How to Use Cognitive Behavioral Therapy Daily for Anxiety and Depression

Cognitive Behavioral Therapy (CBT) is an effective treatment according to research to treat anxiety, panic attacks, social anxiety, and depression. I have a preference for CBT since it easy to use on your own once you have learned and practiced it. I have a few quick techniques listed below to help you apply CBT. To use these techniques, it is essential to be aware of your thoughts when you are experiencing anxiety or depression. If you need help with that first, check out this worksheet. Before we jump into some techniques, below are a few statements that describe the essence of CBT.

  • Situations don't cause stress your thoughts do.

  • Anxiety is your thoughts overestimating "risk" and underestimating your ability to handle the situation.

  • Your thoughts may be inaccurate, test them out.

  • Avoidance makes depression and anxiety worse.

  • You don't need the motivation to accomplish things, only action.

Alright, here we are, let's jump into CBT techniques you can use daily to manage anxiety, depression, and stress. If you are up for it, write down your responses and thoughts to the techniques below.

  • Evaluate your thoughts by looking at facts that prove and disprove your thoughts. Make conclusions.

  • Look at the worst-case scenario of a situation you are confronting, the best-case scenario, and the most realistic scenario.

  • If you are worried about something, ask yourself what is the likelihood that the worst-case scenario will occur? 

  • What positive and realistic thoughts would you like to remind yourself of daily? Write them down somewhere and read every day. Use an alarm to remind yourself to read or place it on your mirror.

  • Do you fear a particular situation? Make a plan to expose yourself to this situation one tiny step at a time. You can do this by making a hierarchy of levels for exposure.

  • If you are avoiding something that makes you anxious, make two lists. On one list write the consequences of continuing to avoid what makes you anxious. On the second list write what the benefits will be if you stop avoiding it.

  • The final technique is: give yourself credit for your accomplishments throughout the week. Give yourself credit for accomplishing a task, using CBT, waking up early, exercising, etc.