Sunday, May 3, 2015

Therapy on a Shoestring

Hi – how're you doing? You don't have to look behind you – I'm talking to you. Yeah, you.

How's 2015 working for you? Has the New Year been a good one so far? How's work? the family? your finances? health? Anything getting you down?

Don't look so surprised. If you've got challenges in any of these areas, you're not alone.

With every new year comes expectations: Better this, improved that, more of something, less of something. Every year people think it's going to be different. Unfortunately, often it's either a mildly heightened or watered down version of the year before.

Sorry. Don't mean to be a bummer, but it's true. 

Some say the bluest day of the year is the first Monday after the New Year. Lines start forming at therapists' offices soon after; people needing answers, a fix for what ails them. They suck it up and spend lots of money to talk ... and have someone listen.
Don't get me wrong. There are many wonderful and talented therapists, but not everyone can afford to pay hundreds of dollars a month to get emotional relief. 

Even as the year progresses and Winter resigns itself to Spring, and Spring to Summer, too many carry burdens that get the best of them. Life is a gift, but it's not always easy.

Therapy on a Shoestring

This is why I've come up with a few free -to-inexpensive ideas to help you self soothe when it feels like life is getting the better of you. You may question how effective these methods are, but I tell you – they work! 

If you're feeling a little down, you may find some value in the options listed below. 

I'm not a licensed therapist, never have been, don't pretend to be, but what if one of these simple ideas started making you feel better? Is it worth it? Only you can decide if it is or isn't.


Let's Do This! Ten Great Ways to Feel Better

Therapy on a shoestring reminds me of another one of my articles: "Love on a Budget." Ninety-eight percent of the population don't have deep pockets. There's a need for creative accounting, figuratively speaking. So, here goes...

  1. Hug Therapy. This no-cost way of feeling better is unbelievable. And let me just stop you in your tracks if you're thinking, "But what if there's no one to hug me?" Hug yourself! You read right. Hug yourself. The heat that emanates from your own hands is soothing and therapeutic. $0!
  2. Art Therapy. Remember when you were in school and you drew pictures and colored and painted? Everything around you faded into the background as you delved into your artistic endeavors. Worries seemed smaller and happiness filled your heart. Under $5 for basic supplies!
  3. Music Therapy. Music has the magical ability to transition your mood almost immediately. What's the cost of electricity to listen to the radio? Zero dollars to mere pennies.
  4. Bubble Therapy. Go outside and blow bubbles. You can buy them at the dollar store. One buck for 16 ounces! The ethereal bubbles float and escape into the sky, elevating your mood at the same time.
  5. Laughter Therapy. Joke. Watch comedy shows. Read a funny book. All are basically zero dollars, and as we all know, laughter is jogging for the soul.
  6. Gratitude Therapy. Have you taken the time lately to count the many incredible things in your life? Remember, there are too-many-to-count blessings that we often forget to acknowledge.
  7. Art & Music Therapy. Combine art therapy and music therapy and you get – tada!  art and music therapy! Let the music lift your spirits and free you up to creatively draw or paint. Still under $5!
  8. Think of Others Therapy. When you realize just how good you have it and spend your energy and thoughts thinking of others, and doing good deeds, your heart opens up and your mind mellows. Ahem – another freebie therapy!
  9. Physical Activity Therapy. Most sports and activities require more than just the physical – they depend on mental acuity, as well. The mental focus and release of endorphins due to physical activity are a win/win. Cost depends on the activity, but it costs $0 to swim, walk or bike.
  10. Focus on the Present Therapy. If you aren't already aware, everything in life is temporary. That means the good moods and the bad. When you focus on the present you have a better chance of being keenly aware of the good. Dwelling on the past or stressing over the future deprives you of your present peace of mind.
Maybe now is the time to take stock of how you feel and how you ultimately want to feel. There are so many ways of calming self and finding solace, using simple and inexpensive methods. 

One last tip – if you want to find a mentor who can assist in helping you feel better, have a look at children playing in the park. Their joy at the little things in life is a lesson in itself.

How will you be celebrating "Positive Power of Humor and Creativity Days" June 5–7?