How Can CBT Help Me Prioritize My Mental Health?
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Before COVID, it was not uncommon for a person to be told they could only take a certain number of sick days. It was a bit taboo to use those days for mental health care. Since the pandemic has exposed everyone to new viruses and stressors, it has also revealed the need to care for your mental health. Through different psychotherapies, such as cognitive-behavioral therapy (CBT), a person can learn to manage their emotions and prioritize their mental health.
How Can CBT Help?
To help alleviate thoughts and pressure from stress, CBT aims to help you:
- Become aware of automatic, inaccurate, and harmful ways of thinking
- Come to understand how your thoughts affect your emotions
- Understand that your emotions affect your behavior
- Learn to question inaccurate thoughts
- Change self-defeating patterns
Treating Mental Health Disorders With CBT
Mental health disorders such as anxiety and depression have inaccurate thinking patterns that increase the symptoms of the disorder. By engaging in CBT, a person can learn to identify and manage their thoughts.
Other mental health disorders can benefit from CBT, such as:
- Post-traumatic stress disorder (PTSD)
- Bipolar disorder
- Borderline personality disorder
- Dissociative identity disorder
Evidence has shown CBT to be effective in treating disorders that disrupt thoughts and emotions, making it a widely used therapy model. Some therapies come from the CBT model, like exposure therapy or motivational interviewing (MI). Combined together or used with other forms of therapy, a person can find help for their unique needs.
How to Know if CBT Treatment Is Right for You?
In a quality treatment program, such as Alter Behavioral Health, “Accurate diagnosis is where treatment starts.” Many people struggle with an anxiety disorder, but anxiety can also be a symptom of different disorders. PTSD can present as depression. Dissociative disorders can look like anxiety disorders. Sadly, due to human error and not using the latest discoveries in mental health science, some treatment facilities or therapists may misdiagnose you.
Starting with an accurate diagnosis, at Alter Behavioral Health, we offer you weekly meetings with your medical doctor and treatment team meetings to go over progress and needs. This is where it will be figured out if CBT is the right treatment modality for you. With the help of professionals, CBT is effective in helping to relieve anxiety.
Prioritizing Your Mental Health With Lessons Learned Through CBT
CBT teaches a person that their feelings, emotions, and behavior are all connected. Negative or inaccurate thinking like “I’m not worthy” is just that: false and negative. To help you remember that, here are five lessons you can take away from CBT.
#1. Focus On Yourself
Living your own life and finding enjoyment in it is enough work. Other people’s business, happiness, and mental health are on them to manage and take care of. You cannot always give your full energy and attention to other people. Sometimes all your energy has to be reserved for you. Especially while you are in treatment, you have to focus on yourself. Worrying about others’ thoughts, emotions, and behavior may only harm your healing.
#2. Block or Challenge Negative Thoughts
Thoughts cannot be allowed to run rampant. Negative thinking can be learned from many different areas of life, such as from abuse or bullying. Those negative thoughts are other people’s inaccurate thoughts pushed on you. By continuing to think those thoughts, you are giving those people in your past power.
Through CBT, you learn to block, challenge, or replace negative thoughts with positive or realistic thoughts. Reality-checking is a way to question yourself and ground your thoughts in what is happening. When you can see it, it is hard to argue with reality.
#3. Keep Your Body Healthy
When you go through a treatment program, you take part in more than therapy. There will also be skill-building courses or social-educational groups. One of the more important lessons may be that your brain and body are connected more than people realize.
If you are not properly fed, all of your brain’s and body’s energy goes into keeping you going. When you push your limits, your brain cannot think, focus, or make healthy decisions. All your brain power will go to keeping you alive. This is why taking care of your body’s health is just as important when prioritizing your mental health.
#4. Incorporate Healthy Life Changes
Starting with your nutrition and body health is a good place to start. However, for CBT to be effective in relieving your anxiety, you may also have to make some lifestyle changes.
Due to psychological issues developed from trauma, people sometimes maladapt to their circumstances. Examples of this include inappropriate ways of coping, like abusing substances or sacrificing health care money to go out with friends. Learning healthier lifestyle changes, like budgeting, meal planning, and caring for your home, can help improve your overall well-being.
#5. Engage in Ongoing Therapy
When you have a mental health disorder, you have to learn to live with it. If you do not, it can control your life. Another takeaway from CBT is that sometimes you need ongoing therapy. Learning this and accepting it is important if this is the case for you.
There is no shame in continuing therapy or treatment. Many people do it, which is why there are specific programs to support you after you finish treatment. Alter Behavioral Health offers the platform Mindfuli as an accessible way to continue getting mental health care and support and a place where you can be heard.
There is so much going on in the world and a lot going on in people’s individual lives. School, work, family, romantic partners, and thinking about the future all can become intolerable when you are not giving your mental health care and attention. Prioritizing your mental health can be a challenge, but with Alter Behavioral Health healing any mental health disorder becomes approachable. With compassionate staff who use evidence-based therapies, such as cognitive-behavioral therapy (CBT) and dialectical behavior therapy (DBT), Alter Behavioral Health offers some of the topmost care in Orange County. Contact us today at (866) 691-4386 to start the conversation. Your healing can start sooner than you think.