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Cognitive Behavioral Therapy (CBT) Exercises for Anxiety – A Brief Guide

Depicting basic tenets of CBTThere are several cognitive behavioural therapy exercises designed to counter the negative effects of mental illnesses like depression and anxiety.

These exercises come into play when negative automatic thoughts are identified, examined, and the patient is challenged to get rid of them with healthy rational thinking.

Exercises may vary over time, and people suffering from anxiety may have to resort to different kinds of mental exercises as part of their overall psychological therapy to meet with total success. CBT4Panic offers panic dialogues, emergency self-talk scripts, and a four-step program to tackle anxiety.

Here are some exercises commonly used in CBT treatments:

Graded Exposure
This exercise is an extremely effective tool to help patients recognize behavioral tendencies that lead to anxiety. The graded exposure intervention exposes sufferers to behaviors they normally would not demonstrate.

By constantly coming in contact with circumstances leading to anxiety and fear, sufferers learn to adopt the approach that leads to reduction in anxiety over the long term.

Cognitive Restructure
This cognitive behavioral therapy exercise helps people examine their negative thinking patterns and come up with ways to tackle them when they arise.

For example, a cognitive restructuring exercise may involve maintaining thought records, thereby identifying abnormal automatic thought processes and countering them with alternate responses.

Successive Approximation
This is a practical tool that helps people divide difficult tasks into segments to achieve seemingly improbable goals. Steps include performing a single task aimed at achieving the goal.

Patients typically find that it is easier to perform a single step than several tasks put together. By attempting one task at a time, sufferers are able to master all these goal-achieving tasks.

Developing Skills
If skill deficits are identified, sufferers are put through skills training, a cognitive behavioral therapy exercise consisting of direct instructions for patients to follow. They model and role-play with the intention of completing tasks that help them achieve their larger goals.

Mindfulness Meditation
Sufferers learn to distance themselves from obsessions or harmful ruminations by coming to grips with situations they face in the present. Meditation in different forms can be practiced. Studies show this CBT exercise is responsible for curing different kinds of psychological problems.

Scheduling Activity
Depression is often tackled by using activity scheduling exercises wherein people experience behavioral changes they normally would not consider. For instance, a low-frequency activity can be systematically increased over the week to form a pattern that leads to positive behavior over the long term.

Breathing Exercises
One of the best exercises to tackle the psychological impact of anxiety is to regularly perform breathing exercises for relaxation. This cognitive behavioral therapy exercise helps sufferers recover from psychological problems leading to symptoms like dizziness, shortness of breath, and rapid heart rates.

The exercise helps control negative emotions arising in the body. Slowly but surely, patients gain clarity over thoughts leading to enhanced comfort levels and lessened anxiety symptoms.

Logging Stress
Keeping a record of automatic negative thoughts is a practical way of gaining more insight into the working of one’s mind. By keeping note of repetitive negative behavior, sufferers become aware of a chronic problem and are able to cope with it in time.

One of the best ways to solve problems related to anxiety is to adopt an active problem-solving role. This CBT exercise involves charting out strategies and following them. Sufferers face difficult situations to reach a point where they have better control over anxiety.

Challenging Negative Thoughts
Another useful CBT exercise is to directly challenge negative thoughts when they arise. In time, sufferers are able to come up with rational behavior that replace these distorted thought processes.

Anxiety Scales
Two of the most effective scales or exercises used by sufferers include the Blue scale and the Anxiety Scale. These scales help monitor symptoms of depression at different levels. Sufferers then keep track of progress made with the help of progress reports.

Daily Action
People suffering from depression undergo different CBT exercises. By keeping constant track of symptoms when daily activities are performed, they are able to identify patterns.

For instance, people begin to understand intense pleasure, anxiety, and depression when they occur. Again, solutions are designed to gain mastery over these negative thoughts.

In all instances, cognitive behavioral therapy exercises help people gain confidence. They begin to take active roles in solving their emotional problems.

If planned psychological exercises are not included in therapy, people go into depression or experience chronic mood fluctuations leading to repeated failures. This is why CBT4Panic follows a comprehensive program that is customized for each patient.

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