How Social Media is Affecting Your Mental Health

Everybody is on social media. It’s muscle memory — when we need a brain break at work or while standing in line, we pick up our phones and open one of the options. As of 2022, almost 5 billion people worldwide were on social media, with average daily use totaling nearly 2.5 hours.

 There’s a reason these apps are so popular. It is designed to be addictive. Dopamine is released when you use the apps, and you feel good when others like your posts and react to them. It is possible, however, for the connection between social media and mental health to go sour. Here’s what you need to know and how to keep that from happening.

 How does social media affect mental health?

Most people agree that social media has a negative impact on mental health. But why? Let’s dig into how social media affects our perception of the world. Apart from the obvious negativity and bullying that can occur on the internet. 

 Because social media use is still relatively new, we don’t yet have research exploring its long-term effects. However, multiple studies have linked it to multiple mental health issues such as anxiety, depression, and lower self-esteem. 

 It can worsen anxiety and depression symptoms 

The constant use of social media can worsen anxiety and depression symptoms and increase feelings of loneliness. It has been shown that excessive social media use, coupled with emotional dependence on the platforms, can worsen anxiety and depression symptoms.

 However, the problem cuts both ways. Some people use social media to cope with feelings of anxiety or depression, according to researchers. You can get caught up in the vicious cycle of scrolling through social media when you’re bored or anxious without realizing that your actions may make things worse. 

 It can cause feelings of inadequacy 

The emphasis on social media is on interaction, such as likes and comments on photos and videos. It feels great when you post something and get a lot of feedback. As a result, you feel validated for posting in the first place. However, what happens if you don’t get the interaction you’d like with your pictures or videos? If you rely on social media for self-validation, you may feel down when you do not receive the expected recognition. 

 Social media comparison can lead to low self-esteem. In an age when filters smooth the skin or make the water of a beach selfie a deep and alluring blue, it can seem impossible to keep up with what others are sharing online. In addition, unrealistic body image expectations may lead to what experts call “body surveillance,” the monitoring of one’s body to the point where it becomes judgmental, especially among adolescents. 

 It can interrupt your sleep cycle

According to studies, 70% of people reported getting on social media in bed before falling asleep, and 15% spent an hour or more a night on their phones. Checking your feed before you go to sleep is a common nighttime ritual for most people. 

What if we told you that it shouldn’t be? According to the same study, people who check their social media in bed are more likely to suffer from insomnia. The use of social media before bed can delay your bedtime and cause you to sleep less, and the sleep you do get won’t be of good quality. 

 In addition, there is the blue light your phone emits, which interferes with your circadian rhythm. Aside from that, social media stimulates the mind and body. If you want to sleep better, put your phone away.

 Warning signs your online habits are unhealthy

It is possible to become dependent on social media, which can also lead to negative consequences. Consider these warning signs when determining whether social media is affecting your mental health.

  • You leave no time for self-care.
  • You spend more time on social media than you do with friends or family.
  • Your symptoms of depression or anxiety spike. 
  • You often compare yourself to others and feel jealous of what they are posting.
  • You are distracted from school or work.
  • You have trouble falling asleep.
  • You feel like you need to check social media every few hours. 

 Here’s how to protect your mental health from social media

It’s not a bad thing to use social media. And you can use it in a healthy way to enrich your life. Maintain a healthy balance between social media use and mental health by following these tips.

  • Decrease your time on social media: According to studies limiting social media use to 30 minutes can improve your well-being. Be deliberate about how much you log on to social media if you think it negatively impacts your mental health. Set a screen time limit or create a schedule for checking social media. It’s not necessary to quit cold turkey. It is important to be realistic about what you want from social media and what it will take to get there. 
  • Don’t start or end your day with social media: Timing is important. Start or end your day on an enjoyable note instead of a potentially negative one. Researchers have found that those checking Facebook at night were likelier to feel unhappy or depressed. 
  • Use that time for something else: Social media can be useful. However, logging on just to scroll through your downtime can cause problems. Think about why you’re logging on. You can then shift your focus from social media to other activities — like exercising or taking up a new hobby. 
  • Spend time with friends and family: Although social media platforms can be a place of connection, they can also cause loneliness if you’re not getting what you expect. Face-to-face contact and quality time cannot be replaced by social media. Spending time with family and friends can help combat this problem.


Despite its downsides, social media isn’t all bad. It can be a way to connect meaningfully and keep up with others. It can also be an outlet for self-expression and creativity. There can be good things about social media. Make sure you are intentional about how and why you use your platforms. Consider why you are scrolling when you grab your phone and poke that all-too-familiar Instagram camera. Are you putting off activities you should be doing, such as taking a walk or fulfilling obligations? Being mindful of how much and for what reasons you use social media can positively impact your mental health.

Are you struggling with the impact of social media on your mental health? Don’t face it alone. Visit to get professional support and guidance tailored to your needs. Start your journey to a healthier, more balanced life today!


SF Stress & Anxiety Center Free Consultation

10 Tips for Coping With Emotional Exhaustion

Perhaps you feel like you’ve reached your breaking point. Maybe you’re tired, frustrated, and feeling like things will never get better. This degree of burnout can happen to anyone, but those with chronic stress or other mental health conditions may be at a heightened risk. In order to treat your symptoms effectively, you need to be aware and proactive. Let’s talk about the best coping strategies for emotional exhaustion.

What Is Emotional Exhaustion? 

Stress is a normal part of life, but emotional exhaustion is a chronic feeling of exhaustion. It is common for the symptoms to develop over time, and many people don’t realize they are in this state until it becomes unbearable. 

Many factors may contribute to emotional exhaustion. Having a stressful job is a main factor. Overworking, feeling out of control, or working in a particularly demanding position can all lead to stress. Pessimism, perfectionism, and high-achieving personalities can also contribute to burnout.

The symptoms of emotional exhaustion vary for everyone, but here are a few common ones:

  • Feelings of irritation.
  • Depression symptoms (apathy, lack of motivation, persistent sadness).
  • Sleep problems.
  • Appetite changes.
  • Poor concentration and focus.
  • Memory issues.
  • Anxiety and panic attacks.
  • A feeling of failure or hopelessness that persists.
  • A decline in performance at work or school.
  • The failure to meet deadlines and complete basic tasks.
  • Negative, cynical attitude.
  • Physical symptoms (headaches, stomach problems, high blood pressure).
  • An increased desire to engage in substance abuse or other activities that numb the pain.
  • Frequently fantasize about escaping your current situation impulsively.


Emotional exhaustion is one of the most common symptoms of burnout, especially in professional settings. Furthermore, emotional exhaustion can worsen other mental health issues, such as depression and anxiety. 


Tips for Coping With Emotional Exhaustion

If you’re experiencing some of these symptoms, ignoring them won’t help. In fact, certain problems often worsen when nothing is done. One of the best ways to feel better is to take action now.

  1. Identify the Main Triggers

What situations most give rise to your emotional exhaustion? Is there a particular work task you dread? Do you generally get frustrated when spending time with certain people? Do you feel more spent at specific times of the day?

If you aren’t sure exactly what elevates your stress, dedicate a week to track your emotions throughout the day. Use a journal or an app to track your mood. If you feel more stressed, agitated, or depressed than you normally do, note it down. 

As time goes on, you should be able to identify specific trends. Having that insight gives you a starting point for your next steps. Being able to identify triggers before they arise can help you prepare to cope with them even if you cannot change the situation. 


  1. Begin Each Day With a Positive Routine

What is your usual morning routine? If you’re like most people, you reach for your phone and scroll through social media or emails. However, this habit can add to feelings of anxiety and dread. Take the time to examine how you can improve your morning routine.

Consider ways to start each day on a positive note. Perhaps you can take a quick shower, think about your gratitude, and then brew your morning cup of coffee. And, as a general tip, resist the urge to check your phone for as long as possible! 

If you’re not a morning person, consider simple strategies to make the morning more pleasant. It may take some trial and error, but there is no downside to trying! 


  1. Practice More Gratitude 

Identifying what you appreciate often can make you feel more empowered and optimistic. The purpose of gratitude isn’t to invalidate your challenges. Rather, it’s about broadening your perspective and orienting yourself to find opportunities in difficult circumstances.

Every day, spend a few minutes practicing gratitude. This can take less than a minute. Think about writing down three things that went well each day before going to bed. Alternatively, you can commit to “reflecting on gratitude” when you hear a particular song or drive on a particular route. 


  1. Set Healthier Boundaries

Oftentimes, we are compelled to comply with every obligation because of insecurity or people-pleasing. People often experience emotional exhaustion when they overextend themselves. Maintaining some sense of ownership over your life requires boundaries. It is perfectly okay for you to establish limits with other people. 

When you feel emotionally exhausted, consider what you can control right now. Is it possible to talk to your boss about reducing your workload? Could a family member help you with babysitting next weekend? Would it be easier to hire a cleaner instead of cleaning every weekend? The bottom line is that it’s okay to say no and to delegate when needed. By learning to say no, you open yourself up to opportunities that bring you joy and fulfillment. 


  1. Start Making (Smaller) Healthier Lifestyle Choices

Unfortunately, emotional exhaustion makes it difficult to prioritize nutrition, exercise, and sleep. You can, however, improve your emotional well-being by taking care of your physical health.

Commit to making small, manageable changes over time. For example, plan on packing a lunch to work each day this week. Or challenge yourself to walk with your partner every night for thirty minutes. Taking even tiny steps in the right direction can make a significant difference in how you feel. 


  1. Cultivate Positive Relationships

Having positive social support can have a significant effect on how you cope with daily stresses. Spending time with optimistic, compassionate people will likely rub off on you. Of course, the opposite can also be true. Being surrounded by pessimistic colleagues may also make you feel bitter at work.

Invest time and energy in people who make you feel good about yourself. Laughter is also essential! Ideally, good friends support and accept you for who you are, but they can also call you out when you’re “stuck” in an unhealthy mindset. 


  1. Release the Need for Perfectionism 

The pursuit of perfection can trigger and maintain symptoms of emotional exhaustion. Consistently holding yourself to unrealistic standards will harm your mental health.

It takes time to change perfectionistic patterns. Being kinder and more forgiving to yourself is one of the first steps towards self-compassion. It will also be necessary for you to adjust your expectations regarding control and power.

When you let go of perfectionism, you embrace “being human.” By doing so, you are able to learn, make mistakes, and grow and evolve. In addition, having this mindset encourages you to focus on being healthy and happy rather than feeling pressured to “do everything right.” 


  1. Pursue Meaning Wherever You Can

Perhaps you hate your job, but leaving it isn’t an option right now. That’s okay. You can cultivate meaning and fulfillment in your life in many other ways.

Take some time to reflect on your core values. Identify the most sacred and non-negotiable priorities. What would you miss most if it were taken away tomorrow?

Answering these questions can help you identify your personal purpose. The more you cherish your purpose, the more inspired you will feel. Additionally, it reduces the effects of emotional exhaustion. 

If you feel like you have no time, dedicate one week to eliminating distractions. Just for a week, turn off the TV and all excess technology. There are likely to be plenty of “time suckers” that could be used for more productive and enriching activities! 


  1. Reevaluate Toxic Environments 

Some situations may not improve despite your best efforts. Consider the scenario in which you set a boundary with your boss about refusing to do tasks outside of your expertise. However, your boss continues to make these requests, and your HR representative refuses to intervene.

In that case, you have made the best efforts within your realm of control. Nevertheless, if your workplace remains toxic, you may need to seriously reconsider your options. 

Of course, there may not be a simple solution. However, recognizing what is and isn’t in your control can help you recognize if coping with emotional exhaustion requires external changes.


  1. Seek Professional Support

Emotional exhaustion can impact all areas of your life. If left untreated, it may seriously compromise your emotional and physical well-being. 

With that in mind, emotional exhaustion may be an underlying symptom in other mental health issues. Therapy can help you untangle your thoughts and feelings- it also provides a roadmap for restoring a sense of balance in your life.


SF Stress & Anxiety Center Can Help

Emotional exhaustion is a serious issue that can have a profound impact on your overall well-being. But there are steps you can take to cope with this condition and prevent it from taking over your life. By identifying your triggers, setting healthier boundaries, practicing gratitude, and making small lifestyle changes, you can start feeling better and more in control of your life.

If you’re struggling with emotional exhaustion, we’re here to help. At SF Stress & Anxiety Center, we offer a range of therapeutic services to help you manage stress, anxiety, and other mental health conditions. Contact us today to learn more and take the first step towards a healthier, happier you.

SF Stress & Anxiety Center Free Consultation

Get Help When You Need It: Depression Is Not a Moral Failure

Over the past several years, stigma around seeking help for depression, anxiety and other mental health issues has decreased.  And yet.  Partly because of the way depression leads many to self-criticize, many often think that depression is a stain, a black mark against their character, something wrong with them.  

It is time to disentangle depression from this idea of moral failure.  It is time to stop imagining that depression is synonymous with a person’s character.  

If you experience depression, you have symptoms that occur with that experience.  These can include sadness, stress, anxiety, sleep issues, negative self-talk, low motivation, feelings of hopelessness and failure to take pleasure in everyday activities, or anhedonia.  For severe depression, self-harm and suicidal thoughts can also occur.  

These symptoms help clinicians like me understand your experience.  No one chooses to experience depression.  And confusion around where it comes from can lead to self-criticism, self-blame, shame and isolation.  These factors can make depression worse, and shut someone down emotionally, which can exacerbate depression.

Thankfully there are many approaches to help people who experience depression find relief.  


What will people think of me if they know I am depressed?

Many public figures, most recently Senator John Fetterman, have decided to disclose that they are dealing with depression.  According to this article in the New York Times (gift article that doesn’t require subscription), “Social scientists say there is demonstrable evidence that the public is growing more accepting of people with depression.”  Relatedly, more people recognize the usefulness of seeking help when they experience anxiety, depression or other issues.  


What if depression is just who I am? 

When you are experiencing depression, it can feel like your entire experience.  It can eclipse your sense of self, or even come to feel like your identity.  Disentangling your self-concept from depression is one fundamental step in therapy to help recognize depression as mental illness rather than identity.  Therapy helps you distinguish between depression and your identity.


You are not alone

Millions of people experience depression, with onset resulting from a wide range of interrelated factors.  People from all walks of life experience depression and many of them find a fresh approach to their lives through therapy.  While your experience with depression is unique to you, the symptoms are not, and there are many ways to help.  

It takes courage and humility to recognize you need help and then make the call. Therapy is private, confidential, informed and professional, creating a safe place to address and treat your depression 


SF Stress & Anxiety Center Therapists have deep experience treating depression

Cognitive Behavioral Therapy (CBT) and Dialectical Behavioral Therapy (DBT) are among the effective, evidence-based treatments therapists use.  Research shows that therapy helps people diminish the severity and frequency of their symptoms related to depression.  

Getting help to treat your depression is an act of self respect.  It is a decision to take care of yourself, and an assertion that you matter.  For many people with depression, seeking help can be undermined by depression itself.  Making that call can help.  

Ready to take the first step towards feeling better? Click the infographic below to schedule a free consultation with one of our experienced therapists at SF Stress & Anxiety Center. Our evidence-based treatments can help you disentangle depression from your sense of self and live a happier, healthier life. Don’t wait, schedule your consultation today.

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4 Practical Ways to Regulate Your Nervous System

Approximately 30% of modern adults will experience symptoms of anxiety disorders in their lifetime. Not just anxiety. An anxiety disorder. 

Our society has more access to news and information than any previous civilization in history. It’s often our phone that we see first thing in the morning, full of headlines that pump our adrenaline and send our nervous system into a state of panic.

As a result, the constant influx of adrenaline can exhaust our nervous system, making it harder for our bodies to deal with the stress we experience on a daily basis.

Symptoms of an overactive nervous system include:

  • Anxiety
  • Insomnia
  • Panic attacks
  • Feelings of hopelessness
  • Exhaustion
  • Hypertension (high blood pressure)
  • Poor digestion
  • Insulin resistance

Social media prescribes self-care baths, wine, and Netflix as the primary way to de-stress. While these activities may be enjoyable, they are only band aids for deeper problems. Your nervous system requires more than just sitting back and watching TV, it must be reset through targeted healing practices. 

The good news is that these targeted practices can easily be incorporated into your daily routine. Once you begin implementing them, you’ll feel calmer in the face of daily stressors.


Why is Calming the Nervous System Important?

The primary (central) nervous system is located in the brain and spinal cord. This is the command center for sending important messages throughout the body. The primary nervous system allows you to breathe, move, think, and function under pressure.

The peripheral nervous system is connected to the central nervous system by branching out across the body to reach all of our organs and limbs. 

There’s also the famous vagus nerve which runs from the brain down through the neck and abdomen and regulates many parts of the body, including the digestive system.

An overworked nervous system can cause your body to enter a chronic fight-or-flight response. This is when your body thinks it’s in danger — even when it’s not.

For instance, when you see traumatic events on the news, your nervous system thinks that you’re in danger even though you are not. As a result, your adrenals release stress hormones, sending your cells into high alert. Clearly, this is not a recipe for a healthy lifestyle.

Keeping the nervous system calm is crucial for a longer, healthier life. In doing so, you’ll replace your anxiety with feelings of contentment and gratitude. Stress will be less noticeable in your daily life, and you’ll give your body space to focus on healing itself — physically and emotionally.


How to Calm the Nervous System

Healing your nervous system doesn’t always require prescription pills or fancy equipment. (However, you should consult a doctor if you are experiencing symptoms)

Here are some simple and accessible practices and tools you can use to reset your nervous system. 

  1. Deep Breathing Practices

Using deep breathing techniques, you can repair your nervous system naturally. If you’re in a state of panic, box breathing, diaphragmatic breathing, and alternate nostril breathing can help you calm down. Meditation or yoga paired with deep breathing is also a great option, even if you only have 5 or 10 minutes to spare. 

  1. EFT Tapping or Acupuncture

You can’t always escape stressful situations. Some days, it may seem that simply existing at your job — or even at home — can cause your blood pressure to rise. If this is the case, Emotional Freedom Technique (EFT) tapping or acupuncture can restore your body’s natural balance.

Originally developed in ancient Chinese medicine, these techniques are used to balance your body’s energy. They are based on the idea that unblocking energy channels can help you release painful emotions.

You can learn EFT tapping at home or get acupuncture treatment from a local specialist. Nowadays, there is even needle-free laser acupuncture for those who dislike needles. 

  1. Forest Bathing (Aka, Hiking or Walking Outside)

Grounding, fresh air, and gentle exercise. It is well known that these elements possess incredible healing abilities and are capable of controlling the nervous system. Remember the last time you immersed yourself in nature. After a few minutes with your bare feet on the ground, did you feel your stress start to slowly melt away?

In Japan, forest bathing is used as a treatment for a wide variety of ailments. A simple walk in the trees can do your body and mind wonders. You don’t need to walk for a long time or to go anywhere special – just allow yourself to be fully present and relaxed.

  1. Decrease Your Adrenaline Output

Is it possible that watching intense TV shows or listening to true crime podcasts is giving your body a high level of adrenaline? It’s important to remember that your nervous system cannot distinguish between a stressful event on TV and one in real life.

Whenever the body receives large amounts of adrenaline (through a traumatic event or long-term stress), it may begin to crave more adrenaline to get its “high.” This is similar to the adrenaline junkies who climb rocks or seek dangerous activities in order to feel that rush. 

If you find yourself checking off a mental to-do list in the car or in the shower — only to become anxious the moment you face reality, chances are that your body is looking for adrenaline.

Consider temporarily switching out activities that spike your adrenaline for calmer ones. For example, watch all your favorite rom-coms or pick low-intensity workouts next time you’re at the gym. As a result, you will be able to calm your nervous system and help it heal naturally.


Benefits of Maintaining a Calm Nervous System 

These tips and tricks aren’t just for calming panic attacks. A reset of your nervous system opens up all kinds of possibilities, such as: 

  • Improved emotional health
  • Better brain function
  • Longer attention span
  • Better performance at work and at home
  • Decreased risk for disease
  • Improved sleep
  • Normal blood pressure

Check-in with yourself both before and after you try these suggestions. Can you feel your energy softening or calming? Starting small can help you practice regular nervous system regulation, which is helpful in a time that feels particularly overwhelming. In time, your body will begin to relax and regulate naturally, without the need for quick fixes.

If you’re looking for more ways to regulate your nervous system and manage stress in your life, consider seeking professional support from SF Stress & Anxiety Center. Our team of experienced therapists can help you develop personalized strategies to reduce anxiety and improve your overall wellbeing. Don’t let stress control your life any longer, take the first step towards a calmer, more fulfilling future and book an appointment with us today.

SF Stress & Anxiety Center Free Consultation

How to Deal with Anxiety at Work

No matter what job you have, it’s normal to occasionally feel anxiety at work. Taking on a new responsibility, giving a presentation to a group, or facing a looming deadline can all ratchet up the pressure, leaving you feeling nervous about performing to expectations and to the best of your ability. However, the anxiety and stress some people experience at work go well beyond the ordinary jitters you might feel over a temporary professional challenge. When anxiety is excessive and/or persistent, it can become debilitating, interfering not only with your ability to do your job effectively, but also with your overall well-being.

Unfortunately, workplace stress that can contribute to anxiety is an all-too-common phenomenon. According to the Occupational Health and Safety Administration, 83% of U.S. workers suffer from work-related stress, with 54% of workers reporting that their home life is affected by work stress. With work-related stress so prevalent, it can be difficult for people to immediately perceive that the level of anxiety they’re experiencing on the job is not healthy. Anxiety and stress do not have to be an invariable feature of professional life, however—it is possible to learn how to reduce anxiety at work for better mental health both in and away from the office.


What Does Workplace Anxiety Look Like? 

When people struggle to cope with anxiety at work, that difficulty can manifest in myriad ways. You might find your stomach in knots on Sunday night at the prospect of working the next day. Maybe you procrastinate on work-related tasks, paralyzed into inaction by your anxiety. Or perhaps you can’t focus on what you need to do and end up rushing through assignments or missing key details because you’re so overwhelmed. You may also increasingly avoid new projects, meetings, or work events. While at first, you may be able to power through your symptoms to try to stay on top of your responsibilities, over time, your work performance, work quality, and relationships with your colleagues can suffer.

Physical symptoms can also accompany anxiety about work. These may include headaches, gastrointestinal upset, insomnia (that doesn’t have any other obvious causes), tension and/or muscular pain, fatigue, nausea, dizziness, or even full-blown panic attacks. You may miss work more and more often, either coming in late or taking sick days because your anxiety has become so intense.

If any of this sounds familiar, it’s also likely that you’re not even sure when your work anxiety became unbearable. It doesn’t have to stay that way, though.


Tips to Manage Anxiety at Work

There are many strategies for reducing work anxiety, and doing so successfully will require a multi-pronged approach. Here are a few tips on how to manage anxiety at work so you can be happier and more productive at your job.

Pay attention to your overall wellness: While good nutrition, adequate sleep, and regular exercise won’t solve anxiety problems on their own, the lack of them will almost certainly exacerbate the physical and mental symptoms of anxiety. Try to avoid using too much caffeine, alcohol, or other substances as well.

Identify your triggers: Workplace stress and anxiety can spring from a variety of sources: The pressure to meet deadlines. High-stakes presentations for upper management or clients. Conflict with difficult coworkers. Take note of the situations that provoke your anxiety, as this information will help point the way to solutions.

Develop coping techniques: Because it is so easy to get swept up in worry, you should practice coping strategies that will help calm you and keep you grounded in the present moment when you feel anxiety start to build. This might mean meditation techniques, listening to music, breathing exercises, taking a quick walk—what works is highly individual, so experiment to find what works best for you.

Communicate with your employer: Some people may hesitate to tell their employer when they’re struggling with anxiety, and whether you do so is a personal choice. However, the Americans with Disabilities Act (ADA) is designed to protect employees from discrimination due to a physical or mental disability when they are otherwise qualified to do their job, so you should not assume that being honest will have a catastrophic effect on your career. Moreover, speaking up allows your workplace to put reasonable accommodations in place that can help in reducing anxiety or to correct situations that are unintentionally contributing to your stress. For example, if a too-heavy workload or inadequate training is part of the problem, it’s important to let management know so that solutions can be found.

Set healthy boundaries: Some work anxiety can stem from a lack of work-life balance when it feels like you can’t ever escape work responsibilities. Make sure you have clear separations that define your workday, even if you work remotely—this means setting specific hours in which you don’t check your email or work messages and having a defined work space, so you have regular downtime to decompress.

Take advantage of employer-provided resources: If your company offers an employee assistance program, see if it provides benefits that might help you manage your anxiety. Other perks, such as a gym membership, may also help by facilitating useful coping strategies.

Consult a mental health professional: A therapist or counselor can provide valuable expertise and outside perspective on your situation. Often people are inspired to look for a therapist when they’ve already tried to manage anxiety on their own without success, but seeking professional advice doesn’t have to wait until things feel out of control. A mental health professional can help you figure out the cause of your anxiety and make effective changes to reduce it.


Finding Relief from Anxiety at Work

At the SF Stress and Anxiety Center, we help clients suffering from work anxiety develop psychological resilience and find balance with evidence-based practices grounded in research. With both in-person and online therapy sessions available, we make treatment accessible no matter how busy your schedule. To be matched with the right specialist who can help you feel more in control of your career and your life, schedule your free introductory phone call with one of our compassionate Care Coordinators today.


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What Type of Therapy Is Right for Me?

What Type of Therapy Is Right for Me & What Kind of Therapist Do I Need?

Often, the biggest step in seeking out therapy is deciding you need it—acknowledging that your mental health could benefit from talking to a professional can take courage. Once you’ve made that decision, the next question becomes, “What type of therapist do I need?” Therapy is not a one-size-fits-all proposition, so finding both the right kind of therapy and the right therapist to address your individual needs is essential for getting the most out of your experience. Understanding some basics about your options can help you find a therapist appropriate for your situation.


Misconceptions about Therapy

According to the National Center for Health Statistics, the percentage of adults of all ages who received treatment for their mental health increased from 19.2% in 2019 to 21.6% in 2021. This growth may mostly be a sign of the stressful times we’ve all been through in the past few years, but it also shows that seeking therapy is not a rare phenomenon. The truth is, almost everyone will encounter a time in their life when they could benefit from therapy. Some, however, might be discouraged from pursuing it by common misconceptions.

The first misconception is that therapy is only for those with diagnosed (or suspected) mental health conditions. While therapy is beneficial for people who know they’re struggling with anxiety, depression, and other mental health problems, it’s also a powerful tool for dealing with issues that may seem more “ordinary,” such as constantly feeling overwhelmed or stressed out.

Another mistaken view is that going to therapy means you’re weak or unable to solve your own problems. In fact, it takes both strength and wisdom to acknowledge that you could use help and to take action to tackle issues head-on. Finally, therapy is not just talk—it’s a way to help you build self-awareness, cultivate healthier patterns of thought and behavior, and develop coping skills to navigate life’s challenges.


Different Types of Therapy

There are many different types of therapy, and the right one for you depends both on your personality and your reasons for seeking treatment. Again, there’s no one “correct” way to approach therapy, and what might be effective for one person may not work as well for another. Some common types of therapy include:

Cognitive Behavioral Therapy (CBT): CBT is a kind of psychotherapy (talk therapy) based on the idea that patterns of negative thoughts and behaviors are a factor behind psychological conditions, and that learning to change those patterns can help you view and respond to challenging situations more effectively. CBT is structured and goal-oriented, taking place over a limited number of therapy sessions.

Dialectical Behavior Therapy (DBT): DBT is another type of psychotherapy based on the principles of CBT that focuses on how thoughts affect emotions and behaviors. DBT is considered especially effective for those who have trouble managing intense negative emotions. Features of this approach include teaching mindfulness, distress tolerance, interpersonal effectiveness, and emotional regulation.

Psychodynamic Therapy: Psychodynamic therapy is in-depth talk therapy based on the principles of psychoanalysis. This therapy is focused on the “why” behind thoughts and actions, helping patients gain insight into how past experiences shape their current behavior and relationships. With this knowledge, patients can work on changing patterns that no longer serve them.

Mindfulness Based Therapy: This type of therapy uses mindfulness strategies to develop the ability to experience thoughts and emotions without getting caught up in them. This can help break spiraling patterns of negative thoughts that can lead to anxiety or depression and which interfere with the ability to be fully present in the moment. Therapeutic approaches include Acceptance and Commitment Therapy, Mindfulness-Based Cognitive Therapy, and Mindfulness-Based Stress Reduction.

Couples Therapy: Couples therapy is a means for partners to gain a better understanding of their relationship dynamics and work toward interacting and communicating in a healthier way. While couples might go for counseling to address a specific problem or ongoing frustration in their relationship, couples therapy can also be used proactively to preserve healthy bonds when partners are experiencing a period of transition. For instance, counseling before marriage, when becoming parents, or when one partner is going through a significant career change can help keep a relationship strong in the face of increased stress.


How Does Therapy Work?

Therapy is a very individual process, so each person’s experience will vary depending on their treatment goals and circumstances. However, there are some common features you can expect. In your initial appointment, your potential therapist will ask about what brings you to therapy and what you’re hoping to get out of it. They’ll also explain their approach so you can determine if it sounds like the right fit for you. If you have any questions, be sure to ask them. Your therapist will want you to understand how treatment works so you can feel comfortable with the process.

The amount of time you will spend in therapy or the number of sessions you may have will be different depending on the therapeutic approach, your mental health concerns, and other individual factors. Your therapist may also assign “homework”—for example, journaling or exercises to do outside of the office—to support the work you do during your sessions.


How Do I Find a Therapist?

When looking for a therapist, many people rely on word of mouth or the recommendations of friends and family. Sometimes this works, but it may not be successful unless your mental health needs and goals are similar to those of the person making the referral. Online directories of providers can also be difficult to navigate, as they often provide limited information about services and may not give you a good sense of what to expect.  

At the SF Stress and Anxiety Center, we know it can be hard to find a therapist to meet your specific needs. That’s why our process starts with a free question-and-answer call with one of our compassionate Care Coordinators to help match you to one of our more than 40 licensed psychologists and counselors. We offer in-person therapy at our various California locations or online sessions via a secure, HIPAA-compliant platform.

Don’t wait to make a positive change. To find the right therapist to help you meet your mental health goals, schedule your free introductory phone consultation with SF Stress today.

Healthy New Year’s Resolutions for Your Mental Health

The start of a new year is a natural time to take stock of our lives and decide to make positive changes going forward. Often these insights lead us to set New Year’s resolutions around the goals we’d like to achieve: Lose weight. Exercise more. Eat healthier food. Save more money. 

While physical health and finances are typical topics of such resolutions, after the turmoil of the last few years, more people recognize mental health and wellbeing as a priority in the upcoming year. According to a Forbes Health / One Poll survey conducted in November 2022, 45% of respondents cited an improvement in mental health as one of their top New Year’s resolutions.

Just as familiar as setting New Year’s resolutions, however, is the idea that most of those resolutions are doomed to fail. That may make you hesitate to set a goal, but it isn’t entirely accurate. Readiness to change is vital to the success of any resolution, so if you find yourself inspired to do things differently in 2023, you’ve already made a significant step in the right direction. You can also improve your odds by considering how you make your mental health resolutions for the new year. Here are some tips to help set yourself up for success.


How You Set Your Goals Matters

Before you choose what aspect of your mental health you want to focus on, it helps to consider that how you set your resolution up can influence its likelihood of success. First, choose realistic goals. Small, sustainable actions that can be maintained over the long term are more likely to lead to lasting change than trying to make dramatic alterations all at once.

Try to set specific goals with concrete steps. While setting a vague goal can feel more flexible, it can also make it difficult to assess whether you’re making progress or to feel like you’re doing enough. For example, if you want to practice gratitude, your goal could be jotting down one or two things you feel grateful for in a journal at the same time each day. Keeping the action simple and attainable will help you build and maintain positive habits.

Most importantly, you should approach your goals with the knowledge that setbacks will happen. Perfection is not necessary to make progress—to use the example above, if you missed a day (or three) of journaling because work was overwhelming, the answer is to pick up again when you can, not quit.


New Year Mental Health Tips

It’s one thing to know that you want to improve your mental health in the new year, but another to know where to start. Some simple suggestions to try include:

Paying attention to the way you talk to yourself. People can develop a tendency to judge themselves harshly. Listen to the things you tell yourself internally—would you talk to a friend that way? If not, try to replace negative thoughts with more kind, forgiving words.

Limiting screen time. With current news and social media always at our fingertips, it can be hard to limit exposure even when it stresses us out. However, putting your phone and computer away, especially before bedtime, is essential for allowing ourselves to decompress from consuming a steady diet of bad news or comparing ourselves unfairly to other people’s highly curated versions of their lives.

Taking care of your body. Mental and physical health are linked, so making positive changes for your physical wellbeing can help improve your state of mind. This can be as simple as going for a short walk each day, going to bed a half hour earlier to get more sleep, or adding a serving of fruit or vegetables to your diet.  

Reaching out to a mental health professional. If you’re suffering from anxiety and depression, your own efforts to boost your mental health in the past haven’t been successful, or you’re just feeling stuck, the right therapist can be a catalyst for positive change. You don’t have to wait until things feel out of control to benefit from an impartial listener who can give you a new perspective and techniques to promote better mental health.


Individualized, Convenient Therapy

At the San Francisco Stress and Anxiety Center, we know that anxiety and stress impact every facet of your life. We offer accessible therapy in person or online to fit your busy lifestyle. Our evidence-based treatment helps you meet your goals with research-tested, structured, proven interventions. If you’re ready to make your New Year’s resolution for better mental health stick, schedule a free introductory phone consultation with an SF Stress Care Coordinator to get started.