Aaron Beck an M.D. developed an approach to therapy called Cognitive Therapy. He took something very complicated and formalized it into A-B-C. His approach became known for its effective treatment of depression, and changing your thoughts and feelings so you can experience better outcomes in your life.
As simple as this will sound, if you truly take the time to understand it and apply it to your life, you will find changes will occur in a more powerful direction. Personally, I would like to share that it has helped me tremendously! Yesterday I had various events in which I had to think and feel. I began to think and feel anxious and fearful. Instead of stuffing it, I decided to email a strong Christian friend and share with her my fears. I began the email with “I’m afraid……” and listed some things that were going on in my life currently. It’s important to note that I trust her implicitly and knew she would not try to solve my problems, but apply God’s Word and pray for me. A good friend.
After this email, I took what I’m studying for work and school and applied the concept to my life. I would like for you to think of your life as you read this approach and see how you can apply it to your circumstances. This approach is perfect for everyday life as well.
A – B – C
A = Activating Event
B = Beliefs about the Event (rational or irrational)
Events happen all day to you. Sometimes they even happen while you are sleeping! So we have no control over most events. Some we do! We make choices and events happen through that choice. Either way, stop and think about your belief about the event. This is where you can help change perspective and quiet anxiety. From your feeling or thought a consequence happens. We all want positive consequences, or consequences we can manage better.
Ex. I see a friend walk by and she walks past without saying hello. (Event) I think to myself, “How rude! Why does she have a beef with me?” (feeling/thought) I walk away feeling angry and sad. (Consequence)
I see a friend walk by and she walks past without saying hello. (Event) I think to myself, “Wow! She is so distracted today, I wonder what’s going on and if I can help her out?” (feeling/thought) I walk away feeling concerned and will call her later to see how she is doing. ( More manageable outcome/consequence)
See the difference?
Others have added to this model through the years. I like this list! See how many you practice!
When an event takes place we possibly use these in our feelings and thoughts:
1. Black or White – either/or, no room for grey or misunderstandings
2. Making unfair comparisons (that are usually negative)
3. Filtering – honing in on the negative, and forgetting the positive things
4. Personalizing – Self blame game
5. Mind Reading – Thinking we know what others are thinking, and it’s usually negative
6. Catastrophing – Imagining the worst case scenario
7. Overgeneralizing – “I always mess up….” Key word always
8. Confusing facts with feelings – I feel this way so it must be true
9. Labelling – “I’m a loser!” vs. I made a mistake
10. “Can’t standitis” – Being unnecessarily intolerant
Where do I make changes so I can manage anxiety and struggles?
YOUR THOUGHTS AND FEELINGS!
You have to change how you are approaching events. Look at that list and really take an honest look at what thoughts and feelings are controlling your life. Write them down. It helped me tremendously to share my ridiculous fears, and some that are worthy of concern with a trusted friend. She did not laugh at me, or say “That’s ridiculous!”
How do we change our thoughts and feelings? As Christians, we apply God’s Word and speak His Word over our lives and situations. We become more self-aware and acknowledge our thoughts and feelings versus blaming others. Even if someone is to blame, it’s important to work on you. You can’t change other people. You can only change yourself and your response to others and situations.
To apply God’s Word to your life, we have to know His Word. Yesterday’s post is a reminder of the importance of daily being with Him, and pursuing Him with our heart, mind, soul…..everything! I want to share again that changing your thoughts and feelings most likely will not change the situation, but it will change YOU in response to the situation.
Yesterday someone shared a very troubling event she is experiencing in her life, that is not going away anytime soon. She will have to manage this event and events to come. But what she said to me was, “I’ve learned how to put it into God’s hands and I know He is using this for a reason.” Also, she smiled and reminded herself and me, who she was – a child of the King, and He loves us. I do believe with all my heart that sometimes we can’t read something like this and apply it ourselves without the help of a good Christian counselor. If you find that you struggle daily with overcoming anxiety and depression then call today and seek help from a counselor. You don’t have to fight this alone. And, as wonderful as my friend is, she can’t be my counselor, because she’s my friend. I need for her to be my friend. So don’t look to friends, family, and spouses to be your counselor. In fact, ethically in my profession, that is not allowed. It’s called a dual relationship.
I want to leave us with a few verses to change our thinking that folks have shared: (If you search God’s Word, you will find that God has more versus about “Fear not,Take heart, Be courageous….. He must have known we would struggle with fears.) What’s your favorite? Please share with us!
For you did not receive a spirit that makes you a slave again to fear, but you receive the Spirit of sonship. And by him we cry “Abba, Father.”
God has said, “Never will I leave you; never will I forsake you. So we say with confidence, “The Lord is my helper; I will not be afraid.”
“For I am the Lord, your God, who takes hold of your right hand and says to you, Do not fear; I will help you.”
“Yes, you have been with me from birth and have helped me constantly – no wonder I am always praising you! My success – at which so many stand amazed – is because you are my mighty protector. All day I’ll praise and honor you, O God, for all that you have done for me.” (Proverbs 71:6-8)