So, have you heard about Cognitive behavioural therapy (CBT) before? It's a combination of talking therapy but its' a very active & proactive form of dealing with your issues & problems. It's part of all of the things that we try to do in therapy to try to help someone to feel better.
The reason that I particularly like CBT is that you don't necessarily need a therapist to do it. I do CBT and there are certain tips I would like to share with you which have been very helpful for me. But, the first thing to address is - when do you know that you need therapy?
So, for me, there are two times when I need the time out. One, when it is blatantly obvious i.e. when I feel extremely low for a long amount of time. So, when you feel like saying you're depressed which is technically a diagnosis but when you feel like saying I'm low, that's when I know that I need to intervene because things are not okay.
The second time is when I have unreasonable reactions to things that are happening in my life. If even in my internal states I feel extremely low or extremely triggered or extremely vulnerable because of something that has happened in my life which is a small action but has triggered a huge reaction by a proportion in me, I realize that I am carrying something that has not been dealt with, and I am bringing something else to the conversation.
This is when I kind of reevaluate what assumptions I carry in life because by doing that I get to deal with my issues as they are arising rather than let them accumulate.
Mental hygiene is about having a routine of cleaning your mind by making sure that you address deep-seated issues and those I tend to do with a therapist. However, I do face things daily like micro failures, micro rejections, micro anger, or micro hurts which I keep accumulating every single day. Now, these are the issues that are potentially building the narrative in my mind that can be not so good, or can be grandiose or can be like that I am an incredible person and I don't deserve the things that are happening to me.
So, the first thing that I do is to create a long list of things that are going on in my mind, which again is like a brain dump. But, I try to focus more on things that make me feel like a punch in my gut. So then I categorize these issues into themes like a person, family, belief, topic, etc. in general. So then I further break them into:
1) Theory A - Assumption that you're functioning under. It gets down to the core of what are the assumptions with which you're living.
2) Theory B - Evidence. Reasonable alternate explanation. Once you find the balance you understand why your Theory A is ridiculous and would lead to your action plan.
So at end of this exercise, I go to the positive things that happened. That's how I do CBT on myself.
Thanks a lot, readers for your continuous response. I am Arunima Jha. If you want to read my Linkedin Feed, follow me on LinkedIn
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