So for the first time since I started I finally liked a CBT session! This week we focused on what to do with worries once first have them. Worries generally arise out of a current situation, and then begin to escalate when we begin to imagine the extreme consequences of our current worries.
For example, yesterday I lost my worry diary that I had to take to our session. I began by worrying about where it could be, but then I began to worry about what would happen if I couldn't find it, I worried that I would be late if I couldn't find it in time, that I'd be told off if I didn't have it etc. The first worry; worrying about where my diary could be, is a current worry. The rest are hypothetical; worries that I am inventing.
The best way to deal with a worries are first to divide them into whether you can do something about them. Generally, you can do something about a current worry. You can act on it, tell someone about it or schedule a time to do it. In this instance, I decided to look for my worry diary instead of worrying about where it could be.
Once you have acted upon your worry, it is off your agenda, so there's nothing more to worry about. In the case of the missing worry diary, I couldn't find it, despite looking everywhere I could think of. Therefore, I had to put the worry to one side. This was hard at first because I was worried about it being seen by someone, or what the consequences would be when I turned up to the CBT session without it. However, I couldn't do anything more about it. Whatever will be will be...
Stage 3 is to distract yourself. In this instance, distracting myself was easy, I left the house and went to therapy. I read a book on the way there so I didn't think about the missing worry diary. In the end, we didn't even need the worry diary to hand, as long as we could remember how it went.
If you can't act on a worry, then put the feeling to one side and distract yourself from it, as described above. Obviously this is easier said then done, but the key is to keep practising. If you have distracted yourself by reading a book, and now you have finished reading the worry has come back, do something else. Maybe do the muscle relaxation or deep breathing (as described in this post) or some other hobby; gardening, baking, or even chatting to a friend on the phone.
At last, this week's CBT session seemed quite useful, as opposed to dwelling on our current feelings. There is no CBT for the next 2 weeks so don't expect any more useful tips for a while (haha)!