Behavioral therapy is a type of psychotherapy that aims to help you identify and change negative thinking and behaviors. One of the main goals of behavioral therapy is to teach you new, healthier ways to manage stress.
The ultimate goal of behavioral therapy is to help you understand how your thoughts and behaviors are connected, so that you can proactively work through your worries and fears. Here are some common exercises used in cognitive behavioral therapy (CBT) that you can practice on your own:
- Challenge Your Negative Thoughts
When you’re experiencing negative feelings, record them and try to find the root of the problem. Then challenge those thoughts with more realistic alternatives. For example, let’s say you feel anxious every time you have a meeting at work. You may be thinking, “I can’t do this,” but really, it’s just that you’re nervous because you’ve never led one before. Once you’ve challenged your negative thoughts, see if they lose their effect.
- Work on Changing These Behaviors
CBT often focuses on behaviors like avoidance and safety behaviors (like always bringing a map with you when you drive). Try to change these behaviors by taking small steps outside your comfort zone—maybe next time, just bring your phone instead of a map! Then add more steps as it starts to feel easier.
The first step is to identify the irrational thoughts that are leading to the negative feeling. The easiest way to do this is to simply ask yourself, “What am I thinking right now?” You may find that it’s hard at first, but keep trying, and in time, you will be able to identify your negative thoughts.
Once you’re doing that well, try challenging your thoughts by asking yourself some questions. For example: Is there any evidence that proves this thought? Could another person see this situation differently? If so, how might they feel?
Finally, once you are able to challenge your thoughts and see things from a more positive perspective, try replacing the negative thought with a positive one. Consider how someone else might think about it, or even how you might think about it if you were having a good day.
These exercises are designed to help you become more aware of how your thoughts affect your feelings and behavior. They will also help you learn how to change your thoughts so that they better match the reality of a situation.
Behavioral therapy exercises are designed to help you improve your ability to manage your own behavior. Behavioral therapy is a type of psychotherapy that encourages you to use particular behaviors and thoughts in order to overcome negative feelings or emotions.
This worksheet is designed to help you design your own behavioral therapy exercises. Before you begin, it may be helpful to read this page on behavioral therapy.
Your first step is to identify the goal of your exercise. If you have more than one goal, feel free to make copies of this sheet and write out different exercises for each goal.
Next, write down the specific behavior or thought you want to encourage yourself toward. This could be something like walking around the block before dinner or writing down three things you’re grateful for each day when you wake up in the morning. Once you’ve written out this information, use it as a guide to create your own behavioral therapy exercise that will help you reach your goals.