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Mental Health Hygiene


Cut Your Therapy Bill In Half!

Psychotherapists can do so much to improve

mental health.  They can provide information,

teach you skills you need to learn to cope better

with stress, handle panic attacks, or fight fair

without damaging your intimate partnership.

You can work through your issues in a safe,

nurturing relationship where you are respected.

But there is a lot that you can do on your own,

outside of or before you get to the the therapy room,

to get the most out of your therapy sessions,

It might even cut your therapy bill in half!

Think Like a Dentist

If you never brushed your teeth, or did so only every

once in awhile, can you imagine what your next dental

visit might be like?  Uncomfortable?  Painful?  Maybe

you’ll have to stay longer or come back for more work.

We are all very familiar with the term “dental hygiene,”

the steps you take on a regular basis to keep your teeth

and gums in good health.

But how many of us are familiar with the term

“mental health hygiene?”

Mental Health Hygiene

Of course, there’s a big difference in dental and

mental health hygiene…almost everyone has been

taught how to brush and floss their teeth from the

time they were very young.  Not everyone has been

taught how to correctly take care of your mental and

emotional health…this is one of the areas where your

family, your community, and your society may have

let you down, and you are seeing the consequences.

It’s Never Too Late to Learn The Basics

For some of the more difficult work of therapy,

like recovering from abuse or trauma, treating

severe depression, anxiety disorders, or OCD,

definitely work with a licensed psychotherapist.

It’s like turning on a light to find your keys.

But here is what YOU can be doing on a regular

basis to improve your mental health, and what

your therapist is going to probably assign you

as homework so they become habits, anyway.

1.  Mental Health Toothbrushing

The 3 things that every person needs to figure

out in their lives is how to get adequate

nutrition, how to incorporate activity or

exercise into daily life, and how to ensure

that you are getting enough sleep.

These are truly the basics…this is the

equivalent of the toothbrush in the

mental health hygiene routine.  Skip

them or skimp on them, and you’re going

to develop symptoms or exacerbate them.

2.  Mental Health Floss

Just as toothbrushing only takes care of the

“big pieces,” and you need floss to get into the

places the toothbrush can’t reach…

you need some habits that do the same thing

for your mental and emotional health.

You mental health floss includes having

a routine that involves introspection.  That’s

the process of “going within” so you can take

a look at what you’re feeling, why you might

be feeling that, and reflecting on what to do.

You can do this by setting aside time to reflect

by journaling, sitting in meditation or getting

out into nature to be alone with your Self.

If you currently do not have a regular routine

for introspection, your therapist will probably

ask you to develop one that works for you.

3.  Mental Health Fluoride Rinse

Fluoride rinses are that extra dose of

protection for your teeth and their enamel,

strengthening and preventing decay.  It’s

like insurance for your teeth.  And the mental

health equivalent is being with other people

you like and trust, doing things you enjoy.

Developing friendships and relationships with

others so you can learn new things, enjoy doing

activities that involve others, and combat feelings

of loneliness is like your mental health insurance.

You are going to need friends to help you get through

some tough times in life, and you want that policy

already written out before you really need it!  So,

pay the premiums…make a point to spend time

with other people you like…or think you will like!

When was the last time you had fun?

If you can answer that question easily, awesome!

If you can’t remember the last time you had fun,

you’ve got some extra work to do…the fun kind!

You have to make it a habit to do something

every week that falls in the category of FUN.

That’s also like a fluoride rinse for your brain!

Do It Now, or Pay Later

Being emotionally stable and able to manage

stress well requires that you do these things…

there is no easy way out of it.  It takes time,

energy, and resources to eat healthfully,

exercise daily, get good sleep, introspect on a

regular basis, make friends, and have fun.

If you need to work with a therapist in order

to get these basics figured out in your life,

please do it!  It’ll be the best investment you

make for your mental health.  If you can do

them without that, your time in therapy will

be used more effectively…or you may be able

to avoid seeing a shrink altogether.

Which would cut your therapy bill out

completely!!!  🙂

For More information and Resources:

The Prevention of Substance Abuse and Mental Illness



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