The Mental Health Tips Therapists Actually Give Their Patients
The Mental Health Tips Therapists Actually Give Their Patients

The Mental Health Tips Therapists Actually Give Their Patients

The aim of therapy is to give you the tools and strategies to navigate life’s ups and downs. Whether you’re struggling with anxiety or stress, have relationship issues or are managing a mental health diagnosis, experts agree even small changes can sometimes make a big difference. That’s why we went to some leading therapists to discover the practical and simple advice they give their patients…
By Tor West

Recognise What’s In Your Control

“Spending time and energy worrying about things we cannot control is exhausting, frustrating and demoralising. When we feel worried, we often want to try and fix everything at once, which creates this feeling of overwhelm. Instead, try visualising two circles – the circle of influence, and the circle of concern. Inside the first circle are the worries you can directly influence through taking action, such as a work project. Within the circle of concern are all the other things you are worried about but cannot directly influence – such as international politics. Write down all the things you are worrying about and circle the ones that you are able to control. When a worry pops up, ask yourself is this something you can control? If not, take a deep breath and let it go.” – Helen Hardware, clinical hypnotherapist

Keep Things In Perspective

“If you are feeling overwhelmed with a situation, take a step back and think about the story you are creating in your own mind. So often, we make a bunch of assumptions about ourselves and others, but we often only pay attention to our own version of the situation, which tends to be a little biased. Get into the habit of checking in regularly with yourself. Emotions provide us with valuable information about what’s going on in our heads and this gives us the opportunity to address any problems before they escalate.” – Dr Jenn Cooper, head of mindset & counselling psychologist at Real World Results

Don’t Panic

“In our modern lives, we’re slaves to the clock and the impending sense of having ‘no time’ – it causes us to panic that life is slipping away or that we’ve made choices we can’t recover from. But, when we stop and actually experience how long a minute is, many of us will be surprised by how much ‘time’ we really have. In the bigger picture, this sense of the tyranny of time constantly chasing us causes us to feel low about the state of our life, stuck in the choices we’ve made or the relationships we’re in. If we move to the belief that ‘there is always time’, we can start to feel more in control of our destiny and choices. Regardless of how bad a situation may seem, you can always do something.” – Dr Alison McClymont, psychologist 

“It’s okay not to feel okay, and TALKING ABOUT THINGS is important. Sharing the load means better mental health.”

Track Your Emotions

“Start keeping track of your mood and stress across the week, noticing the cues and triggers that make you feel better or worse. Pick up on any patterns such as time of day, people, places or work that do and don’t help your mood. Becoming aware of patterns can be a helpful first step towards taking important action. It can help to write down your thoughts, too. Our thoughts are often inaccurate and tend toward the negative. When you write down your thoughts, you may realise they look different on paper once you have some distance from them. Also, remember our mood is closely driven by the environment we’re in. Try to spend a small amount of time each day working towards a future goal and connecting with other people. Both of these activities are vital to improve your mood.” – Jordan Vyas-Lee, psychotherapist & founder of Kove

Look At Your Diet

“It may sound simple but eating well can make a world of difference to your mental health. Studies show anxiety and depression can be exacerbated by processed and heavily refined foods, or when blood sugar plummets. If you are struggling with your mental health, avoid white, refined carbs, sugar, chocolate, alcohol, caffeine and fizzy drinks, including diet versions. At the same time, stay hydrated. Dehydration prevents the brain from producing energy and serotonin, your feel-good hormone, and increases stress in the body.” – Helen 

Be Selfish

“When people are going through difficult times in life, they often feel guilty or have negative thoughts if they prioritise their own needs. They often prioritise looking after others and committing to work, ultimately putting themselves and their mental health second to everything else. The advice I give most frequently is to prioritise your own emotional wellbeing if you are going through a tough time – this is never selfish. At the same time, don’t wear a brave face. It’s okay not to feel okay, and talking about things is important. Sharing the load leads to better mental health.” – Dr Charmain Keane, chartered clinical psychologist 

Look For The Silver Lining

“Even if something feels challenging right now, we are always learning and growing – there’s always gold to mine within all of life’s experiences. Taking a growth mindset can activate your sense of meaning and also helps you to feel accomplished. If you are struggling with feeling positive, take the time to find out what you’re good at. The CliftonStrengths online assessment is a great way to find out. We are all good at something, and once you know what it is, you can use your strengths to energise you and remind you to focus on what’s good.” – Niyc Pidgeon, psychologist & high-performance coach 

“Even if something feels challenging right now, we are always learning – there’s ALWAYS GOLD TO MINE within all of life’s experiences.”

Do More Of What You Enjoy

“Write a list of ten things that bring you joy and intentionally plan these into your week. Whether it’s lighting your favourite candle, walking outside with a friend, or driving in the car with your favourite music – these boosters will increase positive emotions, one of the main pillars associated with psychological thriving. Remember you have the power to make a change, and that small, positive steps in the right direction compound over time to create bigger changes.” – Niyc 

Be Gentle With Yourself

“Show yourself compassion at all times, and get into the habit of treating yourself as you would a child or best friend. If you are having a bad day, be kind to yourself and take a break – getting outside always puts things in perspective. Take some time every day to check in with yourself and make sure you do something – anything – just for you, every day.” – Holli Rubin, psychotherapist at The Soke

Remove Yourself From Your Thoughts

“We like to use this simple analogy at Headspace when people are struggling with anxiety or negative thought patterns: rather than being stuck outside in the middle of a storm (your emotions), you can instead see the storm from inside looking through the window. It’s pretty safe and warm here and, while you know the storm is still happening, you’re not so caught up in it. This is also a method we can use to slow down and invite a sense of relaxation and stability into the body.” – Eve Lewis Prieto, director of meditation at Headspace

Practise Self-Compassion

“It’s important to understand that humans are vulnerable and not perfect, and we all experience challenging times in our lives. Self-compassion means we can recognise that life isn’t always going to go as planned. It’s also important to highlight that self-compassion isn’t self-pity, it’s about providing a space for healing to take place instead of getting caught up in negative thought patterns. It also helps to expand our perspective. This doesn’t mean denying what’s happening to you, but framing it in a more supportive way. You can say to yourself, ‘I’m finding it hard that I don’t feel 100% right now when I feel like I should, but I understand that it's normal and natural for human beings to struggle at times, and I know I am not alone.” – Eve 

Start Meditating

“Chances are you’ve read about the benefits of meditation, but it really is worth a try if you’re struggling with anxiety and poor mental health. By setting aside time to practise mindfulness, we train the mind to be more present, open and at ease, creating calm, clarity and contentment in our lives. When we first start to meditate, we might feel restless, uncomfortable, overwhelmed or worried we’re doing it wrong, but that’s okay – even seasoned meditators experience bumps along the way. Like any new habit: it takes practice and patience to feel comfortable with it.” – Eve 

DISCLAIMER: Features published by SheerLuxe are not intended to treat, diagnose, cure or prevent any disease. Always seek the advice of your GP or another qualified healthcare provider for any questions you have regarding a medical condition, and before undertaking any diet, exercise or other health-related programme.

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