CBT aims to break this cycle at the thought and the behaviour level.
It teaches us to validate and challenge our negative thought patterns into a more helpful and realistic one.
It encourages us to change our behaviour in order to promote a more positive emotion. To better understand the behavioural approach, try this simple exercise. Look up, and while looking upwards, try to be sad. Now look down and try to be sad. If you did this exercise correctly, you would have found that it was very difficult to be sad while looking upwards and much more easier to be sad while you were looking downwards. Why????
This is because, when we look upwards, we are "telling our subconscious" that we are hopeful, that we are inspired and NOT sad. Obviously, the opposite is true for looking downwards.
So, in summary, if we can change our negative thought patterns and reinforce this with a congruent positive behaviour, then we can increase our chances of breaking the cycle of depression and anxiety.
We will explore various CBT strategies and concepts in future posts.