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Unraveling Your Anxious Thoughts: Cognitive Behavioral Therapy for Anxiety Relief

Anne Lamott once said, "My mind is like a bad neighborhood, I try not to go there alone." Our anxious thoughts can play like a tape of bad things that have happened to us in the past, or worry about bad things that could happen in the future. It can be scary in there. With anxiety, we can feel like we're navigating through a maze of relentless worries and fears. Fortunately, there's a path to relief: Cognitive Behavioral Therapy (CBT). Dr. Pamela Brody at Heart Bloom Therapy offers expert CBT to help you unravel anxious thoughts and reclaim your life. 

Understanding Anxiety

Anxiety isn't always bad. In fact, some anxiety is important to keep us alert and alive. It can be motivating, like when you need to meet a deadline, or run from a bear. When it goes beyond a certain threshhold, however, it can significantly impact our lives. Anxiety can manifest in several forms, including generalized anxiety disorder (GAD), panic disorder, postraumatic stress diorder, social anxiety disorder, obsessive-compulsive disorder, and phobias. These conditions can significantly impact daily functioning, relationships, and overall well-being. 

Thoughts Are Just Thoughts. Thoughts Are Not Facts!

We all have a constant stream of thoughts. Worrying and rumination are our brains' attempt to keep us safe and away from danger. Our brain is doing its job by telling us, "Look there's a bear, run!" This constant flow of thoughts is also what is known in meditation as mind chatter. Although thoughts are contantly flowing through our minds, we can learn to pay less attention to them. Anxiety is associated with taking our anxious and worried thoughts very seriously. We often seek reassurance from others, like you ask your friend, "you see the bear too, don't you?" The more attention we give to our anxious thoughts, the more they show up in our body sensations and emotions. For example, we might feel tightness in our chest or a knot in our stomach. We may feel anxious and on edge. The more attention we give these thoughts, the more this cycle continues and gets etched into our bodies and minds.

How Cognitive Behavioral Therapy Can Help With Anxiety  

Cognitive behavioral therapy is a structured, evidence-based therapy that works with individuals to understand the intricate connection between thoughts, actions, and their impact on mood and overall quality of life. Through this understanding, CBT teaches skills and strategies to help cleints overcome their fears, and to navigate daily challenges effectively. 

Tip For Dealing with Anxious Thoughts:

You can try to distance yourself from these thoughts. Imagine that you are projecting them onto a movie screen and you can watch them go by. We can develop the capacity for "witnessing" the flow us our thoughts and get better at not getting hooked on them. In other words, we can try to be curious about our thoughts and look "at them" rather than being enveloped in them and look "through them."  In Acceptance and Commitment Therapy, a newer form of CBT, this skill is called "de-fusion" where we learn to be less "fused" with our thoughts. This is a skill we can practice.

What Strategies Does CBT Include?

At Heart Bloom Therapy, I use various CBT techniques to help individuals identify and challenge negative thought patterns and behaviors contributing to their anxiety. By learning to recognize, witness, and reframe limiting beliefs, clients can effectively manage the symptoms of anxiety and get back to thriving in their lives.The approaches are tailored to each individual and include:

  • Acceptance techniques to help increase mental flexiblity and resilience.  

  • Cognitive restructuring to challenge and reframe unhelpful thoughts contributing to anxiety. 

  • Behavioral experimentdesigned to to overcome avoidance behaviors. 

  • Journaling to promote self-reflection and emotional processing.  

  • Relaxation and mindfulness techniques, such as deep breathing, progressive muscle relaxation, and meditation. These techniques help clients learn to be more present and sit with uncomfortable feelings rather than avoid them.

Cognitive behavioral therapy for anxiety also works to address other areas in clients' lives such as sleep patterns, stress management, and relationship issues. Through this integrated approach CBT aims to promote healing, growth, and resiliency. 

Schedule an Appointment With Dr. Pamela Brody at Heart Bloom Therapy

If anxiety is holding you back from living life to the fullest, consider cognitive behavioral therapy from Heart Bloom Therapy. With compassionate support, evidence-based techniques, and a commitment to your well-being, I'm here to help you unravel your anxious thoughts to help you live with less fear and more freedom. 

Contact Dr. Pamela Brody at Heart Bloom Therapy today to learn more about CBT and take the first step toward anxiety relief.