There is a plethora of information out in the world about how to feel better, think more positively, live life to the fullest, and generally be “happier”. That information often times makes those tasks sound simple and easy. However if you’re like me and have actually tried to do any of them, you probably had one pretty good day, and then failed to continue.
Through my time in graduate school, I was forced every day into introspection and self-reflection. I constantly questioned my beliefs, values, and ways of thinking. Doing so allowed me to gain a better understanding of what my clients might be going through and what I can do to help.
Before graduate school I was your typical negative thinker. I saw fault in everything and I tried to justify things by making excuses for them. I grew up in a constant state of criticism, both of myself and others, so in order to cope with this unhappiness, I created a never ending state of busyness for myself. I held a full-time job, volunteered at an internship, and went to school full time in undergrad. When I graduated I felt happy knowing that I was going to be a mental health therapist, however was still stuck in the same rut I always had been.
Right after my husband and I moved in together, I realized how different our ways of thinking were. His constantly optimistic and positive thinking made me question the way I was living my life. I wanted to have that same positivity because he genuinely seemed to enjoy life much more than I was. I can remember sobbing, questioning why I can’t just be happy with where I am at and enjoy the present. Luckily, this questioning happened right before I embarked on my journey to graduate school.
My program director in school said to us eager future therapists, “you will not come out of this program the same person you are coming into it”. So i decided to run with that, and fully immerse myself in becoming who I knew I could be.
Fast forward three years later and I noticed another disconnect. There seemed to be plenty of advice on the internet on treating mental illness, but still approximately 1 in 5 adults struggle with it every year. There just doesn’t seem to be the right type of information available. For example,you’ll see lots of advice on how to cope with anxiety such as deep breathing, but finding actionable strategies that go deeper into the underlying causes is much rarer.
My goal is to bridge that gap. I am passionate about providing in-depth information and actionable techniques to anyone who needs it; explaining why mental illness occurs helps us to apply sustainable coping strategies rather than simple “bandaid” solutions.
While I think every person could benefit from attending therapy, sometimes a new perspective or a lifestyle change is all you need. And that’s my goal, simple lifestyle hacks to encourage people to embrace their journey with open arms.
Everyone deserves to give happiness a try.