Cognitive Behaviour Therapy (CBT) & Its Impact on Reducing Stress

As we all are aware of the fact that the COVID-19 pandemic & lockdown has brought about many changes in the lifestyle of people which likewise has brought about many changes in the mood, health, habits as well as the relationships of people to their near and dear ones. Sometimes these all changes in the lifestyle & the adjustments to the new today can be very stressful to cope up with. Therefore, to put a check on all these changes & the impacts of these, Cognitive Behaviour Therapy (CBT) can be beneficial for all.

What is Cognitive Behaviour Therapy (CBT)?
It is a kind of evidence-based treatment to reduce negative psychological symptoms. The therapy is completely based on the thoughts as well as the behaviour of a person & aims at solving the intellectual hiccups faced by him/her. For many people, the feeling & behaviour cycle works on autopilot through which they automatically react similarly to a reflex action according to the situation in front of them. However, if there is timely monitoring of negative thought pattern & introduce healthy behaviours as a part of daily life, it can surprisingly change the way we feel. This therapy is tailored to perfectly fit our thoughts, feelings & behaviours to ultimately find a better sense of wellness.

How Does It Work?
Cognitive Behavioural Therapy is not directly focused on what is happening in a person’s life. Though the therapist may ask about the person’s past to get a better sense of the reason behind the present mental status of the person. CBT can also be called a kind of researched psychotherapy & studies show that works better & faster than other types of therapies to address a variety of psychological concerns. Many therapists consider CBT a gold-standard & the first line of treatment. A CBT approaches for specific populations & can be effective in reducing symptoms associated with depression, anxiety, post-traumatic stress, panic attacks, social anxiety, disordered eating, insomnia, headaches, psychosis, pain & more. Research shows that adaptations of CBT are effective for people of all ages including young children, school-aged youth, teens & adults.

What does CBT look like?
A CBT therapist can work with you side by side to create a personalized treatment plan & alter it to your goals & lifestyle. The session topics may include, but are not limited to:

  • Emotion identification
  • Mind-body awareness
  • Mood/thought tracking
  • Effect of thought-feeling-behaviour cycle on you
  • Relaxation skills
  • Behaviour activation
  • Regulating strong emotions
  • Changing unhelpful thoughts
  • Challenging unhelpful beliefs
  • Communication strategies
  • Identifying unhelpful thoughts or automatic thoughts
  • Problem-solving

Automatic thoughts
Thoughts are similar to the background music to our outer actions & attitudes. Automatic thoughts are similar to old songs that get stuck in our heads. They pop-up suddenly & we may not notice that the song is playing on a loop, the way it is affecting our mood, or even that we could be starting to hum some of it out loud. Automatic thoughts are instantaneous, non-conscious & often recurring thoughts to which our bodies & brains respond on reflexes based on our experiences & beliefs. We often don’t even notice that we are having an automatic thought unless we are paying precise attention to it, so we don’t assess whether or not it is a true or helpful thought. We don’t often test where we learned the belief behind the thought, whether that was a trustworthy source, or notice how it affects our mood or behaviour. Rather, our minds subconsciously accept the thought at face value & act accordingly.

However, Automatic Negative Thoughts (or ANTs) often pop up in our minds & cause distress or unhelpful behaviours. ANTs can be about oneself, someone else, or the future. Similar to actual ants, ANTs can arrive one after another & soon our minds might be swarming with negative thoughts that can leave us feeling overwhelmed & stressed.

In CBT, a therapist can help you learn to identify these automatic negative thoughts when they are happening&take a closer look at whether they are accurate or helpful. Then, you can learn ways to change or adjust those thoughts when you notice them interrupting your mood & behaviours. Some CBT-based activities to change automatic negative thoughts are:

  • Learning about common types or flavours of unhelpful thoughts
  • Finding evidence for & against a thought or belief
  • Increasing positive self-talk, as if you were talking to a best friend
  • Adjusting the language of your thought to be more realistic
  • Asking others what they think about it
  • Testing your “what if” theories


All the thoughts we get in our minds & the actions with them come out as a result of our minds being stuck in a loop of negativity whether we are aware of that or not but if we try to dedicate some time from our busy & hectic lives especially after this COVID-19 pandemic then it can be said that these would be of great help to deal with daily life stress & a significant factor which can assist this all is the Cognitive Behaviour Therapy (CBT).

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