Therapy is a powerful option for achieving and maintaining mental health. Most people think of talk therapy as helping people with severe mental health issues and disorders, but it’s also beneficial for many more. Despite  outdated beliefs and stigmas, the reality is that nearly all of us could benefit from therapy.

Therapy can be proactively used to strengthen our mental health and ward off potential issues. It can make us kinder, better people. It can make us stronger and better equipped to handle stressful and upsetting situations, whether those situations are happening right now or in the future. Often, the time to go to therapy is now, even if you don’t realize that you need it. Here are just a few reasons why you should consider it.

You feel anxious

Anxiety is a serious and common mental health issue, but it’s not one that is always well understood. Doesn’t everyone feel anxious? Well, yes and no. When we talk about anxiety in a clinical mental health sense, we’re talking about a condition meeting certain diagnostic thresholds, including distressingly high symptoms and disruptive impacts to one’s life. An anxiety disorder will disrupt your life in ways that “typical” anxiety will not.

But it’s also true that the line can be blurry between anxiety as a mental health issue and the sort of anxiety that people “without anxiety” sometimes feel. That’s okay — it’s just a good reminder of the spectrum of mental health, and how useful therapy can be for all sorts of people, even those without formally diagnosable mental health issues. If you ever wish that you felt less anxious, or wish that you had better strategies for coping with the feelings of anxiety that you have, then you can benefit from therapy. You don’t have to have a diagnosis or serious condition to be able to learn how to handle anxiety more effectively.

Someone you love has a mental health issue

Our own mental health isn’t the only thing that affects our well-being and lives. The ways in which others feel and behave can have a big impact too. When a loved one suffers from anxiety or depression, it can be important for us to work with a therapist on our own, because this can help us more fully understand the situation and how we can and should react to it. Importantly, we need to allow ourselves the space to explore our own feelings regarding our loved one’s condition.

If you’re in a relationship with someone who is in therapy, it can be very helpful to go to therapy with them. Couples therapy can help all kinds of relationships, including those in which one, both, or neither partner suffers from a mental health issue.

You’re part of the LGBTQ+ community (or wonder if you might be)

Our society has come a long way in terms of acceptance, appreciation,  and celebration of people in the LGBTQ+ community. However, it would be ignorant to suggest that there aren’t still struggles involved in coming out and living as a member of the LGBTQ+ community. Even the most well-adjusted members of the community have had to go through difficult times and make important, sometimes heart-wrenching, decisions. Many members of the LGBTQ+ community have had to deal with family members and friends who refuse to accept the reality of who they are..

LGBT therapy is a powerful option for members of the community at all stages in their personal journey. Therapy can help closeted members of the community to come to terms with their feelings, gender expression, and sexual orientation. For others, therapy might be a way of looking back and understanding a complex and confusing time that is now, to a large extent, in the past. Therapy can help with anxieties about political and cultural acceptance. It can help with personal and familial problems, relationships troubles, career struggles, self-esteem difficulties, and so much more.

Therapy is for everybody

The bottom line is this: talk therapy and other forms of mental health care are not just for “other” people or for those with a formally diagnosed mental health condition. Therapy is a powerful tool for improving our mental health and sense of well-being. And, just as with physical health, it’s important for us to keep making ourselves better. Health is more than the absence of illness, and therapy is a way to proactively improve your mental health, behavior, and state of mind.

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