7 Tips for Folks Who Can’t Afford a Psychologist

Young Man Having Counselling SessionWhile all of us have issues, not of all of us can afford expensive one-on-one therapy. Aside from the hefty price tag, therapy is a theory, not a science, and, unlike a pill, cannot be proven to bring improvements in difficult mental or emotional problems. Nobody can predict the failure or success of a particular series of treatments.

That said, many people find it hard to even commit to ongoing therapy, which would reap them the greatest benefit, and stop going after a few sessions alone.

For those who can’t or don’t want to deal with the cost of a therapist, here are a few emotional health tips:

1. Let go of anxiety

We all experience fear and anxiety in life, especially before serious events or big decisions or changes. This is normal and okay. Anxiety often derives from our insistence on controlling things in life which are simply beyond our control, related to children, relationships, jobs, etc. Once you realize that certain things are beyond your control and that anxiety will not help to solve any problem, you can let go of these fears. They will no longer have power over you. The key to dealing with anxiety in a healthy way is to process it and then release it, rather than letting it stick with you, simmering like a hot swamp in your psyche, and controlling your life. Whether caused by a fight with a loved one, delicate job situation or otherwise, these are passing moments in life, and so should be the anxiety that they bring – passing.

2. Dwell in the moment

While life will undoubtedly offer us many tough, ugly moments, it also offers us at least a few beautiful ones. Recognize those, and dwell in them – milk them for all they’re worth. The first problem is that you might not be able to recognize these moments all around you. You might be so obsessed with the future and your next daily errand that you miss the perfect moments happening right now. Slow down, notice your surroundings and start realizing the beautiful moments that are happening around you: the picturesque sunset on your way home from work, the delicious cup of coffee you take for granted, your favorite meal, a fun conversation with a best friend, etc. Practicing stretching these movements and connecting them will bring about a better mindset and outlook.

3. Overcome your ego

We all have certain perceptions of ourselves – whether true or not – and, accordingly, certain expectations of what we deserve, need and should be. We spend a lot of our lives living according to these versions of ourselves that we create. Try to overcome your own image of yourself and leave behind expectations that are unrealistic or misguided. We are not what we think we are and we do not always need what we think we need. Instead, focus on your inner voice and the true you.

4. Turn inside out

Many of us let ourselves be defined by the outside world, including physical objects which we possess and the opinions of others. We feel that we need outer trappings: expensive cars, fashionable clothes and elegant surroundings, in order to be who we want to be. Similarly, we worry about how other people will perceive us: beautiful, smart, cool, etc. This way of thinking leads to a very skewed view of ourselves and attempts to be an unrealistic version of ourselves. Instead, you should focus on what’s inside you, the true YOU, and project this outward.

5. Boundaries

Some of us simply negotiate too much and compromise on things that we should not. When you do not set certain boundaries for yourself, in your relationships or at your workplace, you are damaging your own emotional wellbeing. Without knowing what is nonnegotiable for you, who are you? How will others know how to treat you? You can prevent giving up on your own needs and similar behavior from others by establishing your own boundaries.

6. Get out of yourself

Sometimes in life we become too focused on ourselves, our predicaments and our own issues. Being constantly focused on one’s own self is a surefire way to dwell on negative thoughts and criticism. One of the best ways to stop the self-judgment going on is to shift your mind’s focus from yourself to others. Start volunteering, helping another or simply spending more time listening to friends. Experiences with others will give you more perspective on your own problems and hopefully make them seem even a little less central.

7. Share

You shouldn’t constantly tell people how sad or happy you are; that will get annoying. However, you should choose certain times when sharing your feelings with people will help. Be selective. Do not share simply because you feel that you need attention, which can be a lot of the time. Start by asking yourself whether the information you want to share will be of any interest or use to another, or is it a simple request for validation? That said, we often learn much more form other people’s stories. Any opportunity to get advice and a few helpful words from another person can be beneficial.