Multicultural Resource Commons

Tips for Optimizing Mental Health

You don’t have to experience a mental health crisis to take your mental health seriously. Here are some preventive steps you can take to optimize your mental health:

  • Identify the type of processor you are. (verbal/written/physical)
  • Make a coping plan, keeping in mind what is helpful to you when you feel overwhelmed.
    • Physical outlets: sports, dance, boxing, yoga, etc.
    • Write it down: journaling.
    • Say it out loud (to yourself or others).
  • Ask your support system [beforehand]:
    • “What can you handle?”
    • “How much is too much to share with you?”
  • Identify spaces of belonging.

What therapy is and is not:

Therapy cannot be successful unless you want to be there.

It is important to come to therapy on your own accord. Feeling pressured to be at therapy is often counterproductive. Be honest and forthcoming about your reluctance with your therapist.

Therapy will not fix you. You will fix you.

Therapists help clients help themselves. By encouraging clients to discover their own unhelpful patterns, therapists are encouraging self-awareness instead of dependency (like with advice-giving).

Therapy does not always make you feel better.

There is a reason they are called “growing pains”. Making a meaningful breakthrough in therapy requires bravery, willingness to change, greater understanding of self and what motivates you, and an ability to tolerate distress.

Therapy will not work if you have unrealistic expectations.

Change takes time. In therapy, change requires insight development and replacing old behaviors with new ones. Collaboratively set sensible and realistic goals, that are specific to your needs, with your therapist.

Therapy is not like talking to a friend.

Therapists train many years. They listen not solely to understand, but also to analyze and identify. Therapist also remain objective and operate within an unbiased, balanced framework.

Therapy requires you to be comfortable with your therapist.

Finding a therapist that is a “good fit” is important for meaningful change to happen. Be honest with yourself about if you feel at ease with your therapist and comfortable talking about sensitive issues.