Exercise is commonly given as advice to relieve stress and improve one’s mental health and well-being.
In today’s blog post, however, I’ll be talking about how Psychotherapy instead, supports you in relieving stress to improve your mental health.
Clearly, there are many research studies proving exercise makes a difference to your mental health, so this blog post isn’t looking to knock exercise.
But instead, seeks to do the opposite, making the case seeking Psychotherapy is just as important as a way of relieving stress and improving one’s mental health as exercise is.
Therefore, believing Psychotherapy is to be used in conjunction with exercise, along with other methods for improving one’s mental health and well-being, which you can find out about more here.
Speaking from experience, before seeking Psychotherapy, I ruminated a lot and I mean a lot.
So when I did act on the advice to exercise to improve my mental health, it didn’t work, because if you go to the gym and you’re still ruminating on what’s happened in the past or how unworthy (i.e not good enough) you feel and all you do not have in your life, but want, you’re not going to feel any better than before you started exercising.
Not to mention, when you stop the exercise, yes perhaps you’ll feel better for a little while, but eventually, what you were thinking and feeling before the exercise, will resurface at some point, making exercise a temporary solution.
This, as I mention in my blog post ‘How to renovate your life with the support of a Psychotherapist‘, is because these are thoughts and memories you need to process and until you do with the support of a Psychotherapist, they’ll keep resurfacing and nagging you.
Therefore, what made Psychotherapy so effective for me was the following three benefits.
p.s.You might also find my blog post 3 powerful tools and practices that transformed my life helpful so don’t forget to check it out too.
1) A need for connection
In Daniel Goleman’s New York Bestselling book ‘Social Intelligence: The New Science of Human Relationships‘, he shows how human beings have a hardwired need for connection.
As someone who experiences social anxiety, I often avoided interactions with others as I told myself I didn’t enjoy them, believing I was happier alone and was okay not speaking to anyone.
However, in seeing a Psychotherapist, I saw how this just wasn’t true and realised my mind created this story so I could protect myself from getting hurt.
In the same way, Brene Brown discusses in her Tedx talk ‘The power of vulnerability’, regarding armouring up to avoid showing any form of vulnerability due to believing it was weak.
Psychotherapy, however, supported me in seeing my need for connection in giving me the space to share my most intimate thoughts and feelings with someone; thoughts, feelings and memories I’d never felt I could share with anyone before.
Therefore, making me happier and more excited about life.
2) A concern shared is a concern halved
The saying a ‘concern shared is a concerned halved’ (also known as co-regulation in the therapeutic space), isn’t only a cliche, but a clear benefit of Psychotherapy in supporting you to relieve stress and improve your mental health.
As I discuss in my blog post 3 ways Psychotherapy can support you, I learnt growing up to cope with my thoughts, feelings and experiences by bottling, hiding and avoiding them for fear of being ridiculed.
This meant I had also grown accustomed to what is known in the therapeutic space as self-regulation, which makes it more challenging to regulate your emotions.
The act of coregulation (as with our need for connection), therefore, supported me in feeling happier, relieved and excited about life, as I was able to share what I had been holding onto and keeping to myself, for so long.
Therefore, showing me exactly how co-regulation (inside and outside the therapy room) supports you in relieving stress and improving your mental health.
3) Understanding and acceptance
The understanding and acceptance I received in response to my vulnerable disclosures, further supported me in improving my stress levels and mental health.
This is because the more understanding and acceptance I was given from my Psychotherapist, the more understanding and acceptance I was able to give myself.
Therefore, helping me to feel better about the decisions I had made in the past and was making at present so I no longer needed to regret any of my decisions.
Talking is good
Lastly, in having someone I could trust to share my thoughts, feelings and experiences with weekly, I realised talking is good (and exciting), when you’re learning something new about how you, others and ultimately, how life works.
Psychotherapy, therefore, supports you in relieving your stress and improving your mental health in three ways:
- Fulfilling your need for connection
- Allowing you to share your concerns so they’re not as much of a burden to you; and
- Providing you with understanding and acceptance
As a result, leaving you feeling happier, more excited about life and relieved to have somebody who you can be 100% yourself with.
If you resonate with any of the above and believe you would also benefit from seeking a Psychotherapist, speak to your GP (if based in the UK) and ask them to provide you with a list of practices in your area.
Thanks for reading my post and now I would love to hear from you.
In the comments section below, let me know what’s the cause of your stress currently.