The COVID-19 pandemic and its economic consequences have negatively affected many people’s mental health and created new barriers for people already managing mental illness and substance use disorders. Historically, mental health has been considered unequal to physical health, but the coronavirus crisis has made clear just how inextricable mental and physical health really are. During this time, it’s more important than ever to raise awareness, reduce stigma and promote understanding about mental health conditions and their treatment options. To help, we’ve rounded up seven important benefits of therapy that extend beyond the treatment of a mental health condition.
1) Open Up & Inspire
Therapy, whether conducted in-person or via telehealth, provides a space where you can open up and be vulnerable. When feelings are suppressed, it can have destructive effects on your mental health in the present as well as in the long-term. Everyone needs a place where they can talk about sensitive issues, especially ones they may have never shared with another person before. Talking with a professional allows you to share openly and address problems in an appropriate and manageable way.
2) Recognize Thought Patterns
Most people experience negative thought patterns from time to time, but sometimes these patterns become so entrenched that they interfere with relationships, achievements, and even well-being. Therapy helps people notice and change these negative thinking patterns. With the help of a therapist, it’s possible to deconstruct unhelpful thoughts and rebuild them in a more balanced and accurate way. While you can’t always control what happens to you, you can control how you react to it by understanding that it is in your own power to see a situation through a certain frame.
3) Build Empathy
When people set aside time to analyze their own thoughts and behaviors, they gain a better understanding of why they make certain decisions and feel certain emotions. Therapists may ask you to look at certain situations from a different perspective and by doing so, you build empathy for yourself as those around you. By understanding how different circumstances can affect you or others, you create room for compassion and learn not to judge others so quickly.
4) Gain Healthy Coping Mechanisms
Even before the pandemic, we’ve all faced hardships and had to persevere. How we react to these obstacles can have a significant impact on our mental wellbeing. Therapy can help you learn healthy coping mechanisms that allow you to navigate through life’s challenges without burning out or falling apart.
5) Strengthen Communication in Difficult Situations
Therapy helps people overcome the some of the most common pitfalls of communication in order to improve their relationships and excel in their professional and personal lives. Being a strong communicator takes practice and it’s not just about speaking well. Often, people work with their therapists on building empathy and non-verbal communication skills. Additionally, therapy can also help people become effective listeners and learn how to provide feedback to show the person you’re speaking with that they are understood and appreciated. This, in turn, makes discussing difficulty situations more manageable and can help foster deeper connections.
6) Relieve Chronic Stress
There are many healthy ways to relieve stress. Therapy helps people learn how to manage their stress in healthy ways that will work in the long-term. Therapists often recommend healthy strategies for dealing with stress and personalize these strategies to best suit their clients’ needs. Seeking professional can not only provide an outlet to talk about stress, but it can also help identify the main causes of stress in your life and show you how to incorporate stress reduction strategies into your daily life.
7) Boost Physical Health
Therapy doesn’t just support mental health; it can also have a significant impact on physical health as well. When struggling with mental health, it’s not uncommon to experience sleep deprivation, headaches, digestive issues, appetite changes, high levels of stress, and in some cases, a weakened immune system. When your mental wellbeing improves, so can your sleep, motivation and energy.