Getting Practical #1: The Basics

Self-Therapy For People Who ENJOY Learning About Themselves

Therapists are often accused of not being very practical. After we explain how some problem works, we frequently hear: "OK, Fine. But what should I DO About it?!" Therapists don't give a lot of practical advice because it usually doesn't work. People seldom change just by doing what someone thinks they "should" do. But sometimes an idea comes at just the right time. My hope is that today just happens to be your "right time." HOW TO USE THIS PAGE These suggestions in "Getting Practical #1" are so central that improvement in any one of these will automatically improve all other psychological aspects of your life! Don't try to improve in all of these areas once! Pick a few statements that "feel right" to you and notice your improvement each day for a while. Then come back and decide whether to keep these same goals or pick some new ones.


  • Avoid physical pain and discomfort. Take excellent care of yourself at the first sign of discomfort.

  • Eat, sleep, and exercise enough to feel relief - not too much and not too little.

  • Get plenty of attention even though it means taking risks and sometimes being rejected

  • Notice your own mental "self-talk." Improve it constantly as a lifelong project.

  • Don't let life's "rough spots" accumulate. Get professional help when you need it.

  • Do whatever it takes to be 100% sure that suicide is out of the question.

  • Be physically safe at all times. Get all violence and threats of violence out of your life.

  • Don't work or play or rest "too much." Aim at spending about the same number of awake hours on each of these.

  • Never use alcohol for any reason except to feel a little better when you are already feeling great.

  • Don't try to hide your feelings from yourself! Embrace your anger, sadness, scare, joy and excitement.

  • When you are SAD, feel it through - and figure out what you LOST or what is MISSING from your life.

  • When you are ANGRY, feel it through - and figure out what is BLOCKING you from getting what you want.

  • When you are SCARED - notice it quickly and then decide what to do to PROTECT yourself.

  • When you are HAPPY - feel it through - and, if you must think at all, figure out how to ENJOY YOURSELF EVEN MORE.

  • When you are EXCITED - feel it through - and DON'T HURRY PAST IT!

  • Fight all guilt and shame, alone or with a therapist.

  • They are always unnecessary and counterproductive.

  • Take responsibility for choosing what you do.

  • Don't claim a person or a feeling "made" you do anything...

  • Take responsibility for changing and for not changing.

  • Remember that you can change anything it is physically possible to change.

  • Learn and improve the kind of treatment you "invite" from those around you.

  • 95% of the time you are treated the way you invite people to treat you.

  • Acknowledge your anger or be depressed - and take responsibility for the choice.

  • Use your anger energy as soon as you safely can. Don't let it pile up.

  • Don't vow to stay angry.

  • And don't stay in situations which create constant, overlapping anger in you.

  • Don't make unnecessary comparisons.

  • Each comparison you make should be a conscious choice based on the need to understand,

  • not based on a subconscious habit of finding your "faults" or picking on yourself.

  • Look for opportunities all the time, and take advantage of them.

  • There is plenty of what you need in the world.

  • Make a lifelong commitment to love and value yourself.

next: Getting Practical #2: Relationships, Couples, Families, and Careers

APA Reference
Staff, H. (2008, October 29). Getting Practical #1: The Basics, HealthyPlace. Retrieved on 2024, June 24 from

Last Updated: March 29, 2016

Medically reviewed by Harry Croft, MD

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