DISCOVER YOUR ZEN
Cognitive Behavioral Therapy – CBT Techniques Explained
Generally, there are several steps and several different techniques that, when combined, allow you to control the way you think and feel. The starting point is to identify the way you feel and what you’re thinking when you’re doing something…
And guess what… this is where mindfulness comes back in!
Say you’re afraid of public speaking and you want to try and get rid of that phobia forever. The first thing you would do is to be more mindful and to listen to your own thoughts and reflect on them. If you’ve been practicing, this should rob them of their power as you become detached and aloof from those thoughts.
But at the same time, you’re also going to make a note of them so you can try and change them…
Another technique used for the same end is “journaling.” This involves writing down the feelings as they come to you, or writing them in a journal at the end of the day. That evening routine is coming in handy at this point! See… it all comes together…
The next steps all fall under the category of “cognitive restructuring.” You can think of this as ‘reprogramming’ yourself…
Thought challenging is simple. It means that you’re looking at those thoughts you made a note of and now you’re challenging them and testing whether or not you really think they’re true. So if you’re afraid of public speaking, it may be that you think things like, “I’m going to stutter and everyone will laugh at me!” In thought challenging, we’re going to deconstruct that belief and see if it really is likely or if it is anything to really be afraid of.
- Why would you stutter? Do you normally stutter when you talk?
- Why would people laugh at you? Are people usually that unkind?
- Would you laugh if someone had a hard time giving a speech? Or would you be more sympathetic and understanding than that
- Does it matter? You aren’t going to see these people again… why does it matter what they think of you?
Ask yourself these things and focus on the fact that the worst-case scenario really isn’t all that bad. Once you can start doing that, you’ll see that there’s nothing to be afraid of. You can even repeat a maxim to yourself as a ‘positive affirmation’:
“It really doesn’t matter what these people think of me. It really doesn’t matter what these people think of me.”
This is one of the most unpleasant and upsetting treatments that are a part of CBT, but it’s also by far one of the most immediately effective. The idea is that you’re looking at those fears you have and then you’re just going to test if they’re true. So in other words, if you’re afraid of stuttering when you do public speaking, you’re now going to go up on that stage… and you’re going to not say anything. You might purposefully stutter. You might say the most awkward thing that comes to mind. You’re testing the theory that people will laugh.
And guess what? Nine times out of ten, you’ll find that your imagination was worse than the reality. Now people will just wait politely because that’s what people do. Either that or they will laugh… but it won’t really matter.
Finally, exposure therapy is just like “re-association.” This just means you’re going to face your fear repeatedly until that gets desensitized. In the case of public speaking, this might mean that you start attending classes to become a stand-up comic. Scary? Definitely. Effective? You bet.
TODAY’S ACTION STEPS:
1) You should be exercising according to your planned routine. (You can use the workout plan I provided, if it works for you.) If you’re not ready to go FULL OUT with the workout plan yet…that’s OK. If you’ve been trying out my suggestion of creating a habit, then you may want to add on another step if you haven’t done so yet. Read through the Week 4 – Day 2 module if you’re not sure how to create this “habit chain.”
So…every time you wake up, or finish washing your dishes after dinner, or whatever that regular activity is that you choose as the one to trigger your workouts…put on your workout shoes. (That’s the first link in the chain.)
Then do the next step you’ve been practicing. If your chosen workout is taking a walk after dinner each night, maybe you are heading to the front door and grabbing a jacket. If you want to do a home workout from the exercise plan I’m giving you, then maybe you’re putting on some workout clothes – a top and a bottom. (That’s the second link in the chain.)
NOW, do the next step. (That’s the third link in the chain.) If you plan to go for a walk, just step outside your front door and stand on your porch…and celebrate! If you’ll be doing a home workout, then grab your mobile phone (to access the Fitness App) and stand in your home exercise area…then celebrate! Whatever that next step is just do that. Every day. Every time you put on your workout shoes…AFTER every time you do that trigger activity (washing dishes, waking up in the morning, etc). Remember to celebrate every time you get to the end of this “habit chain.”
If you need a little more time to reinforce those first 2 links in the “habit chain” (e.g. putting on your workout shoes, then putting on some workout clothes), that’s fine. Just keep doing that and don’t worry about adding on right now.
2) If you already completed the Week 2 Workout Plan, then you are doing the Week 3 plan this week. Log in to the Fitness App on your COMPUTER – https://doctorvenus.com/app-login/ – to access the Week 3 Workout Plan.
3) If you already received the Week 1 (and 2) meal plan, then the Week 3 (and 4) meal plan has been uploaded to your Fitness App. You should be going through the Week 4 Meal Plan (which is the same as Week 3) now. Log in to the Fitness App so you can review the Week 5 Meal Plan; begin planning, shopping, and preparing for it because it will start on Monday.
4) Do a sitting meditation for 5 minutes. Spend the 5 minutes sitting in a quiet space. Just relax with your eyes closed. No goal. No stress. The plan is to do this every day.
5) Mark your calendar for our next coaching call on Thursday, December 7, at 8:15pm ET (5:15pm PT). The call-in number and Zoom link will be posted on our Home Page and in your daily email the day before the call. A replay will be made available for those who can’t make the call.
6) If you have any questions about anything…let me know in the Facebook group – https://www.facebook.com/groups/discoveryourzen/
Previous ACTION STEPS:
(Not a complete list, but some important highlights.)
1) Log in to the Fitness App on your COMPUTER – https://doctorvenus.com/app-login/ – and go to the FORMS tab. If you haven’t completed the Client Agreement form and the PAR-Q form from Day 1’s ACTION STEPS, do that today and sign them. Be sure to click SAVE when you’re done. (You can not receive the meal plan and workout plan when they are released until we have those completed forms on file.)
2) If you haven’t done so yet, send an email to team@DoctorVenus.com and state whether you want a vegetarian or non-vegetarian meal plan. It will be sent to your Fitness App by the next day.
3) If you haven’t done so yet, send an email to team@DoctorVenus.com and let me know whether you want an exercise plan for weight loss (focused on burning calories) or for building/maintaining your mass. So you just need to indicate whether you want a BURN or BUILD program. It will be sent to your Fitness App by the next day.
4) Download the Set Your Goals Checklist and complete it. CLICK HERE to download.
5) Download the Program Planner that you can start using, if you wish. CLICK HERE to download.
6) Download the Kitchen Clean Out handout and use it to guide the clean out of your kitchen BEFORE you start your meal plan. CLICK HERE to download.