Just as physical therapists can provide you with exercises to improve physical functioning, cognitive-behavioral therapists provide exercises to develop more effective psychological adjustments. Cognitive-behavioral therapists frequently use a document called a thought record in order to examine just what goes on in the mind when we keep making those bad choices when we could have made better ones. Here is what one looks like, courtesy of www.getselfhelp.co.uk, and here is what it looks like all filled out. You can make copies for your own personal use without charge by using the print command on your computer. They also have a free self-help course on cognitive-behavioral therapy, and a host of other helpful materials.
Shyness is a common phenomenon which we all feel at one time or another, especially around someone whom do not know well, but are physically or emotionally attracted to. Shyness most closely fits their worksheet for social anxiety. Here is a hypothetical example of how it might be used, with the column headings in italics and one set of possible responses in standard type.
Situation and Trigger: You are eating lunch alone in the company cafeteria. An attractive co-worker from another department sits down at the table with you and begins a conversation about job-related matters.
Feelings, Emotions, and Physical Sensations: Awkwardness.
Unhelpful Thoughts or Images: "I'd like to get to know her better, but I don't know what to say."
Self-focus: Trying to hide what I am really thinking about.
Safety Behaviors: Pretending that I'm only interested in the topic of conversation.
Balanced, more rational response: I could say something like, "I'm enjoying this conversation, and I'd like to continue our talk later on. Can I call you for lunch sometime?"
Outcome: I will either be able to begin a friendship that could develop into something serious, or I will be able to stop fretting about her and focus my attention on someone else.
It sounds simple when you look at it this way. But if you do not use the CBT Thought Record to put your thinking, feeling, and behavior under a microscope, you might very well continue to fret about being shy, but never do much about it. Of course, you might want to practice using the thought record form for other hypothetical conversations, in order to be prepared for a variety of possible outcomes. Once you get the hang of it, if you continue to do these mental workouts as regularly as you would exercise physically in a gymnasium, you will eventually become able to think, feel, and act like a confident person in almost any situation.
Confucius said, "The journey of a thousand miles begins with a single step." Cognitive-behavioral psychology can be of great help in preparing you for all the important steps to your destination!
The Art of Small Talk
This Blog contains many other examples of experience as an art form, for the enhancement of human potential, the ennoblement of the human spirit, and the fulfillment of human existence.