There is no magic bullet for mental well-being.
When people come for counselling they often wonder, “how long is this going to take?” And/or “Are you the one that can truly help me make lasting change?” (Often after a long list of seeking many helpers or approaches.) The answers to these questions are complicated, just like human beings.
The research is clear – there is no one perfect cure to improve mental well-being. In fact, all approaches tend to help about 33 percent of the people; 33 percent stay the same; and the rest might get worse or get better without treatment.
That means medication, various approaches to counselling, lifestyle changes, and whatever else youchoose to do or not do, might not work. Then again, you might get lucky: more than 50% of people get better due to a positive change in their circumstances (your partner apologizes, you get that job, pay that debt, and/or find a new partner).
I promote a multi-pronged approach to changing your life. Counselling can help with addressing the internal obstacles, negative self-talk, faulty belief systems, blocked feelings, identifying unmet needs,heal wounds from the past, and learning better communication, habits, and behaviors in the present. It can provide hope and knowledge, and promote health and well-being through positive actions.
However, you also need to exercise, sleep six or more hours a night, eat healthily, explore your spirituality, spend time in nature, and connect to supportive friends and family. You need to reduce your screen time, watching pornography, smoking, drinking, and drugging if they are getting in the way of your well-being.
It turns out, your physical, spiritual, and social well-being is just as important as your emotional wellbeing in living a good life. Regarding bad habits: it’s very hard to just stop something, you need to replace it with something healthy that helps you meet the unmet need(s) that drove the bad habits. Bad habits have to be replaced with healthy ones. Due to how our brain perceives any change as a threat, it can take up to four months for new habits to become comfortable.
For long-term success, you need to integrate the things you are learning in counselling into your daily life. We can have a great session, with lots of clearing emotions, understanding, and role modeling of changed communication or behaviour but if you don’t test and transfer that learning into your every day, the changes won’t stick.
Believe me, I know it is hard work. Regretfully, we humans learn best from our mistakes, so be prepared to make lots and learn lots. Eventually, it becomes like second nature and flow.
I love working with people, and together we can explore what you need and how to get it. But I am only one part of your wellness plan. I will cheerlead and encourage you as you expand your wellness into all areas of your life. You are the one in charge to bring about lasting change.
You may also find my Stress Buster blog post useful.