wellness

"It's okay to feel bad sometimes." 25 people on the best lessons they've learnt in therapy.

I was in the midst of an anxiety spiral when my psychologist shared a deceptively simple piece of advice.

I had spent weeks trying to make a decision between two options. Both had their pros and cons and I was convinced going down either path would drastically change my future. More so, I thought there was a right and wrong choice, and I was stuck trying to figure out which one was which.

It was then that my psychologist told me it really didn’t matter which path I took, I just needed to make a decision.

She said that in most situations where a decision is causing you a lot of anxiety, the best thing you can do is commit to one option, and know that you made your choice with the best information you had at the time. You can change your mind later, but the act of making that decision will alleviate so much anxiety.

That piece of advice, however simple, was enough to make me re-evaluate my decision for the better.

Libby Trickett shares the advice she’d give to her five-year-old self. Post continues below.

Video by Mamamia

If you’re going through a challenging period, a counsellor or psychologist can be invaluable.

Author and podcaster, Caroline Moss asked Twitter users for the best lesson they learnt at therapy, and thousands of people responded to her call out.

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While these soul-soothing words of wisdom aren’t a substitute for an actual session with a trained mental health practitioner, they might just give you a new perspective on something you’re working through.

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We also asked the Mamamia community for their best words of wisdom, which they learnt from their psychologist or counsellors. Here’s what they said.

Emily

“I always had an idea in my head of how my life would turn out and the way it was ‘supposed’ to be. I thought I would move to London etc. Then something happened so that I couldn’t move to London, so I was feeling lost. The therapist said, rather bluntly, ‘you could’ve gone to London and got hit by a bus’. It might sound silly and not profound at all, but to me (21 at the time) it was the first time I realised my life could not be planned and I needed to let go of who I thought I should be to make way for who I would become through all these experiences that I hadn’t accounted for. Six years later I visited London and thought ‘meh, it’s really grey and miserable here. I wouldn’t have liked it.'”

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Ella

“Everyone is always too busy looking/thinking about or judging themselves to be looking at/thinking about/judging you.”

Jess

“In most situations where a decision is causing you a lot of anxiety, the best thing you can do is to commit to one option, and know that you made that choice with the best information you had at the time. You can always change your mind later, and the act of making that decision will alleviate so much anxiety – something I can confirm as a chronic over-thinker.”

Millie

“Anything can be a trigger; music, food, places, smells, people, names. Recognise your triggers and create a plan on how you’ll cope when these trigger attacks occur.”

Kim

“I’ve had a lot of therapy around sexual abuse and feelings of shame and self loathing, and the best thing a therapist ever did was have me tell her what I’d say to a seven-year-old girl who was having the same feelings, or going through something similar. What I’d say to that precious young girl was SO different to the way I spoke to myself. She said I needed to speak to my 28-year-old self the same way I’d speak to my seven-year-old self – that self compassion knows no age.

Lily

“Nothing is really in your control, so stop worrying about the future or the past and try to focus on the current moment – because right now in this current second everything is as it’s supposed to be.”

Elise

“You are not your feelings. You feel them, but you aren’t them.”

Eva

“My therapist taught me about the concept of stale narratives, like telling myself the same old story and believing it to be the truth despite how much I’d improved and grown. It was honestly life-changing.

“I’m super maternal and for some reason, it really clicked for me.”

Rikki

“Stop striving for perfection when what you achieve is enough. You don’t have to always get 100 per cent to be adequate.”

Hannah

“When I was going to therapy for IVF, my counsellor told me: ‘Give yourself permission to skip baby showers. They’re not helping you and I promise no one will notice.’ She was right. I started making polite excuses and skipping them, helped SO much. It’s the number one piece of advice I share with others going through infertility. You have to give yourself a break and stop doing hard things just because you’re invited.”

If you think you may be experiencing depression or another mental health problem, please contact your general practitioner. If you’re based in Australia, please contact Lifeline 13 11 14 for support or beyondblue 1300 22 4636.

What was the best piece of advice you learnt in therapy? Tell us in a comment below.

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