Even if you or a loved one isn’t struggling with addiction, you may have heard about cognitive-behavioral therapy (CBT). This is a form of therapeutic care that’s used in the treatment of many mental health issues. Truthfully, many professionals include teaching CBT coping strategies to their patients because CBT is traditional, evidence-based, and usually helpful.
Cognitive-behavioral techniques for stress, in particular, are popular. CBT has also been found effective for managing the symptoms of anxiety, depression, and post-traumatic stress disorder (PTSD). It’s also ideal for dealing with uncomfortable emotions, such as anger or sadness. If you’re looking for cognitive-behavioral therapy options in Pennsylvania, contact Pennsylvania Adult and Teen Challenge today. Call 844.442.8673 or reach out to our team online.
What Is Cognitive-Behavioral Therapy?
CBT is a type of therapeutic care typically used to treat anxiety disorders, depressive disorders, eating disorders, substance use disorders, and other severe mental illnesses. CBT techniques for stress management may also help in dealing with marital problems. Cognitive-behavioral techniques for stress management can be applied in real life and not just in therapy sessions. Therefore, even a short CBT program can benefit a patient for years or even until the end of their lifespan.
Studies show that CBT is as effective as or more effective than other types of therapeutic care or even psychiatric medications. Studies also show that CBT leads to significant improvement in quality of life and supports normal functioning in life.
In general, CBT, including CBT for stress management, is based on several core principles:
- Mental health issues are based, in part, on incorrect or unhelpful ways of thinking.
- Mental health issues are based, in part, on learned patterns of unhelpful behavior.
- People suffering from mental health issues can learn better coping methods, thereby becoming more effective in their lives.
What Are Some Helpful CBT Techniques for Stress Management?
Behavioral activation is one of the simplest CBT coping strategies a patient can apply to their life. When they feel anxious, depressed, or stressed, they may be less likely to do the things they enjoy. Therefore, it’s essential to learn how to be more active. Behavioral activation is a CBT technique that helps them do this.
The goal of behavioral activation is to help a patient get more active in areas of their life that are enjoyable and pleasurable. Being more connected and involved with positive experiences can improve mood and decrease feelings of stress.
Also called breathing retraining or deep breathing, diaphragmatic breathing is one of the typical CBT techniques for stress management. However, it’s best known as a coping strategy for managing anxiety.
Diaphragmatic breathing teaches patients to breathe properly. Did you know that many people actually don’t breathe properly? Natural breathing involves the diaphragm, a large muscle in the abdomen. Over time, people forget how to breathe with the diaphragm. Instead, they use their chest and shoulders and take short and shallow breaths, increasing feelings of anxiety and stress. When breathing in, a patient’s belly should expand. When a patient breathes out, their belly should fall. This is known as diaphragmatic breathing.
Progressive Muscle Relaxation
Using cognitive-behavioral relaxation exercises can also be an effective way to reduce feelings of anxiety and stress. An exercise called progressive muscle relaxation focuses on a patient alternating between tensing and relaxing different muscle groups throughout the body. Relaxation, in this exercise, is viewed as a pendulum.
Complete relaxation of a patient’s muscles can be obtained by first going to the other extreme, meaning complete tension of muscles. By tensing your muscles, a common physical symptom of anxiety, and immediately relaxing them, the symptom of muscle tension may eventually become a signal for a patient’s body to relax.
One of the most basic CBT coping strategies is self-monitoring. It’s actually at the core of all CBT techniques. In order to address a symptom of a mental health issue, a patient needs first to become aware of it and how it affects their body and mind. Self-monitoring can help with the latter.
Setting and Managing Goals
Thinking about goals can be stressful, so why is setting and managing them part of CBT for stress management? Goals are essential in living a happy and purposeful life, and they motivate people to maintain healthy behaviors. Therefore, there’s no avoiding dealing with goals.
CBT helps a patient get better at dealing with goals, so they don’t become an overwhelming source of stress. Dealing with goals should improve the mood and quality of life of a patient instead.
Learn About Pennsylvania Adult and Teen Challenge
Are you searching for cognitive-behavioral therapy options in Pennsylvania? Contact Pennsylvania Adult and Teen Challenge today by calling 844.442.8673 or reaching out to our team online.