We all struggle from time to time, whether it be at work, in our relationships, or in our own compact minds. We get off course, can’t figure out which way’s up, and scramble for something to keep us afloat. Sometimes, however, all we really need is an outside perspective—a simple piece of advice to set us straight. So, I asked psychologists and therapists for just that: one key piece of advice, which they believe everybody can benefit from. The following are their resulting words of wisdom:
“Don’t take your thoughts so seriously.”
I know from personal experience that our thoughts can make us go pretty crazy sometimes—but the thing is, they’re just thoughts. And we really shouldn’t take them so seriously. “This one piece of advice can help every single person across all psychological disorders, as well as just regular everyday life problems,” says clinical psychologist Anna Prudovski, M.A. “Thoughts are not facts. And they are not threats. They are, well, just thoughts. If we learn to take a step back and observe them instead of either engaging with them or fighting them, our lives will immediately improve. And even if your thought is 100% true, ask yourself if engaging with it helps you, or does it bring more problems and misery?”
“It’s not about you.”
Sometimes we can’t help but take our partner’s cold shoulder personally or worry about our friend not calling us back. It is important to realize, however, that it isn’t always about us, according to psychotherapist and owner of Thrive Therapy Amy McManus. “Is your teenager acting as they hate you? It’s not about you. They are confused about who they are, and it’s safe to be angry at you. Is your spouse grumpy when he comes home at night? It’s not about you. Don’t take it personally, be understanding, listen to his concerns, and your relationship will thrive,” she explains.
“Let yourself off the hook.”
It’s true that we are our own worst critics, as we often hold ourselves to unrealistic expectations. But it’s important we know that, “it’s absolutely okay to ask for help,” as explained by Adriane Kruer, clinical psychologist. “Beating yourself up for needing help is just a double whammy—already feeling bad and then being mad at yourself for feeling bad makes things feel worse! Caring for yourself like you would care for a friend or family member can cut down on our self-judgment about having worries or concerns. It’s okay to need help—it’s a totally human experience.”
Enjoy your work.
Most people spend one-third of their day working. Those who enjoy their jobs and find them stimulating and meaningful look forward to going to work every day rather than dreading it. Find a graduate job that will allow you to do the same.
We dedicate a lot of time and energy into being there for our loved ones, but we don’t give ourselves that same necessary attention. It’s time we start showing ourselves some compassion, according to Julianne Schroeder, certified therapist.