In the 21st century, everyone seems to be stressed. On social media, people openly and often express their anxiety disorders and the current state of their mental health. It is now more common and more acceptable for people to have a therapist to help them work through their debilitating stressors in life: work, responsibilities, time management, social life, relationships, etc. One popular form of therapy that has become recognized as an effective way to deal with stress is cognitive-behavioral therapy.

Cognitive-behavioral therapy is a form of therapy that focuses on people learning to recognize ways in which they think and how their thinking can affect how they respond to a situation. Therapists who support this form of therapy believe that the ways we think about situations inform how we behave, and ultimately how we feel. Cognitive-behavioral therapy has become so popular not only because it is effective but because you don’t always need to see a therapist, and it is a great form of therapy for everyone, not just people struggling with their mental health.

The therapy works very simply. Usually, with the help of a therapist, you learn to identify and recognize how you think about a certain situation and how that thinking influences the way you feel. A great place to incorporate this therapy is in your workplace. For example, let’s say you have trouble getting along with a coworker. Perhaps there was a time when they couldn’t complete a job or did it wrong, and now you find yourself thinking down on them all the time. And now let’s say they are asking for your help with a job, and you can’t help but be easily bothered by them, thinking that they’re underqualified or shouldn’t be working at the same level as you. This line of thinking can undercut your entire relationship with this coworker, adding unnecessary stress to both of your lives.

Being able to recognize the way your thinking about this coworker influences your behavior towards them will then help you to change that thinking and behavior to something more positive: they’ve successfully finished other jobs since their mistake, and now they’re coming to you with questions because they don’t want to mess up again. Thinking in this new positive way can then be a better pay-off for both of you. Maybe your prejudice against their working ability kept you from seeing how skilled they really are, and now you can ask them for help on your next job.

While this is just one example, you can see how cognitive behavioral therapy can be an effective tool in the workplace. You can apply it to any stressful situation, whether it’s dealing with coworkers, your boss, specific projects, or preparing for your upcoming meeting. Simply being able to recognize when your line of thinking influences your own negative behavior and learning how to adjust for that can show an immediate positive effect in your life. It can make you a better leader, a better coworker, and all-around a better person.

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