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I can’t go to therapy. What else can I do?

For many, going to therapy is not an option. Don’t fret. There are things you can do to attempt to assess yourself to help cultivate more happiness.

My first suggestion is to realize that happiness derives from joy, and joy derives from gratitude. When you start cultivating gratitude, you start to pay more attention to things that bring you joy. Joy leads to happiness, even if it’s in fits and spurts.

Every day, at the same time, name three things you are grateful for. Say them out loud or write them down. Try not to repeat the same things over and over.

Notice feelings. Pay attention to things that make you feel (negative and positive), and give those feelings a name. For example, once you identify that you feel “left out,” you can start to honestly explore why. Why do I feel left out? Is this common? Do I feel this way often? Why am I not comfortable with feeling left out?  Or knowing that you “feel accepted” can help you explore why. It’s really helpful if you ask yourself these questions out loud or actually write it down on paper.

Explore your eating. It’s been said that the gut is like our second brain. Things we eat, when we eat, how we eat, and how much we eat affect out mental status. Low carbs and less sugar increase our mental clarity and help manage our moods. It’s good to turn yourself into a research project regarding your food. As we get older, our guts respond differently, so it’s important to pay attention to your body.

My last suggestion is analyze your sleep. I used to live in a cute swanky loft downtown and had planned to be there until my oldest kid graduated. I had the next phase of my life mapped out. Unfortunately this cute apartment didn’t have windows in the bedrooms. I did not expect to experience seasonal depression due to my circadian rhythm being out of sync. My body craved natural sunlight to help me manage my sleep cycle. I had to move! I was sad but it had to be done. I needed to wake up with the rise of the sun. So pay attention to how much sleep you need, the temperature that works for you, the bedding, the pillows, the sounds, and the smells you need to relax. Now if your mind still can’t shut down, then that is going to take a little more work.

you need sleep, especially if you can't go to therapy

These are just a few suggestions to help you start to regain clarity and emotional wellness.

author picture for bio
Montoyia McGowan, Licensed Clinical Social Worker, is the owner and Chief mental wellness therapist of Stopping the Chase Counseling and Consulting. She helps empower her clients to stop the mentally exhausting cycle of chasing people, places, things, and relationships we often feel would contribute to our happiness. Montoyia helps clients consider perspectives that empower them to be more intentional with their thoughts and outside relationships by learning more effective ways to manage past traumatic experiences.
She is also the founder of Black Therapist Private Practice School where she helps other black therapists in the process of starting and maintaining their own private practice. She desires to help make therapy an important aspect of self care.
She can be found at www.stoppingthechase.com

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