedback to let it know that thanks but you're not needed right now okay because
anxietytakes its lead from what clients ooh okay as well as simple emotional pattern-matching so if the client acts in ways they wouldn't act in a real emergency the
anxietywill fade away for example during an emergency we wouldn't talk softly and calmly we wouldn't smile we wouldn't salivate we wouldn't breathe deeply and we...
wouldn't have open body posture okay now if we adopt purpose purposefully adopt some of these behaviors or even just one of these behaviors when we begin to feel stressed then we're altering the feedback loop where where we're sending the feedback back to our sympathetic nervous system the fear response that it's not needed that all is fine good and well we send it a message see if there was a real threat I wouldn't be salivating I wouldn't be talking normally I wouldn't be breathing out for longer than I breathe in so something even the most anxious client can easily do is chew gum or even just imagine they are and this is something you'd never be doing during a genuine threat because chewing gum of course produces saliva in anticipation of eating so it can very quickly switch off the cascade of
anxietywe don't tend to have the luxury of eating in life-threatening circumstances okay so we can encourage our clients to act normal during stressful times to quickly change the feedback loop and switch off
anxietyfast okay so very powerful but simple approach and just knowing they can do this can give clients a huge boost in confidence and a sense of control back because
anxietytends to take away people's sense of control
anxietyis all about expectation which tends to be catastrophic so let's bring some thought to it next so the final CBT technique is catch the underlying assumption and chase down the logical conclusions okay so if...
someone feels anxious about something it's because they have a fear of some consequence but what is that consequence so for example if I fear attending a party I might ask myself what consequence do I fear and I might decide you know I fear meeting new P poor okay but what's the consequence of that I could ask myself I might say well they might not like me but what's the consequence of that and I'll well that I'll feel upset and what's the consequence of that well I'll feel that I'm unlikable and so on and we can go on and on with this but how will I deal with that okay I'll remember people who do like me okay I'll soon forget about the party it'll be in the past I'll remember that I can be wrong when assuming people don't like me okay so we're finding contradictions to the ultimate conclusion of the fear okay and I've done that with people who are insecure in relationships by having them describe what it is precisely they fear and begin to see that the relationship breakdown wouldn't be in fact some kind of catastrophic end but a step along the path to something else that wouldn't necessarily even be bad so when someone comes to feel that even if their relationship did end they would and could survive or even thrive then the fuel of the insecurity dries up okay so the takeaways here are one strong feelings shape the thoughts not the other way around although Marcus Aurelius did have some great insights we...
can directly help lift and calm feelings so thoughts fall into line with karma emotionality to working to reframe thoughts can be really useful and three we can help people remember that feelings always change and focus on how they expect any current unpleasant feelings to change this alone can begin to bring about the very expectation they have imagined for we can teach clients to alter their behavioral feedback so as to send the message to their sympathetic nervous system nothing to report here no emergency down and just knowing this is possible for clients can help them feel more secure and confident and five finally we can enable clients to catch underlying assumptions and follow the logical conclusions to think about how they would actually survive even thrive if the worst or the so-called worst did happen Marcus Aurelius also said we ought to do good to others as simply as a horse runs or a bee makes honey or a vine bears grapes season after season without thinking of the grapes it is born and we can't say fairer than that so I hope you found this useful and if you did please hit like subscribe and if you want to hear where my next video is published hit the notification bell below I'm mark Tara of uncommon knowledge and I hope I'll see you soon over at uncom slash blog