CBT Exercises - Social Anxiety Forum
 
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post #1 of 4 (permalink) Old 04-19-2007, 02:38 PM Thread Starter
 
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CBT Exercises


A part of CBT therapy is to write down your automatic thoughts and then write a more realistic alternative that will hopefully become second nature.

A thought that I often have that I cant seem to change is this:

"I am like the only one who has this type of anxiety and all other people choose freely how they live their lives, based on how they want to live it, not based on anxiety"

Situation where this thought pops up is when my collegues at work are gathering to go out to party and I can not come along due to my anxiety. There are always 2-3 other people that dont go along, and when I hear about this im happy for a second, because I have a thought that says "Im not the only one that doesnt tag along", but then I realize that the other people dont come along because of "real" reasons, like they dont have any money or they have prior engagements, and this is where the thought pops up with a great feeling of anxiety and jealousy (i think), maybe its a feeling of inferiority.

How should I try to alter this thought? Any ideas?
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post #2 of 4 (permalink) Old 04-19-2007, 03:01 PM
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re: CBT Exercises


If you're doing CBT, then you will know that you are committing a whole raft of thinking errors:

Quote:
"I am like the only one who has this type of anxiety and all other people choose freely how they live their lives, based on how they want to live it, not based on anxiety"
All or nothing thinking; Mind reading; Overgeneralisation; Hidden error: SHOULD STATEMENT - "I should not suffer anxiety". You should, because you do.

Quote:
but then I realize that the other people dont come along because of "real" reasons, like they dont have any money or they have prior engagements,
labelling; magnification of others qualities; mimisation of yours; They may also be accomplished fibbers ... You are also disqualifying the positive - that your friends DO want to see you.

Quote:
and this is where the thought pops up with a great feeling of anxiety and jealousy (i think), maybe its a feeling of inferiority.
Labelling

You have anxiety. This much is a fact. You should be anxious, because you are anxious. Some people have anxiety (like all the people on this board) and some people don't. You do, but you are making progress and growing stronger.

If we take your belief up there a little further, it becomes:

"I should not feel anxious. Other people do not feel anxious and this makes me inferior. I should be sparkling and glittering. If I am inferior I can not be worthwhile or loveable. If I am unloveable I will be alone and I will suffer pain. If I live my life according to anxiety then it is not my life. I have no control and things will happen that are bad."

Work on that one with the thinking errors. Use the 3 column technique to try to come up with rational alternatives, challenging the statements. rememebr - you're a detective - see how much cr*p you can detect in those negative thoughts ...

Remember - the aim is to turn a demand into a rational preference.

Ross

On to concentrate on bright things Stuck around in hopes to help, didnt seem like there was much left I could do anymore ... good luck and comfort to those who are on their own path and hope for those yet to take their first step! Much Love
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post #3 of 4 (permalink) Old 04-20-2007, 04:54 PM Thread Starter
 
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Hi Ross

Thank you for your reply.

Can you elaborate on this "the aim is to turn a demand into a rational preference."
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post #4 of 4 (permalink) Old 04-21-2007, 02:17 AM
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re: CBT Exercises


"Everyone must like me" is a demand.

"It would be nice for everyone to like me, but I understand that some people will be hostile, some positive and some neutral, so I can concentrate my energy on those I have more connection with" is a rational preference.

These are examples - the wording will be important as its personal to you. Dsicuss with your therapist if you have one. If you don't have a therapist and are winging it from the internet, I suggest you buy yourself a copy of "Feeling Good - the New Mood Therapy" by David Burns or "Mind Over Mood" by Greenberger and Padesksy.

Ross

On to concentrate on bright things Stuck around in hopes to help, didnt seem like there was much left I could do anymore ... good luck and comfort to those who are on their own path and hope for those yet to take their first step! Much Love
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