Cognitive Techniques for Stress Management

Written by noreen wainwright
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Cognitive Techniques for Stress Management
Stress can blight the life of the sufferer. (Design Pics/Valueline/Getty Images)

Stress is a really common problem, but knowing this does not make it any easier for the sufferer to deal with. According to the United Kingdom's Centre for Cognitive-Behavioural Therapy, work-related stress is presenting many people with a problem. Statistics show that people work up to five times more than they did 30 years ago. Added to this, many people experience job insecurity and financial worries. Cognitive-behavioural therapy is an information-processing model. This means it is a way for a person to change the way she processes information. Research published in the July 2009 "Journal of Neuropsychiatric Cinical Neuroscience" showed that cognitive-behavioural therapy can change brain chemistry in cases of anxiety.

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Identify Negative Thinking Patterns

Negative thinking is related to stress. This happens when a person has thoughts such as "I never get anything right," or "nothing goes right for me," when he encounters a setback. He takes any criticism personally. He, as a person, is being attacked, as he sees it. He cannot separate the action he may have got wrong from himself as a person. This starts a negative spiral of thinking. The cognitive-behavioural therapist will encourage the person to identify times when this has happened.

Change Thoughts

The therapist will encourage the client to change these responses. He will challenge the client to look differently at a situation, and go through it without the same original thoughts and reactions. So, the client will look at a work problem, for example, and look at it in the context of other successes he has achieved. This reprogramming can work in the long term, bringing about lasting change and a reduction in stress, according to a Nov. 25, 2009, article on BBC News.

Develop Coping and Relief Techniquies

The cognitive behavioural therapist will also encourage the client to develop other coping mechanisms and stress-relieving techniques. There are several things that may help. Yoga practice can help a person to achieve balance and to slow down. Relaxation techniques can help a person switch off and cope more effectively at moments of high tension. According to The Centre for Cognitive-Behavioural Therapy more than half the population suffers from insomnia at times. Yoga and relaxation therapy can help a person achieve natural sleep.

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