Sunday, July 25, 2010

What is Cognitive Behavior Therapy?

Let's take the phrase apart.
Cognitive means "relating to thought". Behavior means "the way in which a person responds to a specific set of conditions".
Let's put those two words together: Cognitive Behavior then is the way we think about our response to a set of conditions.

How this applies to our self-esteem is a critical piece in understanding just how to change our thoughts about our behavior so that our self-esteem stops taking such a beating.
Low self-esteem negatively impacts all areas of our lives, whether it is in our relationships, our job, or even our health.
If we can figure out a way to avoid this type of self-judgment it would be possible to elevate our self-esteem to a much more healthy level no matter how low our self-esteem is when we begin.

CBT (cognitive behavior therapy) helps us to adjust our unhealthy and judgmental thoughts and behavior patterns.

The philosophy behind CBT is that what we think about ourselves and our life determines our thoughts and feelings about ourselves.

This method works because it helps us to become aware of such negative thoughts and feelings and we can then replace them with much more positive thoughts.

Here are the 5 basic steps of CBT:
Step 1: Identify situations that bother you or you find stressful.
What deflates your self-esteem? Criticism? Do you always expect the worst? Are you usually angry? Do you feel fearful about presentation or confrontation? Do you have any perpetual bad habits? Over eating? Over spending?
Step 2: Evaluate our thoughts and beliefs about yourself when these situations occur.
Now it is time to make an honest evaluation. Notice your thoughts when the above situations occur. Do you immediately begin a conversation with yourself in your mind where you berate yourself for not being good enough, smart enough, fast enough, or rich enough? Are all your thoughts about yourself negative? Is it possible that you are misinterpreting situations and people's responses to you because of your internalized negative beliefs?
Step 3: Identify the specific negative thoughts you may have.
What you think, you become. If you think you're a stupid idiot, you're likely to reinforce that belief and eventually become inept and unable to do anything well. Be watchful for this kind of put down of yourself. We are often our own worst enemies when it comes to self-esteem issues.
Step 4: Ask yourself questions.
You won't be able to do this overnight, but by observing such negative thoughts, you can slow down and ask yourself to answer the question honestly, "Is this really true about me?" Once you begin to notice your negative thoughts, you can begin to be a little more positive. Not everything negative you say about yourself is true. Ask yourself this question, "Did I do anything well or right in this situation?"
Step 5: Change your thoughts about yourself.

This step is the hardest, but in order to change your self-esteem, you have to do it. You have to replace your negative thoughts with more positive thoughts and beliefs about yourself.

Start with just one and move on from there. It will take a little practice, but sometimes just being aware of it is the only key you need to effect a huge change in your life.

Paul Heaton has written a 20 page report on How to Overcome Your Self Esteem Problems, Quickly and Easily. To download your complimentary copy, visit
by Paul Heaton

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