Cognitive behavioural therapy (CBT) is a talking therapy that can help you manage your problems by changing the way you think and behave. It’s most commonly used to treat anxiety and depression, but can be useful for other mental and physical health problems.
CBT is based on the idea that our thoughts, feelings, physical sensations and actions are all interconnected, and that negative thoughts and feelings can trap us in a vicious cycle.
CBT can help us to break out of this cycle by identifying and challenging negative thoughts, and learning to react to situations in a more positive way. Here are five CBT techniques that can help you to boost your confidence and self-esteem, and approach challenges and decisions in a more positive way:
1. Identify your negative thoughts
The first step is to become aware of the negative thoughts that are holding you back. These might be thoughts such as “I’m not good enough”, “I’ll never be able to do this” or “I always make the wrong decisions”.
2. Challenge your negative thoughts
Once you’ve identified your negative thoughts, it’s time to start challenging them. Ask yourself whether your thoughts are really true, or whether there is another way of looking at the situation. For example, if you’re thinking “I’ll never be able to do this”, ask yourself “What evidence do I have for this?” or “What if I give it a try and it turns out better than I expect?”.
3. Practice positive self-talk
Start to counter your negative thoughts with positive self-talk. This might be something as simple as telling yourself “I can do this” or “I am good enough”. When you catch yourself thinking negative thoughts, take a step back and reframe your thoughts in a more positive light.
4. Set yourself realistic goals
Setting yourself small, achievable goals can help you to start feeling more confident. When you achieve a goal, it will help to reinforce the positive message that you can do things and that you are capable. Start with something small, such as taking a different route to work, and then build up to bigger goals.
5. Take action
The final step is to take action and put your new-found confidence into practice. This might mean saying “no” to something you don’t want to do, or speaking up in a meeting. It’s important to remember that you might not get it right every time, but that’s OK – the important thing is that you’re taking action and making progress.