Alternatives to Psychological Help
One key factor is realizing the need for assistance and taking the first step. The answer to where help might best be found lies in the issues or concerns that drive the desire to seek help. First and foremost get a clear idea of the needs before searching for a solution. When you break down the concerns that are causing you stress, you might find that you can handle issues and concerns on your own without professional assistance from a psychiatrist, psychologist or a counselor. To do this, you need to establish an environment conducive to clear thinking and rational decision making. There are several factors to consider.
Improve your physical health. It is difficult to have the energy and resources to tackle problem when you physically feel bad. If you are lacking good nutrition or sleep, these contribute to stress and anxiety. Do you get regular physicals? If not, you might see your doctor. Make sure that you are healthy and don't have physical diseases like diabetes or thyroid problems that can affect your mental ability to work. Try to improve your diet to include more fresh foods and less processed foods, to eat on a regular basis, even if small meals. If you find that you don't have the desire to eat, try to drink liquid meals like Ensure or other similar products so that you can fuel your body well, especially if you don't feel well. Make time for more sleep; eight hours is preferable but any increase will help. Also, try to carve out some time for physical exercise. Working out, running or swimming etc will rev up your metabolism, not sap your energy. You might be amazed how much better you feel and how clearly you can think with healthy food in your body, a little more sleep and tapping into the endorphins and "feel good hormones" that are released with exercise.
Clear the clutter. Put yourself into an environment where you can think and make decisions. If you have children, a hectic job or a packed daily schedule, find time to get away by yourself to write notes, think and make plans. You need to be able to give your concerns 100% of your attention, even if for short periods of time. Decrease the stimuli around you. Preferably play some relaxing music and put yourself into a comforting physical environment. You might find that if you improve your physical health and put yourself in the optimum location for working out your problems, you can handle them without professional assistance.
Use your alternative resources. This will be personal preference. Do you find comfort in talking with family members or close friends? Seek them out and ask for them to lend an ear to your concerns. Do you enjoy group meetings to bounce ideas off of others, and hear their often similar concerns? Search the newspaper, internet or ask people local to your area where you can find these groups. If you find comfort in spirituality, most churches offer valuable counseling in times of need. You often find that, when you share your problems with others, they need only to listen, not to be licensed professionals. Sometimes the process of breaking down the issues into words and describing it to someone else is enough to simplify it for yourself and bring some much needed clarity. If you prefer to do more self-directed work on your own, there are many inspirational books about self-help, or you can access articles on the internet and explore different ways to tackle your problems. Don't get discouraged! Never give up. If you talk to a friend, and it didn't seem to help, seek out and attend a group meeting. Sometimes one option works better than another. On word of advice is to preferably choose a source of help, especially in regards to books and articles, that are written by someone trusted and respected in the field and have a resume of success in assisting others.
If you clarify your problems, improve your physical health and environment and tap into your resources, yet still feel anxious or unsettled, what now? Seek professional help. If you have symptoms of anxiety or depression, such as debilitating stress levels, inability to eat, sleep or concentrate that are affecting relationships in your life or jeopardizing your job, you need professional assistance. Take challenges one day at a time, one step at a time and you will feel better and work through your issues. The most important factors are the desire for help, taking that first step and having a positive attitude that you will succeed!