Cognitive – behavior therapy and mindfulness have been shown to be effective in treating anxiety. Both types of therapy work by changing the way that people think about situations or events, helping them to see things in a more positive light and reducing their fears and worries.
One of the key components of cognitive – behavior therapy is behavioral exposure. Behavioral exposure involves gradually facing your fears until you are no longer afraid of them. For example, if you suffer from severe anxiety when driving in traffic, you might start with simply sitting in your car while it’s parked before eventually working up to driving slowly on quiet roads and then busy ones.
Another important component of cognitive – behavior therapy for anxiety is cognitive restructuring, which involves identifying negative or distorted thoughts . These thoughts are often based on fearful “what-if” scenarios, such as What if I have a panic attack while driving? or What if I mess up and lose my job?
The goal of cognitive restructuring is to identify these anxious thoughts and replace them with more balanced ones. For example, you might ask yourself whether there’s any real evidence that the situation you fear will actually happen. In the case of a panic attack while driving, you could remind yourself that it’s highly unlikely to occur. With regard to worries about losing your job, you can focus instead on what you’ve done well in your work to date and how much experience and knowledge you have. You can also develop coping strategies that help deal with common stressors at work, such as difficult people or tight deadlines.
Mindfulness techniques are also an important part of cognitive – behavior therapy for anxiety . Mindfulness involves becoming more aware of your thoughts and feelings in the present moment without judging them as good or bad. People who practice mindfulness can learn to objectively observe their fears and worries about a situation, focusing instead on what is happening right now. As a result, they are better able to manage stressors that might otherwise lead to anxiety. Examples of mindfulness exercises include focusing on your breath coming in and going out, observing your surroundings without judgment, and noting the presence of sounds around you without attaching any meaning to those sounds.
Overall, using both cognitive – behavior therapy and mindfulness can be effective in treating anxiety. Both types of therapy help you to identify your thoughts and feelings and make behavioral changes that help to reduce anxiety symptoms in the long-term.