Mental health awareness week: 4 Lessons to take away from CBT

Last week was mental health awareness week. Social media platforms were inundated with discussions surrounding the topic. However, as the week drew to a close so did the discussions. Only recently has the stigma associated with mental health started to dissolve, so it’s only natural that both individuals and organisations tend to be apprehensive when it comes to tackling the subject matter. Yes, as a society we still have a long way to go, however I believe we are making progress; as slow as it might be, it is something.

If you’ve been following this page for a while, you may know that last year I opened up about receiving treatment (CBT) for my social anxiety and depression. I first deemed CBT to be ineffective and was so reluctant to attend the sessions. However, in hindsight there were some aspects/teachings that actually proved to be pretty helpful when it came to managing my moods. Since it was of help to me, I thought it be best to share, just in case it can potentially help someone else 🙂

1.Keep a ‘positive data log’

The main aim of a positive data log is to challenge negative thoughts by focusing instead on the positive. Similar to gratitude journaling, the positive data log requires you to create a daily list of at least 3 positive encounters, thoughts or feelings. By creating this list and reviewing at either the end of the day or week, we get to appreciate or at least acknowledge some of the positives which we had otherwise forgotten about if not written down.

2.Drop the comparisons

In CBT, negative comparisons are referred to as ‘compare and despair’. As this thinking pattern would have been developed over time, it is something that will take a while to eradicate. The act of comparing ourselves to others is beyond detrimental to our mental health & overall wellbeing, so it’s important that we make a conscious effort to drop the comparisons.

3.Voice how you feel

Bottling up is unhealthy. It is important that you have someone to communicate with throughout your journey. At times you may feel like a burden to others when trying to voice how you feel (this is one of the many reasons I didn’t open up to anyone); In this case seeing a therapist once a week or every other week works great.

4.Make a list of things you enjoy and try to incorporate something into your day

The gratification we gain from of doing things we enjoy, more often than not gives us a sense of achievement and purpose that can (in some cases) turn our mood around. We are much more likely to attempt to get out of bed if we have something to look forward to. In my case, I enjoy yoga, reading, taking pictures and blogging. I therefore do my best to incorporate these activities in my weekly routine, giving me something to look forward to at the end of a rubbish day.

Hopefully this list has been useful for someone out there. If you are considering seeing a therapist, I would definitely recommend that you do your research to find out what type of therapy is most suitable for your needs. CBT, is all about changing your behaviour and thought patterns which may be more geared towards those suffering from anxiety and/or depression.

Please drop me a message if you ever want to talk. I am in no way shape or form an expert, so please contact your doctor if you feel you need a professional’s help or opinion 🙂 Remember, only you know how you feel.

Thank you for reading 🙂

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Just a regular 23 year old trying to find my place in the word. Currently suffering from a severe case of wanderlust which my budget doesn't accommodate for.

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