fbpx

The fourth wave. Vaccine cards. Mask mandates. These are the headlines that have been dominating the media in British Columbia since last week. If you’re feeling anxious that’s understandable – many people are too. The good news is you can use Cognitive Behavioral Therapy (CBT) skills to help increase your awareness and reduce your anxiety.

One step in becoming more aware is understanding that there is helpful and unhelpful anxiety. Some anxiety can be helpful by motivating you to take steps that protect or prepare you. An example of helpful anxiety not related to COVID could be stress before a big exam or presentation. This could motivate you to study or rehearse. Anxiety in this case would be unhelpful if it reaches the level where you forget everything you prepared, often meaning our systems have become triggered.

Following from this, it’s important to be aware of your anxiety levels. Popularized by CBT psychologist Christine Padesky, the equation Anxiety = Danger/Resources basically says that people tend to overestimate the risks of situations they fear and underestimate their ability to cope.

Working on the top part of the equation would involve assessing whether the situation you are feeling anxious about is as risky as you imagine it to be. Questions to ask include: “how likely will it happen”? “What’s the worst that can happen”? “What’s the best that can happen” and “what will most likely happen”?

For the bottom half of the equation, you can build on your resources by using the “Swiss Cheese Model” that has been covered in the media. In this model, a single slice of Swiss cheese, which represents a single skill or tool, has some holes. However, layering multiple slices can cover many of these holes. So, returning to COVID, one slice of cheese could represent the act of physical distancing, another slice could be hand washing and another could be wearing a mask. To cover some of the holes you may think you have in dealing with anxiety, you can explore what has helped you cope in stressful situations in the past and experiment with new skills.

CBT is one of the main research-backed therapeutic approaches to working with anxiety and depression, and is focused on understanding the connections between thoughts and behaviors. To learn more about Cognitive Behavioural Therapy and see if it’s a good fit for you, you can click on this link and book a free and brief phone consultation.

 

I’m Marwan Noueihed, Thrive’s CBT and DBT specialist. To read more of my articles click here. Don’t be shy to reach out with any questions or if you’d like to have a free chat!

 

References

https://globalnews.ca/news/7393839/coronavirus-swiss-cheese-model/

https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=jw0ivpUQ43U&t=18s

Podcasts

The New Year’s Resolution Trap

The New Year’s Resolution Trap

It's January again. Over and over, we're told this is a time of new beginnings, of endless possibilities, a time to reinvent ourselves. This time of year, it seems every conversation revolves around everyone's new goals, plans and the dreaded New Year's Resolutions. ...

The Curious Cure

The Curious Cure

Much of my early life involved adjusting to the chaos of angry and hurt divorcing parents. Somewhere in the shuffle, I felt forgotten and burdensome, yet at the same time expected to act in ways that regulated and calmed the adult’s emotions. The side effect of...

Why Try Intuitive Healing?

Why Try Intuitive Healing?

With all the different modalities that have been available through traditional therapy, it seems we as a collective conscious have reached a plateau. What happens if after counselling, couples therapy and career counselling parts of us still seem lost? Symptoms of...

The Only Question to Ask in Career Exploration

The Only Question to Ask in Career Exploration

You may be going through a career transition: Post education, loss or change in your job, or taking action because longterm burnout in your current role is no longer maintainable. Perhaps you are also weighing out the age old dilemma between seeking fun and meaningful...

6 Reasons to Try Low Cost Counselling

6 Reasons to Try Low Cost Counselling

I still remember grad school well. It was my peak of excitement in clinical training heading out to Family Services of Greater Vancouver where I would provide low cost counselling for 10 clients a week as part of my internship to complete my master's degree. It was...

Autumn Beauty, Falling Leaves and… Seasonal Depression?!

Autumn Beauty, Falling Leaves and… Seasonal Depression?!

As soon as the leaves start changing colours, we find ourselves taking pictures of the orange trees, drinking pumpkin spice latte (even if we actually like it or not), and of course, toque season is back! But, you may ask, “Why am I feeling unmotivated, low on energy,...

You Are Not Supposed To Be Happy… All Of The Time

You Are Not Supposed To Be Happy… All Of The Time

Never in our history have we been bombarded with so much of other people’s happiness. We see happiness on television, through our social media, and even have people called influencers who promise they can help us to be as happy as they are. We aren’t only exposed to...

Setting Goals Might Not Be The Solution (even if they’re S.M.A.R.T)

Setting Goals Might Not Be The Solution (even if they’re S.M.A.R.T)

I’m not writing an anti-goal blog to be a heretic. It is well-established that setting goals can be an important piece of achieving any type of meaningful change. Yet, while setting goals can be an important piece, they are just one piece. They might even be the least...

Rescuing Your Inner Child From Attachment Trauma

Rescuing Your Inner Child From Attachment Trauma

“Most people are only as needy as their unmet needs.” — Amir Levine What is Early Attachment Trauma? Early attachment trauma is when a child suffers one or multiple harmful experiences that affect trust and connection with others such as abuse, abandonment, and...

Three Reasons Couples Counselling Isn’t Working

Three Reasons Couples Counselling Isn’t Working

Three Reasons Couples Counselling Isn’t Working You finally did it. You both got on the same page, filled out the contact form, chatted with a counsellor and met up for for a first relationship therapy session. No, not just one. Three sessions.  Strangely however, you...