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
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
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