For anyone that has ever sought support for any kind of anxiety disorder, you will have likely come across cognitive behavioural therapy. You might have been suggested CBT in combination with some sort of psychotherapy or counselling support. But ultimately, CBT has become the ‘go to’ method of treatment for anxiety disorders of all kinds in recent years.
So what is cognitive behavioral therapy? And how can it help you to deal with corona related situations?
Ultimately, cognitive behavioural therapy is a form of ‘re-training’ the brain so as to prevent hyperdrive reactions to triggering situations that it has automatically identified as being of some kind of risk.
Our fight or flight responses are embedded within us to keep us safe. They are there to help us run from attackers, or to give us the power to fend them off if necessary. It is primal reaction to threat, and it’s an important part of our psyches.
When we experience trauma, our brain learns the situation as something that translated to a danger of some kind. Therefore, when we experience something similar, it sets off panic. This is why this current corona related situation has caused many of us to feel panic disorders; it may have triggered buried memories of being trapped, confined or held back in some way during our past experiences.
The key to reprogramming response is to help your mind to learn not to fight against it. There are various methods you can try to help this process.
Try writing down how you are feeling when feelings of panic arise. By sitting with your feelings and not trying to squash them down, you will help your brain to realise that there is no immediate danger to you, and your mind will start to calm. Hopefully, your mind will gradually start to trigger less as it learns to accept the situations that arise from your current situation.
It may also be helpful, in line with CBT methods, to create some affirming statements that you can repeat to yourself to bring yourself back to a sense of steadiness when anxiety is triggered. For example, you could say:
“I am safe, I am at home, I am not in harm’s way”
“I am able to cope, I am worthy of calm”
By repeating these statements, you will signal to your mind that you are not in direct harm’s way. The repetitive nature of this exercise can also soothe you during times of heightened anxiety.
If you continue to feel overwhelmed, then you might want to seek the support of an e-doctor, for an online doctor’s consultation. Listen to your mind and body. Only do what’s best for you.
It’s important to remember that we are all adjusting on a daily basis right now. Give yourself permission to feel what you feel, and to not be a ‘perfect’ version of yourself right now.
Ensure you make time to rest, eat well, sleep regularly and generally take care of your wellbeing. This, above all, will be the best medicine you can self-prescribe.