As crazy as it sounds, almost 20% of adults in America have a mental illness these days. That means tens of millions of people are suffering from a range of serious psychological symptoms right now! Even worse, the cost of professional therapy puts this vital source of support beyond the reach of many who need it.
Ready for the good news? You don’t need traditional therapeutic interventions to recover from a mental illness! Thanks to a combination of ancient wisdom and modern science, numerous effective alternatives to therapy exist that can make a significant difference.
And most of them don’t cost a dime.
Want to find out about some of the best ones? You’re in the right place! Keep reading to discover a selection of proven alternatives to traditional therapies.
Mindful meditation is an ancient practice that’s been proven to help people with an array of mental illnesses. From stress and anxiety to depression and pain reduction, mindfulness can alleviate symptoms and restore a sense of wellbeing.
The practice itself involves bringing your awareness to the present moment and leaving judgment at the door! You might focus on your breath, for example, and watch as thoughts come and go without trying to stop them. In the process, your mind quietens down, your worries drop away, and you enjoy a blissful release of tension.
A key thing to know about mindfulness is that it’s a skill though. In other words, it takes time, effort, and practice to improve (your mind will be jumping around all over the place the first time you try!). Start slow and do it every day, though, and it won’t be long before you notice its positive impact.
2. Breathing Exercises
Breathing exercises aren’t an alternative to therapy in the traditional sense. They’ll never operate as a ‘cure’, per se. However, they can be an invaluable addition to your toolbox of techniques to cope with certain mental illnesses (such as anxiety).
Why? Because controlling your breathing in special ways can reduce rising stress levels. Someone who’s on the verge of panic or feeling anxious could employ breathing exercises to great effect.
You’ll feel more relaxed. You’ll be in greater control. And you’ll feel less overwhelmed.
Alas, there are too many breathing exercises to detail on a single list. Do a quick Google search and you’ll come across dozens to learn and master! One simple example that’s worth mentioning, though, is called ‘4-7-8 breathing’.
Here’s how to do it:
- Breathe in gently through our nose to a count of 4 seconds.
- Hold your breath at the top to a count of 7 seconds.
- Breathe out forcefully through your mouth to a count of 8 seconds.
Repeating that process a few times should lead to a number of positive outcomes! You could feel a marked reduction in anxiety, for instance, and be more able to sleep at night.
Yoga is another age-old practice that’s now commonplace in modern society. Its popularity has grown for a number of reasons in recent years, not least because it can support people with their mental health! For true yogis, this is a lifestyle as much as a pastime.
Now, there are many different types of yoga to explore- each one with its respective principles and approaches. Yet each variety incorporates a shared array of elements. These include meditation, movements/postures, visualization, and breath-work (read: breathing exercises).
Each one of these individual components is known to support people with their well-being. Put them together through yoga and you’ve got a powerful tool to combat myriad negative symptoms. Depression and anxiety are two mental illnesses for which yoga might be of particular value.
Another advantage here is that anyone can do it. You can adjust the level of difficulty to accommodate everybody’s needs. There are also plenty of free resources online to help you get started and experiment with the practice.
4. Spiritual Direction and Life Coaching
Both life coaching and spiritual direction are popular twists on the typical therapeutic model. You don’t need a mental illness to benefit from them. People from any discipline, walk of life, and level of success utilize both services.
In both cases, you’re working one-on-one with someone in a bid to improve your life! They’ll listen to your unique problems, unpick the beliefs and behaviors that are contributing to your distress, and counsel you on how to overcome them. Whether you’re struggling with broken relationships, addiction, fear, grief, or anything else of that nature, experienced individuals, like JR Mahon, could help.
One primary difference between the two is the role of spirituality. As the name suggests, spiritual direction involves an element of faith and the divine. Life coaching, by contrast, usually doesn’t.
5. Art and Aromatherapy
Creative pursuits, such as drawing and painting are well-known to help in this area of life too. Of course, art therapy’s a legitimate treatment approach. But you can just as easily buy your own art materials to enjoy some of the same benefits without the expense.
While you’re at it, why not invest in some essential oils? These natural plant extracts come in a variety of wonderful scents and can have a range of positive effects on how you feel. From the calming effects of lavender oil to the sleep-inducing nature of camomile oil, essential oils could be a worthy addition to your DIY therapy endeavors.
Make Use of These Alternatives to Therapy
The rate of mental illness in America means people are crying out for therapeutic support nowadays. Sadly, the sky-high costs involved with traditional therapy can be prohibitive for anyone on a tight budget. Know the struggle?
Well, with any luck, the alternatives to therapy that we’ve described in this article will make a difference! Keep them in mind, put them to use, and you could experience a blissful reduction in symptoms without spending a cent. If you’d like to read more articles about mental health-related matters, search ‘psychology’ on the website now.