We get it—therapy doesn’t always sound like the most fun way to spend your time. If you’ve never gone to therapy before, it might seem scary or uncomfortable. If you have seen a therapist, but you had a bad experience, that can be even worse! Even if you normally enjoy therapy, there might be some days when you’re just not feeling it.
It’s okay to not want to go to therapy. Fortunately, there are some things you can do to improve your experience—and lots of other ways to improve your mental health outside of therapy.
Helping yourself outside of therapy
Therapy is a great way to improve your mental health—but it isn’t the only way. Try some of these:
- Keep a journal. Writing down how you feel can help you make sense of what’s going on. It’s a little like giving therapy to yourself! Write when you feel bad and when you feel good. The next time you feel hopeless, you can look back on your journal and remember the good times.
- Track your moods. If keeping a journal seems like too much, start small. Once a day, just write down how you feel. It’ll get you in the habit of paying attention to your feelings, and you might start to see some patterns.
- Get up and move around. Exercise is a great natural way to boost your mood. You can run, hike, join a sports team, or just go for a walk—do something you’ll enjoy.
- Eat something. Your mood and your appetite are connected. If you haven’t been eating, getting something in your stomach can really help. If you’ve only been eating junk food, try grabbing a piece of fruit instead.
- Take a break. Take a nap, watch your favorite TV show, or read a book. Being stressed out and overworked can do a number on your mental health.
- Talk to someone. A friend, a family member… anyone you trust. If you can’t think of anyone, try a warmline or look for an online community.
- Try the self-help resources on this site. Our list of DIY resources includes apps and worksheets you can try on your own—no therapist required.
Improving your therapy experience
Whether you’re thinking of going to therapy for the first time or giving it another chance, there are a few things you can do to improve your experience.
Remember that every therapist is different. Even a really good therapist might not be a good fit for you. If you’ve had a bad experience with a therapist in the past, try to find someone with a different style. Read online reviews or ask a friend or family member.
You might also be in a different place emotionally than you were the last time your saw a therapist. If it’s been a while since your last experience, maybe you just weren’t ready for it—and maybe you are now.
When you do go to therapy, tell your therapist why you don’t want to be there. You won’t be the first person they’ve worked with who feels that way. Therapists are generally willing to meet you where you’re at.
If traditional therapy is just too inconvenient, you can also try to find someone who can meet with you online.