Therapy Out of Reach? These 4 Tips Will Promote Better Mental Health (2023)

Right now, many people are experiencing seasonal affective disorder. SAD is a type of depression that can greatly impact your life. Typically, the first line of treatment is therapy. But even with sliding scale payments, insurance and online options, it's expensive. Online therapy services like BetterHelp and Talkspace have made therapy more affordable, at around $60 to $90 per session. Still, that's out of reach for many people.

Therapy will always be the gold standard for mental health treatment. Though circumstances can make it temporarily impossible. These four strategies improve your mental health without spending any money.

Also see how to naturally treat depression and anxiety and ways you can give yourself a happiness boosteach day.

See at Cnet
(Video) Mental Health Wellness Tips

Use mental health apps to track daily progress

Mental health apps offer resources to people who otherwise couldn't get them. While they're not a substitute for therapy and can't diagnose conditions, mental health apps like Moodfit and Sanvello are great tools to use on your mental wellness journey. The best mental health apps will help you relieve stress and anxiety and teach you how to manage symptoms in the future.

(Video) MY 5 "NON-NEGOTIABLE" MENTAL HEALTH TIPS! Anxiety & Depression Recovery

There's a lot of variety in what these apps offer and the features that are built in. Many offer a great catalog of educational resources to help you learn about conditions and adapt coping strategies to manage them daily.

Mental health apps can also be a reminder to check in on yourself. Most send push notifications throughout the day, which can be used as an indicator to stop and assess how you're feeling.

Therapy Out of Reach? These 4 Tips Will Promote Better Mental Health (3)

Implement cognitive behavioral therapy strategies on your own

Cognitive behavioral therapy is commonly used to treat depression, anxiety and addiction. CBT strategies and tools are intended to be taken outside of therapy sessions and used in daily life.

It's called self-directed therapy. Again, it isn't a replacement for traditional therapy with a professional, but it can supplement your mental health efforts when you don't have access to talk therapy. This self-help strategy is best reserved for those with moderate symptoms that don't affect daily tasks.

A systematic review of 33 studies found that self-help treatments can decrease anxiety and depression. Self-directed therapy results were "moderate," according to the review. So people didn't feel 100% better, but they reported feeling less anxious or depressed. If you're interested in self-directed therapy strategies to improve your mental well-being, we recommend checking out the Behavioral and Cognitive Therapies list of books. The books on the list have received a "seal of merit."

(Video) Case study clinical example CBT: First session with a client with symptoms of depression (CBT model)

Common self-directed therapy techniques:

  • Journaling: Writing down your thoughts and feelings and reflecting on them can help you identify negative thoughts and behavior patterns. Once you're aware, you can take meaningful steps toward making changes.
  • Guided courses: With self-directed therapy, you have to start somewhere. Guided courses can help you learn methods and tactics for daily management. You can consult the National Alliance on Mental Illness for its mental health education directory.
  • Mental health apps: Many mental health apps use cognitive behavioral therapy techniques to reduce anxiety and help manage symptoms.
Therapy Out of Reach? These 4 Tips Will Promote Better Mental Health (4)

Stay connected to others

It's important to connect with other people, especially those experiencing similar things. Studies show that connecting to others can provide a sense of meaning and purpose and decrease loneliness. Group therapy or support groups are typically led by a mental health professional or group leader and can be low-cost or free. Whether it be friends, family or strangers, sharing your feelings and experiences is essential.

You also can use the Substance Abuse and Mental Health Services Administration website to locate community resources near you.

Connections with people aren't the only ones that can help improve your mental health. Pets and animals can reduce stress and anxiety levels. Take some intentional time to hang out with your pet -- play with your dog, hug your cat. If you don't have a pet, you can volunteer at a local animal shelter or humane society. Fostering or pet-sitting animals is also an option.

Practice mindfulness and meditation

Meditation has a history that stretches back thousands of years, but it's become an extremely popular stress-relieving practice in the last few. Mindfulness helps you become more attuned to what you're feeling and thinking, which helps you manage your thoughts and emotions more effectively, rather than becoming overwhelmed by them. Mindfulness uses techniques like meditation and breathwork to improve your mental health.

(Video) Full Mental Health Guide For Men (This should be your priority right now)

Mindfulness can help you manage symptoms of anxiety and other mental health disorders by helping you understand and cope with what you're feeling. Studies show that meditation can help reduce stress, alleviate symptoms of depression or anxiety and help you sleep. The focus is on mind and body integration, which can help you enhance your mental well-being.

You can also use meditation apps to reduce stress and help maintain your mindfulness regimen. These free or low-cost apps are great for beginners.

Read more: Headspace Review: Get Tools for Mindfulness, Meditation and More for Just $5 a Month

Other practical tips to improve your mental health without therapy:

  • Exercise: Several mental health benefits are associated with exercise, like relieving anxiety or improving your mood. Exercise also can boost your confidence and release endorphins. You don't have to jump straight into heavy lifting; any exercise can help.
  • Go outside and soak up the sun: Sunlight boosts serotonin in the brain, which can improve your mood. When you don't get enough sun, your serotonin levels drop, leading to seasonal affective disorder.
  • Prioritize your sleep: Poor sleep is linked to a greater risk of anxiety or depression, poor mood and higher stress levels. Prioritize your sleep by sticking to your bedtime routine -- get ready for bed by doing something relaxing, aim for the same bedtime each night and turn off your screens.
  • Take a step back from social media: Constant social media use can increase symptoms of anxiety and depression. A digital detox may be warranted if you compare yourself to others online or notice a dip in your mental health. Start by limiting your time on social media. Then, try to fill that time with things you enjoy or people you like spending time with.
Therapy Out of Reach? These 4 Tips Will Promote Better Mental Health (5)

When should I see a therapist?

Self-directed therapy and well-being tactics are extremely useful, but they're not the be-all and end-all in mental health. Face time with a licensed therapist is essential for those with severe conditions and symptoms.

The first thing you should do is check your insurance. Employer-provided insurance and Medicaid may cover screenings, psychotherapy and counseling. Your insurance coverage will depend on your state and your health plan, but many plans include mental health coverage for in-network therapists.

(Video) 5 Tips for Supporting a Loved One

Read more: How to Find the Best Therapist Near You

Your finances shouldn't stop you from getting the help you need. It may take some research into therapists and programs, but there are low-cost options.

  • Sliding scale payments: Some therapists offer sliding scale fees -- you pay what you can afford. The cost will be based on your income. Not all therapists offer this, but many do.
  • Low-cost or free services: Some therapists offer low-cost or free counseling for individual and group sessions. If you live near a college or university, the graduate department may offer free or discounted therapy sessions.
  • Community health centers: Community mental health centers assist those in surrounding areas.
  • Local and online support groups: Local organizations and volunteers in many areas offer support groups for things like grief and addiction. Use Mental Health America's list of support groups to find one that best fits your needs. You can participate in a peer-led support group through the National Alliance of Mental Illness (NAMI).

See also

  • 7 Stress-Relief Strategies That Really Work
  • 8 Affordable Therapy Options That Don't Require Insurance
  • 6 Best Teas for Anxiety and Stress

The information contained in this article is for educational and informational purposes only and is not intended as health or medical advice. Always consult a physician or other qualified health provider regarding any questions you may have about a medical condition or health objectives.


What are 5 ways to improve mental health? ›

5 steps to mental wellbeing
  1. Connect with other people. Good relationships are important for your mental wellbeing. ...
  2. Be physically active. Being active is not only great for your physical health and fitness. ...
  3. Learn new skills. ...
  4. Give to others. ...
  5. Pay attention to the present moment (mindfulness)

How can you promote good mental health? ›

10 tips to boost your mental health
  1. Make social connection — especially face-to-face — a priority. ...
  2. Stay active. ...
  3. Talk to someone. ...
  4. Appeal to your senses. ...
  5. Take up a relaxation practice. ...
  6. Make leisure and contemplation a priority. ...
  7. Eat a brain-healthy diet to support strong mental health. ...
  8. Don't skimp on sleep.
Oct 4, 2018

How do I get the most out of my counseling session? ›

Making the Most Out of Counseling
  2. SHOW UP. ...
  4. BE CURIOUS. ...

What are 4 things you can do to help improve mental health naturally? ›

Your Family's Mental Health: 10 Ways to Improve Mood Naturally
  1. Lighten up. Sunshine boosts mood. ...
  2. Get plenty of sleep. Aim for at least 7 to 8 hours of sleep each night. ...
  3. Connect with someone. Talk it out. ...
  4. Eat wisely. Eat protein-rich foods at breakfast and lunch. ...
  5. Go for gratitude. ...
  6. Step it up! ...
  7. Be kind. ...
  8. Turn off the TV.
Jan 24, 2022

What are the 4 types of mental health? ›

mood disorders (such as depression or bipolar disorder) anxiety disorders. personality disorders. psychotic disorders (such as schizophrenia)

What are 6 ways to maintain good mental health? ›

6 ways to take care of your mental health and well-being this World Mental Health Day
  • Talk to someone you trust. ...
  • Look after your physical health. ...
  • Do activities that you enjoy. ...
  • Steer away from harmful substances. ...
  • Take two minutes to focus on the world around you. ...
  • Seek professional help.
Oct 7, 2021

What are the 7 components of good mental health? ›

You probably have good mental health if:
  • you are confident when faced with new situations or people.
  • you feel optimistic.
  • you do not always blame yourself.
  • you set goals.
  • you feel good about yourself.
  • you have good self esteem.

What are the 7 listed ways to maintain positive mental health? ›

About Self-Care
  • Get regular exercise. Just 30 minutes of walking every day can help boost your mood and improve your health. ...
  • Eat healthy, regular meals and stay hydrated. ...
  • Make sleep a priority. ...
  • Try a relaxing activity. ...
  • Set goals and priorities. ...
  • Practice gratitude. ...
  • Focus on positivity. ...
  • Stay connected.

What to talk about in therapy when you have nothing to talk about? ›

If you don't know what to talk about in therapy, some things to consider talking about include recent life events, relationships, traumas, and more.
  • “Small” issues. ...
  • Patterns and behaviors. ...
  • Present feelings. ...
  • Rumination. ...
  • Relationships. ...
  • Past traumas. ...
  • New life challenges. ...
  • Avoided thoughts and conflicts.

What not to do in therapy? ›

Other things to avoid during a therapy session include: asking about other confidential conversations with other clients; showcasing violent emotions; or implying any romantic or sexual interest in your therapist. The number one job of a therapist is to keep you safe and protect their clients' privacy.

What is the most important keys to successful counseling? ›

Developing an empathetic connection with each client is key to moving forward in the therapeutic process, and is the core of an effective counselor-client relationship.

How do I bring myself to reality? ›

Anchor Yourself to Reality.
Try regulating your nervous system by:
  1. Regulating your breathing by taking slow, deep breaths.
  2. Practicing progressive muscle relaxation.
  3. Using prepared self-talk statements that bring to mind reassuring truths.
  4. Reaching out to others for support.
Nov 9, 2019

How do I bring myself back into reality? ›

  1. Keep yourself from obsessing about unreal experiences.
  2. Distract yourself with activities.
  3. Ground yourself in reality using your five senses (for example, by playing loud music or holding something very cold).
  4. Address negative feelings and figure out the causes of your symptoms.
Dec 3, 2021

Can mental health issues be reversed? ›

There's no cure for mental illness, but there are lots of effective treatments. People with mental illnesses can recover and live long and healthy lives.

What are 3 ways you can help others with mental health? ›

What emotional support can I offer?
  • Listen. Simply giving someone space to talk, and listening to how they're feeling, can be really helpful in itself. ...
  • Offer reassurance. Seeking help can feel lonely, and sometimes scary. ...
  • Stay calm. ...
  • Be patient. ...
  • Try not to make assumptions. ...
  • Keep social contact.

What are the 4 major objectives of the mental health Action Plan? ›

The original four major objectives remain unchanged: more effective leadership and governance for mental health; the provision of comprehensive, integrated mental health and social care services in community-based settings; implementation of strategies for promotion and prevention; and strengthened information systems, ...

What are the 4 domains of life that influence mental health? ›

Cummins (1996) identified the life domains of health, productivity, material wellbeing, intimacy, safety, emotional wellbeing, and community.

What are the 4 mental processes? ›

Common mental processes include memory, emotion, perception, imagination, thinking and reasoning.

What are the 5 principles of mental health recovery? ›

However, central to all recovery paradigms are hope, self-determination, self-management, empowerment and advocacy.

What are the 12 steps to positive mental health? ›

They include:
  • keeping physically active.
  • eating well.
  • drinking in moderation.
  • valuing yourself and others.
  • talking about your feelings.
  • keeping in touch with friends and loved ones.
  • caring for others.
  • getting involved and making a contribution.
Nov 10, 2008

What are the 3 main components of mental health? ›

Mental health includes our emotional, psychological, and social well-being.

What are the 10 principles of mental health care? ›

The 10 fundamental components of mental health recovery include the following principles:
  • Self-Direction. ...
  • Individualized and Person-Centered. ...
  • Empowerment. ...
  • Holistic. ...
  • Non-Linear. ...
  • Strengths-Based. ...
  • Peer Support. ...
  • Respect.

What is the 10 importance of mental health? ›

Poor mental health makes us more vulnerable to certain physical health problems, such as heart disease, stroke and type 2 diabetes. Nurturing our mental health can also help prevent the development of mental illnesses. Good mental health helps us have a more positive outlook and enjoy our lives more.

What are 5 mental health habits? ›

5 habits to help you improve your mental health
  • Get plenty of sleep. Sleep is important because it allows your body to rest and your mind to reset. ...
  • Eat healthy and exercise. ...
  • Find a connection with others. ...
  • Relaxation techniques. ...
  • Practice gratitude and stay positive.

What are the 5 characteristics of positive mental and emotional health? ›

emotional stability: feeling calm and able to manage emotions. resilience: the ability to cope with the stresses of daily life. optimism: feeling positive about your life and future. self-esteem: feeling positive about yourself.

What are the 5 benefits of self care? ›

What are the benefits of self-care?
  • Self-care can improve your physical health.
  • Self-care can reduce stress and anxiety.
  • Self-care can boost your self-esteem.
  • Self-care protects your mental health.
  • Self-care can lead to better relationships.

What therapists dont talk about? ›

Some of these topics include feeling incompetent; making mistakes; getting caught off guard by fee entanglements; becoming enraged at patients; managing illness; understanding sexual arousal and impulses; praying with patients as part of therapy; feeling ashamed; being fired; and not knowing what to do.

What do therapists usually say? ›

(“Should I use the _______?”) “What would you do if you were at home?” (Wait for answer.) “Then why don't you go ahead and try that?” “What would you do if I wasn't here?” “I'd like you to do whatever you'd normally do.”

Why do I feel like my therapist isn't helping? ›

Reasons, such as lack of trust or feeling misunderstood, may make you feel like therapy isn't helping. Here's how you can improve your experience. There are many reasons why therapy may not be working for you. Your therapist, the type of therapy they provide, and how they relate to you may be the reasons.

What are red flags for a therapist? ›

What should therapists NOT do?
  • Behave unethically. ...
  • Take you as a client if they don't specialize in your issue. ...
  • Overshare about themselves. ...
  • Leave you feeling worse after your session – regularly. ...
  • Make you feel judged, shamed, or emotionally exposed. ...
  • Disrupt the session by divided attention. ...
  • You just don't feel “right”

What do therapists struggle with? ›

5 Biggest Challenges for Licensed Mental Health Counselors
  • Counseling Reluctant Patients. You might occasionally work with someone who isn't willing to fully open up. ...
  • Putting Personal Judgments Aside. ...
  • Setting Relationship Limits. ...
  • Dealing with a Disjointed System. ...
  • Needing a Counselor Yourself.

Can you overshare in therapy? ›

Looking ahead. Sharing something you think is too sensitive or personal can be uncomfortable. But know you're not alone in thinking you've disclosed too much in therapy. When this happens, it can help to explore why you think you've overshared and talk it over with your therapist.

What are the 5 P's in counseling? ›

They conceptualized a way to look at clients and their problems, systematically and holistically taking into consideration the (1) Presenting problem, (2) Predisposing factors, (3) Precipitating factors, (4) Perpetuating factors, and (5) Protective factors.

What are the 4 fundamental components of counselling? ›

The basic stages of counseling are: 1) Developing the client/clinician relationship; 2) Clarifying and assessing the presenting problem or situation; 3) Identifying and setting counseling or treatment goals; 4) Designing and implementing interventions; and 5) Planning, termination, and follow-up.

What are the three C's in counseling? ›

There Are Three C's in Counseling: Caring, Challenge, Commitment.

What are 3 things that positively influence your mental health? ›

  • Being physically active. Exercise can reduce feelings of stress and depression and improve your mood.
  • Getting enough sleep. Sleep affects your mood. ...
  • Healthy eating. Good nutrition will help you feel better physically but could also improve your mood and decrease anxiety and stress.
May 5, 2020

What are the 3 most significant determinants of mental health? ›

When it comes to mental health, three social determinants are particularly significant: freedom from discrimination and violence. social inclusion. access to economic resources.


1. 7 Ways Companies can encourage more equal opportunities for women in 2023
(Duquesa Dean)
2. How to manage your mental health | Leon Taylor | TEDxClapham
(TEDx Talks)
3. Are You Making These HEALTHY FOOD Mistakes? - Nutrition Tips to Avoid
4. How to stimulate your vagus nerve for better 🧠 mental health (5 TIPS)
5. 4 Tips to fight Depression during the Holidays - Mental Health Help
(Kati Morton)
6. How Does Cognitive Behavioral Therapy Work?
(Psych Hub)
Top Articles
Latest Posts
Article information

Author: Kelle Weber

Last Updated: 02/09/2023

Views: 6124

Rating: 4.2 / 5 (53 voted)

Reviews: 84% of readers found this page helpful

Author information

Name: Kelle Weber

Birthday: 2000-08-05

Address: 6796 Juan Square, Markfort, MN 58988

Phone: +8215934114615

Job: Hospitality Director

Hobby: tabletop games, Foreign language learning, Leather crafting, Horseback riding, Swimming, Knapping, Handball

Introduction: My name is Kelle Weber, I am a magnificent, enchanting, fair, joyous, light, determined, joyous person who loves writing and wants to share my knowledge and understanding with you.