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How to Use Cognitive Restructuring Techniques for Stress Management

How to Use Cognitive Restructuring Techniques for Stress Management

Cognitive restructuring technique is one of the therapeutic approaches to deal with emotions such as stress, depression, anger, anxiety, etc. In this article, we will know how these techniques can help you deal with stress.
PsycholoGenie Staff
Cognitive restructuring is a therapy that helps people to cope up with stressful events and precarious situations. It helps people to have control over their emotions and teaches how to manage different situations without stress. Stress management is the important concept of this technique.

Cognitive Restructuring Therapy

It is a tool that helps us to get rid of negative thoughts and gives us a positive frame of mind. The goal of this technique is to replace one's irrational and counterfactual beliefs, with rational and beneficial ones. According to it, stress can be a direct consequence of a person's thoughts and the kind of approach he/she takes to deal with stressful situations. People succumb to stress and depression, if the things, what they assumed or perceived, do not happen.

It was first developed by Aaron. T. Beck and Albert Ellis. Cognitive behavioral therapy (CBT) for depression was formulated by Aaron. T. Beck. According to his theory, solution to problems concerning dysfunctional emotions, cognition and behavior can be obtained through a goal-oriented and systematic procedure. Rational Emotive Behavioral therapy was developed by Dr. Albert Ellis. It is a psychological treatment, which not only deals with emotional and behavioral aspects of humans, but also stress management.

ABC Model of Albert Ellis

Albert Ellis, one of the founders of cognitive therapy, explains cognitive restructuring in a simple way using ABC model. His ABC model is explained below:

A= Activating Event
B= Belief
C= Consequence of A and B

Example:

A= You work day and night at office, but your boss does not recognize your inputs for the company but instead he increases your workload.
B= I did my best but I am not recognized for my hard work and I can't manage such a big workload.
C= Stress

According to Dr. Albert Ellis, the reason for C, cannot be A but B, because, rationally we cannot alter the situation that comes up in our life or shape the minds of others. So, the consequence that results, depends upon our beliefs.

Ways to Employ Cognitive Restructuring to Reduce Stress

Be Rational
Wrong and irrational perceptions cause distorted approaches and reasoning. Many of us are self-obsessed and always crave for appreciation and recognition. This is an irrational attitude, because we do not get appreciated for everything and other people show different kinds of attitudes towards us. Some are amicable and few are not. If we understand this, and think rationally, then we can avoid unnecessary stress and depression. It is a natural human tendency to expect approvals and affection from those whom we consider significant in our lives, but it is a rational thought to understand that such expectations cannot be met every time. It is also irrational to think that one should be competent at everything. Rational Emotive Behavioral therapy, helps us to reshape our thoughts and make them into rational ones.

Discover Your True Potential
When you see yourself as inadequate or incapable of achieving success, you will always be a victim of circumstances. Instead, when you learn to recognize your true potential and work on it, you can find the way to success. This kind of situation mostly happens with students. They set unachievable goals like, completing the syllabus on a single day before their exam. When they see their friends running ahead of them in finishing the syllabus, they feel pressurized and when they fail, consequently they fall into depression and stress. To avoid such a situation, this therapy helps us to analyze our strengths and weaknesses to deal with the situations accordingly. Goal-oriented and systematic procedure formula, which was developed by Aaron. T. Beck, in his CBT can help us to cope up with situations like the above one.

Avoid Negative Self Talk
When you come across a precarious situation in your life, try to find ways to tackle it with a positive approach. Do not allow negative thoughts to creep into your mind, because, negative self talk has a great influence on your performance. Self defeating thoughts and negative self statements can hinder your growth and portray you as a loser before others. When you speak out negative things like 'I am useless', 'I am going to fail in this exam', 'I have no way out', 'My life sucks', etc., you deny yourself and lose self-confidence, without which you cannot move forward in your life. When you speak positive things, your spirit will rise and you can deal with the situation easily. Some spiritual scholars believe that, words that come out of our mouth have the power to shape our life.

Visualize Your Goal
Visualizing yourself achieving the goal, plays an important part of building self-confidence, which you will need to reach the target. Visualization can be done just by closing your eyes and picturing each step, that will lead you to your goal or target. It can keep your mind stabilized and more target-oriented without any stress. When you relax and visualize positive thoughts, your mind becomes calm and pleasant. When your mind is relaxed and works positively, the stress element is relieved and the goal can be easily achieved.

Be Satisfied
When you complete your task, be satisfied and appreciate yourself, even if you feel that you could have done it better. Do not lose your spirit and get carried away by hopelessness, instead, execute it in a constructive way when you get your next chance and prove yourself. When you are not satisfied with what you have, it's like filling a bottomless jar and you can never be happy in life. This is the fundamental idea of this concept.

Thus, follow the cognitive restructuring therapy and learn to manage your stress, anxiety and depression, for a better future. If you feel helpless about some situation in your life, better consult cognitive therapists and get their advice. Take care!