Sometimes when something is troubling us we look for a quick fix. In the mental health world, we see this often. We know, for example that someone with anxiety benefits from significant lifestyle changes and ongoing treatments. But what often happens is they seek out potential treatments that they think will work better or faster:
- They may drink alcohol to numb the pain.
- They may try over-the-counter herbal remedies with no scientific backing.
- They may use some unusual technique that a social media influencer told them works.
Often, they go through a long list of different ideas that, in theory, will help reduce the anxiety quickly. Years later – long after they would have benefitted from therapy – they finally seek professional help.
What Are You Avoiding?
The idea of looking for a quick fix isn’t limited to mental health. A person may feel lonely in life and, instead of seeking out long term companionship, revert back to an old flame or have a one night stand. Or it may be someone that feels unfulfilled, and instead of engaging in an ongoing hobby that is likely to provide long term fulfillment, they instead distract themselves on their phone, hoping the feeling goes away.
What we often ask those that are looking for quick fixes is “what are you avoiding?” Many times, what happens is the reason for seeking out the quick fix is because people want to avoid something that they would face with a long term commitment. Those avoiding the work to get a serious relationship may be trying to avoid getting hurt. Someone that skips the hobby may be trying to avoid failing.
With mental health, a person typically looks for quick fixes because they’re trying to avoid the vulnerability that comes with talking to a therapist, or the challenge that they may face if they have to truly focus on their mental health. Therapy does require commitment, time, and above all else openness, and for many people that can be a scary thought.
Therapy is Productive Time
The problem that so many people face is that these quick fixes frequently do not work, and that means that all that time that you spend trying “quick fixes” ends up taking longer and potentially doing more harm than engaging in the long term solution or goal in the first place.
So whether it’s therapy, a hobby, a relationship, or something else, try to challenge yourself to explore why you’re looking for a quick fix, whether there is something you’re avoiding, and how to get yourself to commit to the treatment or solution that will better your life.