The two most common therapeutic techniques recommended to people suffering from any mental illness (AMI) are talk therapy and mindfulness meditation.
Talk therapy or psychotherapy is what mental health professionals use to communicate with their patients to help them manage symptoms related to trauma, negative thoughts or self-limiting beliefs. Using verbal techniques, the professional will help people identify issues that cause emotional stress and step out of despair and into a level of mental stability where they can cope with these symptoms. Depending on the severity of the symptoms, the professional may need multiple therapy sessions to develop a shared understanding of the underlying problem and work with the patient to develop strategies and solutions to help decrease the severity of the symptoms.
Mindfulness meditation on the other hand is a mental training practice that teaches you to slow down racing thoughts, let go of negativity, and calm both your mind and body. It combines meditation with the practice of mindfulness, which can be defined as a mental state that involves being fully focused on “the now” so you can acknowledge and accept your thoughts, feelings, and sensations without judgment. It is especially beneficial for reducing stress, depression and anxiety.
According to Mindful —
Mindfulness is the basic human ability to be fully present, aware of where we are and what we’re doing, and not overly reactive or overwhelmed by what’s going on around us.
However, studies have shown that about one in 12 people who do meditation end up experiencing an unwanted negative effect, usually worsening depression or anxiety or even the onset of these conditions for the first time. 63% of meditators in a group have suffered at least one negative effect.
An alternative to these two techniques is to empower people to solve their mental health problems by creating practical solutions that work in real-life situations.
For example, a person showing symptoms of anger may be struggling to clearly communicate their thoughts to others. They may be bottling up emotions and bursting out abruptly without knowing the reason why. If they can channel their feelings and emotions in a manner that is receptive to others, they can reduce anger and develop and more harmonious relationship with others. A practical solution to their problem is to identify the source of anger and develop a default response mechanism to quickly resolve it. By implementing the solution daily, they can develop effective communication skills.
The basis of this technique is the understanding of how the human mind functions.
According to behavioral psychologists, most mental health problems are rooted in something people have learned in their childhood either through observed repetitive behaviors or exposure to information from an authority figure.
For example, children of separated parents will develop unprocessed feelings and mixed emotions that linger on later in adult life if the parents had described their separation as “we are still one family” than if the parents were honest about the separation. Parents would be better off describing family circumstances as probable truths instead of asking their children to blindly accept family circumstances as absolute truths.
One of the ways of dealing with adult mental health problems caused by childhood memories is developing different perspectives on the circumstances that caused the memories. This is yet another practical solution.
Practical solutions create a conditional lens as opposed to a permanent lens. When people see their life’s circumstances through a conditional lens, they are more likely to draw novel distinctions between perception and reality.
The process of drawing novel distinctions starts from examining the circumstances.
Let’s look at how an adult suffering from anxiety can use practical solutions to easily cope with it. Let’s say that their anxiety stems from:
- Memory of childhood trauma
- Financial strain
- Grievance from loss of loved one
- Marital discord
Through simple self-examination, they can gain a deeper understanding of the underlying triggers causing the anxiety. They can implement practical solutions to cope with the triggers in real-life situations.
For example, if the trigger happens to be memory of childhood trauma, they can draw out the exact root cause of the trigger by asking questions such as:
- Have I felt rejected growing up?
- Have I felt the absence of a loving person?
- Have I been physically or sexually abused?
- Have I grown up seeing parents fight constantly?
Once the root cause is known, they can create an action plan to cope with the root cause and reduce symptoms of anxiety.
Similarly, other mental health problems such as depression, low confidence, low self-esteem, etc. can be managed through a deeper understanding of the triggers that cause them and by implementing practical solutions to deal with the triggers in everyday life.
This is the practice of Mind Tigers. Enabling people to increase their psychological resilience and self-reliance through awareness and examination of the triggers that cause mental health problems, and by implementing practical solutions that provide immediate relief when they need it.