Mental illness assumes many forms and impacts millions. Last week, two suicides of high profile public figures thrust conversations about mental illness into the spotlight and underscored the importance of breaking down the stigma. While suicide is one of the most devastating outcomes of mental illness, there are many other ways people struggle, and to varying degrees.
Commonly experienced mental health challenges are depression and anxiety, which I’ve personally experienced and learned to manage through a combination of practices, medication and therapy. This post shares accessible resources that may be useful to you or someone you love, so let’s dive in!
Mindfulness is the practice of actively and carefully observing your thoughts and feelings without judging them as good or bad. It is an effort to live in the present moment, without intense preoccupation of what’s to come or how we ought to react.
It helps you manage stress and anxiety; allows you to feel more in command with your behavior; and studies suggest it helps lower blood pressure and rewire key parts of the brain.
Mindfulness strategies to try include: Focus on one thing at a time; Active listening; Separate feelings you experience from your identity as a person; Undistracted walks and more!
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In this post we share 20 of our favorite ways to take care of yourself and improve your mood that are quick, easy and low cost or free!
some ideas include:
*Tidy your surroundings
*Do a face mask
*Dry brush or moisturize your entire body
*Take a bath
*Groove to uplifting music
*Change phone lock screen to an inspirational message or image,
*Buy yourself flowers
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Tips for Finding A Therapist
Finding a therapist who you trust and can build a meaningful connection with is an essential part of therapy being a productive endeavor. I’ve found working with a therapist to be an incredibly healing and useful support tool, here are some of the basic notes I share with friends when they express interest in finding a therapist:
- Check with your health insurance provider – Therapy may be covered under your plan, which can reduce the cost of each therapy session by as much at $175. If it is indeed covered, consult with your coverage specialist
- Identify what issue(s) you want support with – Therapists have areas of speciality that make them especially equipped to deal with unique issues like family trauma, addiction, couples counseling, severe anxiety, or eating disorders, for example. Spending a little bit of time identifying what the primary issue you want support with will make your search that much easier and more effective.
- Plan to have an honest phone chat with prospective therapists – It’s customary to have a brief phone call with prospective therapists before physically going into your first session. Trust them to keep whatever you say confidential and be honest about why you’re searching for some mental health support. The more truthful you can be, the easier it will be for you and the therapist to figure out if you’d make a good match.
- Go into session with an open mind – Try to let go of expectations and experience the meetings with your therapist as a time of the day when you can speak and ponder without fear of judgement or a compulsion to sound composed the entire time.
- Feel free to use whatever you need to make the sessions most impactful – Sometimes I bring a notebook into session and write down some of the strategies that my therapist and I discuss. Those notes become valuable references later in the week, when I need a reminder or a little boost.
- Give therapy time – People often report feeling better after therapy but the long term changes will take a while to be realized. Be patient with yourself and the process, time heals.