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Cognitive Behavior Therapy

Cognitive behavior therapy (CBT) is based on the idea that your thoughts and attitudes, and not external events, create your moods

When you are feeling down you think about yourself and everything else in a more pessimistic or negative way. CBT can help you break out of negative thought patterns. CBT works by helping you recognize common downbeat thoughts and replace them with new ideas. In some cases, CBT can work as quickly and be as effective as antidepressant medication. Medication can be enormously helpful, especially in the short-term, but CBT may boost this effect, leading to lasting changes.

The activities outlined below are an important part of this process. Some of the activities can be time consuming, but are essential in changing your downbeat thought patterns. If you take the time to do the exercises, they can help you change the way you view and think about situations, and hence, change the way you feel. Please keep in mind that no one is happy all of the time. However, improving the way you view situations can change the way you feel a considerable amount of time.

Linking Thoughts, Feelings, and Behavior

As previously mentioned, CBT is basically the concept that your thoughts affect your feelings and your behavior. For example, perhaps you have just finished a time consuming project at work. You meet with your boss who expresses gratitude and lists off good points about your work. Then, towards the end of the meeting he says to you "This section might have been clearer. I really think you will need to re-work it". Some people might head back to their office with praise ringing in their ears taking little note of the one criticism, other than remembering to work on that section later. They go home feeling proud.

Another person might feel devastated when they hear the one negative comment from their supervisor. They do not even remember the good comments and they leave the room repeating the negative one to themselves over and over again. They feel defeated and perhaps even worry about losing their job. However, the exact same events happened to each person!

What makes the difference between these two interpretations? Why did one person leave feeling wonderful and the other awful? The difference is in their thoughts about the event that led to their feelings and behavior.

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