4 Ways To Boost Mental Health W/o Paying For Therapy

4 Tips To Boost Your Mental Health W/o Investing in Therapy

MENTAL HEALTH – Here are four (4) ways to boost your mental health without paying for therapy.

Experiencing mental health challenges should never be underestimated. When dealing with symptoms of depression or anxiety, seeking therapy becomes crucial to establish a treatment plan. However, what can you do if you can’t afford therapy, even with reduced payment options?

Therapy is still the gold standard for mental health treatment, but certain situations can temporarily limit access. These four strategies can improve your mental well-being without placing a financial burden on you.


1. Use mental health apps to monitor your daily progress

Mental health apps offer valuable resources to individuals who might otherwise struggle to access support. While they can’t replace therapy or provide diagnostic capabilities, apps like Moodfit and Sanvello serve as valuable tools on your path to mental wellness. The best mental health apps help reduce stress and anxiety while teaching you how to manage symptoms in the future.

These apps come with a range of features and resources, often including a vast library of educational materials to help you comprehend different conditions and develop coping strategies for daily use. Additionally, mental health apps can act as reminders to check in on your emotional state by sending periodic notifications throughout the day.

2. Apply cognitive behavioral therapy strategies on your own

Cognitive behavioral therapy (CBT) is a widely accepted approach for addressing depression, anxiety, and addiction. CBT strategies and tools are designed to extend beyond therapy sessions and become part of your daily life.

This practice, known as self-directed therapy, is not a substitute for professional therapy but can complement your mental health efforts when traditional therapy is not accessible. Self-help strategies are particularly beneficial for individuals dealing with moderate symptoms that do not significantly disrupt their daily functioning.

A systematic review of 33 studies concluded that self-help treatments can effectively reduce anxiety and depression. The results of self-directed therapy were described as “moderate” in the review, suggesting that individuals may not achieve complete recovery but often report feeling less anxious or depressed.

Common self-directed therapy techniques:

Journaling:  This method involves the practice of documenting your thoughts and emotions while reflecting on them. It helps identify negative thoughts and behavioral patterns, enabling purposeful actions for personal transformation.

Guided Courses: Self-guided therapy often requires a starting point, and guided courses can serve as valuable resources for acquiring techniques and strategies for daily coping. You can consult the mental health education directory provided by the National Alliance on Mental Illness for assistance in this regard.

Mental Health Apps: Many mental health apps incorporate cognitive behavioral therapy techniques to alleviate anxiety and aid in symptom management.


3. Stay connected with others

Maintaining connections with others, especially those experiencing similar challenges, is of great significance. Studies show that engaging with others can instill a sense of purpose, reduce feelings of loneliness, and bring meaning to life. Group therapy or support meetings, often facilitated by mental health professionals, can be cost-effective or even free. Whether it’s with friends, family, or strangers, sharing your emotions and experiences is essential.

In addition to human connections, the presence of pets and animals can also help reduce stress and anxiety levels. Dedicate intentional moments to spend time with your pet—play with your dog, cuddle with your cat. If you don’t have a pet, consider volunteering at a local animal shelter or humane society. Fostering or pet-sitting for animals is another viable option.

4. Practice mindfulness & meditation

Meditation has a long history spanning millennia, but in recent years, it has gained significant popularity as a stress-relief practice. Mindfulness involves heightened awareness of your thoughts and emotions, enabling more effective management of your mental state rather than succumbing to overwhelming feelings. Meditation and breathwork are integral components of mindfulness, enhancing your mental well-being.

Mindfulness equips you with tools to manage anxiety and other mental health challenges by helping you understand and cope with your emotions. Research suggests that meditation can reduce stress, improve symptoms of depression or anxiety, and enhance sleep quality. The primary focus is on aligning the mind and body, ultimately benefiting your mental health.

Additionally, you can utilize meditation apps to reduce stress and maintain your mindfulness routine.

Additional Practical Tips to Boost Your Mental Health w/o Therapy

1. Regular Physical Activity: Engaging in consistent physical activity offers a multitude of mental health benefits, including reducing anxiety, elevating mood, enhancing self-esteem, and triggering the release of endorphins. You don’t have to engage in intense workouts; any form of exercise can be advantageous.

2. Soak Up the Sun: Exposure to sunlight stimulates the brain’s production of serotonin, which can have a positive influence on your mood. Insufficient sunlight exposure may lead to reduced serotonin levels, potentially contributing to seasonal affective disorder.

3. Prioritize Quality Sleep: Inadequate sleep has been associated with an increased risk of anxiety, depression, low mood, and heightened stress levels. To promote healthy sleep patterns, establish a consistent bedtime routine that includes relaxing activities, aim for a regular sleep schedule, and disconnect from electronic screens before bedtime.

4. Step Away from Social Media: Excessive use of social media platforms can exacerbate symptoms of anxiety and depression. If you find yourself constantly comparing yourself to others online or notice a decline in your mental well-being, consider a digital detox. Start by limiting your time on social media and use that time for enjoyable activities or spending it with loved ones.

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