Cognitive Behavioral Skills You'll Need to Beat Anxiety
Five essential skills for overcoming anxiety and getting on with a happy life
Posted Dec 05, 2012
1. The Ability to Tolerate Uncertainty
Intolerance of uncertainty is anxiety when you can't be 100 percent sure a negative event won't happen.
People who can't tolerate uncertainty often avoid situations, procrastinate, ressurance seek, delay taking action, do excessive checking, and refuse to delegate.
2. The Ability to Recognize Rumination
Rumination is when you're repeatedly bothered by a worry thought. When people ruminate, their problem solving capacity is reduced. If you're ruminating, it's often best to wait to attempt to problem solve until you can think about the issue without jumping straight into rumination mode.
The best thing you can do when you're ruminating is accept that you're having whatever thoughts you're having, recognize that the thoughts might not be accurate, and allow the thoughts to pass in their own time rather than trying to block them out (Trying to block out distressing thoughts will just cause increased intensity and intrusions of the thoughts you're trying not to have).
3. The Ability to Recognize Thought Distortions
Types of thought distortions include: making excessively negative predictions, understimating your ability to cope, personalizing, mindreading, catastrophizing, shoulds and musts, making judgments of yourself or others that are black/white rather than gray, entitlement thoughts (e.g., thinking that the normal rules shouldn't apply to you), and more.
The key is recognizing thought distortions is to ask yourself what thoughts you're having when you feel distressed. Some of these thoughts are likely to be thought distortions. You can try doing a CBT Thought Record.
4. The Ability and Willingness to Use Mindfulness Techniques
Mindfulness techniques help reduce anxiety and increase willpower. Practicing mindfulness wil help you: reduce avoidance coping, make better choices even you're feeling anxious, and help you ruminate less. Try this Ten Minute Mindful Walking Exercise.
5. The Ability to Talk to Yourself Kindly About Your Imperfections and Mistakes
Criticizing yourself harshly when you make a mistake or when one of your personal imperfections shows up is likely to lead to rumination and avoidance coping. Research has shown that talking to yourself kindly not only helps you feel better but also increases self-improvement motivation.
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