WHAT IS MINDFULNESS AND COGNITIVE-BEHAVIORAL THERAPY? (CBT) (Updated 2023)
Mindfulness and Cognitive-Behavioral Therapy (CBT) are both widely recognized approaches used in psychology and mental health treatment. Let me explain each of them:
- Mindfulness is a practice that involves intentionally paying attention to the present moment without judgment.
- It emphasizes bringing one’s awareness to the present experience, including thoughts, emotions, and sensations, with an attitude of acceptance and non-reactivity. Mindfulness techniques often involve focusing on the breath, body sensations, or engaging in activities with full awareness.
- The practice of mindfulness has roots in various contemplative traditions, such as Buddhism, but it has been secularized and integrated into Western psychological interventions.
- Mindfulness-based interventions, like Mindfulness-Based Stress Reduction (MBSR) and Mindfulness-Based Cognitive Therapy (MBCT), have been developed to apply mindfulness techniques in therapeutic settings.
- These interventions have shown effectiveness in reducing stress, improving well-being, managing chronic pain, alleviating symptoms of anxiety and depression, and enhancing overall mental health.
2. Cognitive-Behavioral Therapy (CBT):
- CBT is a goal-oriented, evidence-based psychotherapy that focuses on identifying and changing negative patterns of thinking and behavior. It is based on the premise that our thoughts, emotions, and behaviors are interconnected, and by changing our thoughts and behaviors, we can positively influence our emotions and well-being.
- CBT involves collaboration between the therapist and the client, working together to identify and challenge unhelpful thoughts and beliefs that contribute to emotional distress. The therapy aims to replace negative or distorted thinking patterns with more balanced and realistic thoughts, leading to healthier emotions and behaviors.
- CBT also includes behavioral techniques, such as exposure therapy or behavioral experiments, to help individuals confront and overcome fears or maladaptive behaviors.
- CBT has been extensively researched and has demonstrated effectiveness in treating various mental health conditions, including anxiety disorders, depression, phobias, post-traumatic stress disorder (PTSD), obsessive-compulsive disorder (OCD), eating disorders, and substance use disorders. It is often provided in individual or group therapy formats, and there are also online CBT programs available.
Both mindfulness and CBT can be used independently or in combination, depending on the individual’s needs and preferences. They offer valuable tools and strategies for enhancing self-awareness, managing distressing emotions, improving well-being, and promoting psychological resilience.
MINDFULNESS AND COGNITIVE-BEHAVIORAL THERAPY (CBT).
Meditation is not only a fantastic tool, it’s also a great way to practice being more aware of your own thoughts and feelings, such that you can then take full control of them.This brings us to the concept of CBT or cognitive behavioral therapy.
CBT is essentially a type of psychotherapeutic intervention that teaches people who struggle with anxiety or other issues, how to better control the nature of their own thoughts.
This all starts with perception, and this is where you can use mindfulness.
Remember the part of the meditation we discussed where we mentioned that you should ‘watch’ the contents of your thoughts?
Try doing this the next time you’re stressed: what are you actually thinking?
- What you’ll find is that when you’re stressed, you are imagining the worst and this is what is causing you to get worked up.
- And this is the big secret to stress: other than the physiological response that we’ve discussed, stress is really a result of your perception of what’s going on around you.
Put it this way: if you’re faced with a lion you will get a stress response as soon as you notice it.
- But if you believe the lion is your friend, then you won’t get the same stress response.
- Or if you think the lion is a hologram, you won’t get the stress response.
The reality doesn’t matter here: what matters here is what you are thinking.
- And the same is true for all those sources of chronic stress we’ve discussed so far.
- If you are struggling with debt and with work, then your perception is that there’s a great big lion ahead of you.
- But if you can convince yourself that there’s no benefit to being stressed and if you can convince yourself that it’s not worth getting worked up, then
you can overcome that stress and your response will be the same as if there was no pressure in your life.
- So how do you do this?
- The first step is to note the thoughts that are making you more worked up.
If you’re stressed about talking in public, then perhaps you are filled with thoughts like:
- What happens if I stutter?
- People are going to laugh at me
- I won’t be able to talk
- I don’t know my script
- None of this is helpful it makes that lion seem bigger!
- You want to replace these with more positive thoughts but simply telling yourself it’s all alright won’t work.
- You need to genuinely believe it.
To do this, you use cognitive restructuring.
- A big part of this is ‘thought challenging’, where you challenge your assumptions and test just how accurate they’re likely to be.
- Are you really likely to stutter?
- Do you normally stutter?
- Would people really laugh at you?
- Are the people in your audience that rude and unkind?
- And if they do laugh at you why does it matter?
- You won’t have to see them again.
- Everyone knows that people stutter from time to time.
And a little embarrassment never killed anyone: it will just make you a better public speaker next time.
- If you can do this as you go through your routine and be more aware of your state of mind, then you’ll find that you can prevent the stress response before it arises and rob your anxieties of all their power over you.
- For more serious anxieties and phobias, you can even take this one step further and try what is known as ‘hypothesis testing’.
- Here, you simply test your fears by standing up to them and letting them happen.
- For example, you would go out onto the stage and purposefully stutter.
- You’ll find that no one laughs and nothing bad comes from it!
- Hopefully, at this point, you have all the tools and knowledge you need to begin reducing and combating the stress in your own life.
- This isn’t going to be an easy ride.
Stress for many of us has become a normal part of life and habits are hard to change.
- But by using meditation, you’ll find that you can reduce your base level of stress and rebuild some of the damage to your brain caused by anxiety.
- What’s more, is that this will teach you to be more aware of your thoughts and better able to control them and thereby steer your emotions.
- It’s time to wrestle back control of your mind.
You tell your body when it needs to wake up and when it needs to focus.
- You decide what’s worth worrying about.
- And when you’re home and work is over, you use this power to allow yourself to rest, recover and forget all about the stresses of the day.
- Once you can do all this, you’ll find your mood improves, your productivity skyrockets, and your health is greatly enhanced in both the long and short term.
- Stressless, live more.
- What Is Mindfulness-Based Cognitive Therapy (MBCT)?