Real Therapy Tactics to Calm Your
Anxiety and Depression
In 2020 we are experiencing a significantly difficult time which is impacting most people negatively. We are in a mode of crisis on a global level. We were fortunate enough to interview a number of professional counselors and therapists who gave some basic tactics to be able to best cope with negative feelings and habits in this difficult time.
There is a tactic that you can employ to change your mindset and prevent going down a rabbit hole of negative feelings. This is the ABC method...
- Activation Event
There is usually an activation event, something that happens to you that causes you to feel bad or down or anxious. Whether you don’t like how you look in the mirror or you get a cold or whatever it may be. This activation even usually triggers pre-existing beliefs and thoughts about yourself which yield consequences both emotional and behavioral. For example, you look at yourself in the mirror, think you look ugly or frumpy and this brings up your existing feelings of inadequacy, self-loathing or past experiences that inform your feelings. This usually causes you to feel worse and spiral downwards, and this makes you behave in certain ways that further this process. Maybe you cope by eating unhealthy foods or sleeping too much, which can make it worse. We usually don’t know how to cope naturally and healthily.
Beliefs and Thoughts
Professional therapist Tiffany Roe has a phrase she uses with her clients which goes “Feel, Deal, Heal”. This entails that when you feel a negative emotion, don’t push it down and away like most people normally do, instead give it space to be experienced. Pushing away negative feelings makes them come back. Give your unpleasant feelings space to be felt and feel them through. Deal with these feelings and learn to write down and identify the distorted and untrue beliefs and thoughts that come from the activation event. Even if you need to write down the exact beliefs and thoughts you are having and then identify how and why they are irrational and untrue.
The most common triggers that are setting people off in this difficult time obviously include health issues with getting sick. Nearly as often as that stressor though is the fear surrounding the economic recession. There are many people who have lost their jobs and many companies are not hiring right now because of COVID19. The issue is that many people who are largely impacted by the economic are the younger working class while the virus is mostly harming the older generation. Most people are in a difficult circumstance and this is causing a lot of these activation events. The consequences that come from your beliefs and thoughts can make a big difference
Once you have corrected those beliefs, the actions you take will either solidify that healthy behavior or worsen the unhealthy behavior. For example, instead of feeling defeated about financial challenges you can go get a small personal loan or start freelancing. Once you have identified your distorted beliefs you actively replace those thoughts with more honest genuine beliefs that are based in truth. It is a process where you face your feelings for what they really are and where they come from and replace them with a better thought process that you want. This way you can decide how you want to think.