It’s been a while since I last posted! I’m focusing a lot of time on my Tech Happy Life site, and co-authoring a book on raising balanced kids in a technological world with my good friend and colleague, Dr. Jon Lasser. I’m going to try to alternate my blogs between Tech Happy Life and ApaCenter. So, if you have enjoyed my blogs (I know there is a handful of you out there!), please check out those blogs. My latest one there is on how Hate Is the Dark Side of the Force. While I really enjoy providing therapy in addition to my other interests, I always encourage my clients to find daily therapy that works. I don’t always practice what I preach, but I try. This blog applies to myself as well! So, let’s talk more about what I mean regarding daily therapy that works.
What Is Daily Therapy That Works?
In the broad sense of the word, therapy is about providing a treatment to relieve symptoms and/or improve health. When a person goes to therapy with a psychologist or therapist, for instance, the therapy provided is intended to help the person reduce negative feelings, such as anxiety and depression, and improve well-being. But here’s the catch – a therapy session is typically about an hour once every week or two. A person’s life takes place outside of the therapy session. So, what becomes more important than the therapy session per se is what we do during the rest of out waking hours. Although a therapist can help provide us with new perspectives and strategies for dealing with challenges, we ultimately must try these out between sessions. That’s where the “rubber meets the road.” So, daily therapy that works is what we can find to do on a daily basis that helps reduce our suffering and improve our well-being.
Behavioral Activation as Therapy
One finding within the research regarding what helps people feel better is on behavioral activation. In essence, when we are feeling down or stressed, becoming more active and engaged, especially socially, tends to make us feel better. Conversely, being isolated, disengaged, sedentary, and having ruminating, negative thoughts tends to make us feel pretty bad. Yes, we have real problems – financial stress, problems with our kids, romantic struggles, loss, disappointment, failures, and crappy childhoods. Most people do indeed benefit from help from a professional in dealing with such challenges. So, I’m definitely not here to bad mouth the many benefits of traditional therapy! Still, becoming more social and actively engaged in life tends to help us feel better regardless of the specific nature of the problem.
What Daily Therapy Works for You?
We are all the same, AND we are different. Thus, becoming more active and engaged tends to help most people feel better (and thus, is a form of therapy), but how we do this can vary from person to person. What charges your batteries? What daily therapy works for you? Some ideas might include:
- Going to the gym
- Coffee with a friend
- A hike around the lake
- Quality time with your partner, kids, or entire family
- Board games
- Seeing live music (Hello, ACL Festival – here I come!)
- Arts & crafts
The most important thing is that we find what works for each of us AND ensure that we carve out time every day to get our therapy. After all, we don’t always have the time or money to go see a professional therapist. Also, no matter what, our lives take place outside of the therapy session. Thus, to reduce our stress and suffering and improve our mood and well-being, we need to mindfully seek out what nourishes us, what is our therapy, on a daily basis.