The Best Advice My Therapist Never Gave Me

Photographed by Jessica Garcia.
Therapy is great. If you find a good therapist, it can give you an outside, impartial perspective on what you're going through. However, sometimes we get the best and most memorable advice elsewhere: From our friends, family, coworkers, and maybe even Instagram.
As such, in honor of Mental Health Awareness week, we put out a call to hundreds of people and asked them to tell us the best and most memorable pieces of advice they ever received — from people who aren't therapists.
We came back with these 12 nuggets of wisdom.
“After I gave birth to twins, their pediatrician told me to take ten minutes to do things like brush my hair and wash my face — even if the babies were colicky and upset. It made me feel like a human again. It’s amazing that what you neglect physically can affect you mentally." - Ally
“My parents tell me: ‘Go to the doctor. You’re an adult now, and you know your own body and brain. If you need it, go.’” - Caroline
“Ask for help. ALWAYS. Mental health is such a huge struggle when you feel you’re carrying the burden alone. Whenever I’m having anxiety attacks, I have go-to ‘anxiety buddies’ that I’ll either text or call. It’s easier to stop the spiral when someone outside of your situation can calmly tell you that everything is okay. This tip came from a friend who also struggles with anxiety, and now we use it to calm each other down." - Emily  
“‘Breathe in, breathe out, move on.’ I actually got it from a Jimmy Buffett song, but it’s good advice." - Mary Beth 
“‘You can have anything, but you can’t have everything.’ I was like whaaaat when my old boss said that to me. I tend to be a high-achieving person who wants always go for the gold in everything, but it made me realize that you can’t have too many goals or you won’t achieve them all. And you can’t get jealous of other people for their successes, because they’re on a different course," - Molly 
“This random friend I didn’t know very well at the time once told me: ‘What other people think of you is none of your business.’ It blew my mind at the time. Since then, I’ve heard it a lot, but it's still relevant.” - Mirel 
“Hold yourself accountable. Placing blame does nothing but deflect and put you in a worse situation That’s why I write reflections every morning now. I learned this through the practice of Kabbalah." - Tara
"When it comes to working: ‘You can love what you do and still not want to do it for 40 hours a week. It’s okay to not love your job.' My friend told me this when I was very stressed and unhappy, and it was such a realization." - Rebecca 
"Set time aside to practice gratitude. When you take time to realize how truly blessed you are, a lot of trivial stresses of life seem to fade away. A teacher in undergrad gave me that advice, and I use it to this day." - Kishen
“On a day I needed to hear it, [a boss] once told me this. ‘You are a force. Don’t let anyone or anything make you feel differently.. Seriously though.’” - Yun
“I repeat the mantra: ‘Just put one foot in front of the other.” Especially when I need a reminder that I’m getting ahead of myself. Pretty sure I read it on an inspirational poster, but it still calms me down.” - Melanie
"‘When you’re feeling off, add water.’ It could be drinking a cold, icy glass of it, taking a relaxing bath, or listening to ocean sounds on Spotify. But it helps. Yes, I'm a water sign." - Amanda

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