Depression and anxiety are the two most prominent mental health conditions across the globe. People experience different levels of each condition, as well as different symptoms. But, when they are left untreated, those symptoms can become worse. For some, depression and anxiety can take over your life and make you feel as though you’re paralyzed from living the life you truly want to.
One of the most popular treatment methods for depression and anxiety is Cognitive Behavioral Therapy (CBT).
CBT is a short-term treatment, which is one of the reasons it’s so popular. It’s also effective as it works by changing your thoughts to get rid of your negative emotions or behaviors.
But can CBT be used to actually prevent depression and anxiety? Yes, it can certainly help. Let’s look at five ways you can use it to keep symptoms of these conditions at bay.
1. Identify Your Negative Thoughts
The idea behind CBT is to change how you respond to your negative thoughts. So, identify those thoughts whenever they enter your mind. When you’re able to identify them, you’ll instantly be getting to the “root cause.”
The sooner you get to that underlying cause, the easier it is to make sure it doesn’t get worse and contribute to the effects of anxiety or depression.
If you start to experience negative thinking, don’t brush it off or disregard it. Accept it, and understand it, so you can change it.
2. Fight Back Against Those Thoughts
When you’re able to identify your negative thoughts, you’ll have more power to fight back against them. This keeps them from becoming overwhelming, so you’re less likely to feel anxious about them.
3. Dissect Where the Thought is Coming From
It’s often not enough to just identify a thought as “bad.” For example, if you get uncomfortable in social situations today and start developing negative thoughts about upcoming events, consider why.
Recognizing that it’s an issue is half the battle. But, where are those thoughts coming from? In many cases, they stem from childhood issues or past experiences holding on and causing you to become fearful or upset. It’s much easier to challenge a thought when you can go all the way back to the source.
4. Create a Positive Opposition
You can prevent negative thoughts from taking over and causing anxiety or depression by creating positive counterparts.
Using the same example, if you think about getting into an awkward situation at an event, replace it with the idea of positive social interactions, laughter, and developing new relationships.
Your positive thoughts should be as realistic as possible, so you aren’t setting expectations that are not feasible. But, if you choose to flip the negative to a positive, you will feel more comfortable and less anxious about whatever situation you’re entering into.
5. Talk to a Professional
One of the best ways to prevent depression and anxiety using CBT is to talk to a mental health professional about it.
You don’t have to wait until you’re experiencing severe symptoms of anxiety or depression to reach out for help. If negative thoughts are starting to creep into your mind more often than you’d like, getting on top of them can help you to control a possible mental health condition before it becomes worse.
While you can use CBT techniques on your own, it’s important to know what you’re doing and practice them the right way. To get started, talking with a mental health professional can be a big help and offer you peace of mind.
If you’re struggling with negative thoughts or trying to prevent the return of anxiety and depression in your life, feel free to contact us for more information.