Disproving or countering negative thoughts and emotions is a process known as Cognitive Restructuring. Here, a person with anxiety disorder is helped by refuting pessimistic beliefs and feelings that can potentially lead him or her to a panic attack. With a therapist’s assistance, negative premises are replaced with more positive and realistic principles to help the person overcome anxiety disorder. This entails three stages:
The first stage involves identifying negative thoughts. Anxiety disorder leads people to exaggerate that their circumstances are hopeless, but in reality they’re not as bad as they seem. Most people, even the victim of an anxiety disorder himself, can see that his fears are irrational. However, they are crippled by such a fear so much that they can’t do anything about it. This makes the process identifying negative thoughts difficult, but one tactic to approach this is to ask yourself what you think whenever you feel anxious. This is also a tactic commonly used by therapists.
The second stage entails challenging negative thoughts. This is where a therapist will help you to assess the validity and reason behind negative thoughts. This involves verifying evidence, investigating misconceptions, and examining whether or not negative predictions are applicable to reality. Strategies to accomplish this involve experimentation, weighing pros and cons, and dealing with probabilities of what is actually bound to happen, not what you alone think will happen.
The third and final stage is all about replacing negative thoughts with positive and realistic views. Here, once the misrepresentations are identified and disproved, they can be replaced with more precise and optimistic reasoning. A therapist can assist you in coming up with encouraging statements that you can be said to oneself whenever a person encounters stressful circumstances.
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