Alternative Methods of Therapy

 When you hear the word "therapy" or "treatment", you may not have the best feeling about it. It took me forever to willingly go to therapy, and even then, it was after a bunch of people recommended it to me after a trauma. It doesn't work for everyone though, that sit down and talk type of therapy. Luckily mine did for me, also because my therapist implemented things into my recovery process like EMDR and exposure therapy. I personally use art as a type of therapy for myself. It's something I, in fact, want to get a degree for and start doing for others. Like art therapy, there is wake therapy, light therapy, meditation, music therapy, dance therapy, hypnotherapy and more. As times are changing and more people are opening up about their struggles in life, it seems like more ways of recovering are popping up too. The more we learn about marijuana, the more we realize it can treat a lot of things like eating disorders, anxiety, seizures, etc. People are no longer looking at it as some hard drug. We shouldn't judge something for face value anymore, especially when different things work for different people. So when it's shown with statistics that men prefer something other than sitting down and talking or taking medication, we should listen to that and try to find other ways to help them heal.

  When looking at one form of action based therapy that wasn't really around a few years ago- you can turn to Rage Rooms. I first remember hearing about these places popping up over in California for people to go in, blast music and break stuff. Although there are multiple forms of exercise out there, smashing things and having no consequence probably feels pretty great. Exercising is one big form of recovery that I find common in a lot of men struggle with mental health. Running for even thirty minutes, doing yoga, lifting weights, changing their diet too to really help themselves grow and improve physically. You're able to get your endorphins going and your blood pumping. Yoga helps you learn breathing techniques that you can implement in your day to day coping skill practices too. Doing even moderate exercise from three to five times a week can help you improve your mental health. With something like meditation, it can actually change the way your brain works. The brain is more susceptible to positive emotions, like with exercise it changes the brains chemistry levels. These changes can take place in as few as those two weeks. Taking action, getting up and active, it shows a big improvement in multiple ways. Include friends on your hikes or gym trips, make it a fun competition with your friends, and I can promise you that you'll enjoy it even if you aren't a big fan of activity. The sun on your face, the fresh air, a great conversation with your friend while you hike muddy trails- it can at least change your day for the better.

  Including that dietary change and Vitamin C- eating more non-processed foods, veggies, fruits, and fewer grains. Those are all recommended dietary changes a person can make to better their gut health, which will translate over to brain health. If you're lacking in any departments, adding in nutritional supplements to balance out your body chemistry works well too. One big reason for Seasonal Affective Disorder is that you lose sunlight during the colder seasons, which means you lack vitamin C. Vitamins, herbs, enzymes, and oils are all things that you can add into your life to better it as well. When I'm not at a therapy appointment, throwing pillows at my walls, taking an angry stomp around my city- I'm diffusing lavender oil. Like I stated earlier, the brain is more susceptible to positive emotions so when I'm diffusing it in my bedroom or placing drops on my wrists, I'm instantly taken back to when my grandmother would rub my hands with lavender hand cream before putting me to bed. Positive memories triggered by oil, plus lavender itself is a calming scent. It's a perfect recipe for a quick fix of the mind.

  With wake therapy, it's a great treatment for those with severe depression. Sleep deprivation has a known antidepressant effect with the onset of action within hours. Some studies showed people with severe chronic depression would become more lively and awake around seventeen hours of being awake. Deterioration on the following nights' sleep is common though. This is where light therapy steps in. Wake therapy used with light therapy combined daily with sleep time stabilization as a preventive measure is what is shown to work well with depression. Actually, people in the wake therapy group had an immediate, stable, and statistically significantly better antidepressant effect than patients in the exercise group. I can personally say that light therapy is a huge improvement during the colder darker months. The idea of Sleep Deprivation sounds inviting with a few friends, but it's not a treatment to depression that I have yet tried.

  EMDR (Eye Movement Desensitization and Reprocessing) is something I have tried though. EMDR is a psychotherapy treatment originally designed to alleviate the distress associated with traumatic memories. This involves light talking but mainly focuses on stimulating your eyes with swinging pendulums or your therapist moving their finger back and forth. By engaging the five senses, it is supposed to alter the way your brain then processes and stores trauma. Making all that is painful, less. In 2014, a study of this relatively newer therapy shows that is is more effective than regular cognitive behavioral therapy. Accompanied by the EMDR that my therapist tried with me, she told me about certain music with specific beats per minute that can actually calm you down.

 Dance Therapy is probably Shonda Rhimes' favorite form of therapy considering her book even tells you how to dance it out. Along with dance therapy, there is play therapy for children, horticulture therapy for people who love plants like me, Gestalt therapy for those who are good- or want to- yell/talk to a chair while imaging someone else in it. Any healthy therapy or coping skill is a giant plus for people who can't quite get themselves to sit down in a therapist office and talk. Or if you aren't someone who wants to take medication, you can check out these types of therapy for yourself as well. Not seeking help for something that you aren't alone in struggling with, and that can just overall hurt you isn't healthy for yourself. Repressing painful memories stress out your psyches and can also potentially cause neurosis or physical illnesses- something I can attest to. Ulcers, stress hives/scars, hypertension, sexual dysfunction, asthma and more. Finding coping skills like breathing techniques, self-help books, taking a walk, doing something that makes you happy are all just a few healthy ones. Having a good support system is also important when it comes to lessening that feeling of isolation. Finding people who share similar experiences and can emphasize with what you have been or are going through can help significantly. There are a lot more alternative ways to care for yourself when you're feeling those icky feelings that everyone experiences now and then. Whether they are persistent, sporadic, deafening, mild, severe, or just downright irritating to you- it is treatable. It may take a while for you to find the right thing or things that work for you, but researching and trying new things is the best way to go about it. 

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