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

Couples Series: How to Prepare for Couples Therapy

Couples Series: How to Prepare for Couples Therapy

You’ve taken the big step of contacting a counsellor or agreeing to join your partner who did the legwork. The day is fast approaching, and the big question is, how to prepare for couples therapy? Fortunately, the lion’s share of the guidance will come from your...

Couples Series: Does Couples Therapy Work?

Couples Series: Does Couples Therapy Work?

When you’re stuck in what feels like unresolvable arguments, it’s only natural to seek a solution. Since you’ve tried everything else, perhaps you’re now turning to professional help. What else do you do when the person you love most is also one of your biggest...

Couples Series: Does Marriage Counselling Work?

Couples Series: Does Marriage Counselling Work?

You’re feeling stuck. How could we possibly be having the same fight again? Taking deep breaths and timeouts isn’t helping. The frustration and resentment of being misunderstood are getting to the point that you’re wondering if things can even be fixed. Life is busy,...

Coping With Trauma During Anniversaries

For the older generation of Americans it was the day JFK was assassinated. For the younger generations it was 9/11. Many people remember where they were, what they were doing and the absolute shock and trauma they experienced as these events unfolded. For many people...

Giving Up The Fight And Finding Freedom

Giving Up The Fight And Finding Freedom

I have lived in fear for many years not realizing that the endless thoughts and critical self talk was all an ill attempt to avoid feeling my feels. It was when I came to understand that my struggles didn’t need to be constantly scrutinized by recounting the past and...

The Truth Behind Getting Our Needs Met

The Truth Behind Getting Our Needs Met

Many people struggle with communicating their needs in relationships. Whether it be with their partner, workplace, or family members. Somewhere in our past we commonly learn that it is not okay to express our emotions and or tell others what we need to feel safe. Boys...

How Humans Learn

How Humans Learn

Driving a vehicle, throwing a football, baking Bananarama Chocolate Chip Muffins. . . nobody was born knowing how to do any of these things. It would be absurd and unfair to expect somebody who hasn’t gone through the process of learning each of these activities to be...

The Non-Monogamous Checklist

The Non-Monogamous Checklist

Society modeled to me throughout my life, and still to this day, that a relationship with a significant other looks a certain way. I was taught that there are milestones to be reached in a relationship: Things like holding hands, the first kiss, sex, moving in with...

Marsh Cooper — Low Cost Counselling

Marsh Cooper — Low Cost Counselling

A crucial part of Thrive Downtown Counselling Centre is its low-cost counselling option. Currently, I am one of four counsellors doing their university-supported internship through Thrive. Below you will find a short video of myself, speaking with the experience of...

Your 5th Vital Sign – Are You Listening?

Your 5th Vital Sign – Are You Listening?

One of the areas I find I do the most coaching and education around is hormone health, particularly the menstrual cycle. Many women and people who menstruate arrive in my clinic room with nary a clue as to which hormones are playing a role in their brutal PMS or...