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Mastering Peace of Mind: How Cognitive Behaviour Therapy (CBT) Can Pause Worrisome Thoughts

Updated: Jan 16

In the hustle and bustle of modern life, it’s easy for worries to pile up and consume our thoughts. While a certain level of concern is natural, excessive worrying can take a toll on our mental well-being. CBT is the recommended therapy for many anxiety disorders by the National institute for health and care excellence (NICE 2023). CBT offers practical techniques to calm the restless mind, helping you to manage worrisome thoughts.

woman, thought bubbles.
Woman looking up at empty thought bubbles instead of worry thoughts

Understanding worry and its impact.

Worry, though a common human experience, can become overwhelming and lead to anxiety disorders if left untreated. It is essential to recognise the patterns of negative thinking and how they affect our emotions, behaviour, and overall quality of life. Cognitive behaviour therapy, based on the model created by Beck in the 1960’s, targets these patterns to bring about lasting change and balance to your life. CBT incorporates a number of strategies developed over years of research, but the core principles of it are:

1) Identifying negative thought patterns: CBT teaches us to recognise automatic negative thoughts. These often follow specific patterns such as catastrophising, all or nothing thinking, or mind reading. By identifying these patterns, individuals can begin to challenge and reframe their thoughts.

2) Challenging and restructuring thoughts: Once identified, CBT helps individuals challenge the validity of their worry thoughts. Therapists work with patients to examine evidence for and against these thoughts, encouraging a more balanced and rational perspective (Dugas et al, 1998). This process helps in restructuring negative thoughts into more realistic and balanced ones.

3) Behavioural techniques: CBT can also address patterns of behaviour that maintain the issues. Therapists guide individuals to engage in activities and behaviours that promote balance, and a sense of achievement to their lives.

4) Mindfulness and relaxation: mindfulness techniques, often integrated into CBT, teach individuals to stay present in the moment. By practicing mindfulness, individuals can observe their thoughts without judgement, reducing the grip of worry over time (Paul Gilbert, 2013; 2009). Relaxation exercises, such as deep breathing and meditation, further promote a sense of calm and well-being.

5) Self-help strategies: while professional therapy is invaluable, there are self-help strategies rooted in CBT principles that individuals can incorporate into their daily lives. Journaling, self-reflection, and practising gratitude and compassion for yourself and others are simple yet effective techniques that can curb worrisome thoughts.

By understanding the negative patterns of thinking; challenging and restructuring thoughts; engaging in positive behaviours; and embracing mindfulness, CBT equips individuals with tools to conquer worrisome thoughts. CBT can offer a pathway to a lasting peace of mind, proving that worries, no matter how overwhelming, can be overcome with the right mindset and techniques.

If you would like to know more about CBT and how it can help you manage your worry thoughts, then please get in touch using my contact form on the home page or email

Paul Gilbert (2009) Introducing Compassion focused therapy. Advances in Psychiatric Treatment. 15: 199-208

Paul Gilbert & Choden (2013) Mindful Compassion: Using the power of Mindfulness and Compassion to transform our lives.

Dugas et al (1998) General anxiety disorder: A preliminary test of a conceptual model. Behaviour Research and Therapy, 36:215-26

Image by Gerd Altmann from Pixabay

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