Hi everyone, I wanted to share some ways that ChatGPT has helped me with my mental health, and how it might be able to help you too. Some of these ideas were thought of with the help of ChatGPT itself.
One way I’ve found helpful is journaling. I use ChatGPT as a platform to journal and can either use it once or continuously come back to the same chat whenever I want to journal. With the latter strategy, I can ask it questions about my journal entries. For instance, say I journaled for a week straight, I could ask it “Do you see any consistent themes in my journal entries above?”
ChatGPT can also help with mindfulness and meditation. It can teach you breathing exercises and techniques for mindfulness, and I find it to be an amazing resource to generate custom guided meditation scripts. For example, let’s say you have a favorite location and want to develop a meditation based on it. You could ask “Can you generate a guided meditation that takes about 10 minutes to get through? I would like the setting to be on a farm on a beautiful day with my horses. Please guide me through breathing and muscle relaxation while tying it into the setting and narrative.”
If you wanted to be really wild, you could take that even further and copy/paste its script into something like elevenlabs where they can use voice synthesizer AI to speak it out loud to you, so you can just follow along.
Goal planning and setting is also a way that you could use ChatGPT to help you in your life. This is pretty self-explanatory. The more info you give it, the better it will do.
You can also use ChatGPT to help you with cognitive behavioral techniques. For example, you could ask it to help you identify negative thoughts and cognitive distortions and to provide alternative explanations for the assumptions you are making.
I’ve tried using it as a virtual support group and have had some success with modifications. I had to tell it to include me as a member and ask for my input. So it would generate a scenario with other members of the group that will respond to what I say and share their own issues.
Right now, I don’t think it is going to be replacing real support groups or a therapist, but you can certainly use it to provide different frames for self-examination. The setup of a support group or talking with a supportive family member might help to draw out ideas that you didn’t already have.
I can also see applications for inner child work where you describe yourself now and back as a child then have a conversation with your younger self.
One of ChatGPT’s strengths is in education. So if you are looking to learn more about a given mental health issue, it is a great resource for doing that. If you aren’t already pretty familiar with the information, I would advise cross-referencing for now, but it remains an amazing tool for this purpose.
If you are trying to make a change in your life like applying to school or a job, it can be very helpful for this as well. I have tried this out already by feeding it information about a job description, a person, and then having it act as a hiring manager to do a mock interview.
It can also help you with your resume and write cover letters for you. For example, you can ask it “Please generate a cover letter for the job I described above. I have been out of the workforce for a while, but I am still very familiar with the industry and eager to get back to my passion.”
There are also more advanced ways that ChatGPT can help with mental health. One such way is by coding apps, websites, and extensions that can support specific needs in life. For example, I created a Chrome extension that shows how long I’ve been on a website. This has helped me to be more mindful of my screen time and to set limits for myself.
Another idea is to create a supportive friend or “virtual therapist”. I am currently experimenting with continually refining the approach of the AI to serve as a good mental health support. While this will never replace the benefits of human-to-human interaction, it could certainly supplement them. With the power of machine learning, ChatGPT can analyze your language and generate personalized responses that could help you to feel heard and understood.
Finally, ChatGPT can be used as a platform for imagined exposure. You could hypothetically use it to create an exposure hierarchy and then help you develop scripts for imagined exposure or even prompts to enter into something like MidJourney to develop images to use for exposure work. This could be incredibly helpful for people with anxiety disorders who need to face their fears in a gradual, controlled way.
There are a lot of fears and confusion about AI right now, but the technology is not going anywhere. I believe that there are many ways to leverage it to make your life better. To avoid using AI tools right now would be like refusing to use touchscreens and tablets when they first came out because you prefer computers. At some point, you’ll just be left behind. I hope that this post has helped you see the practical ways that you can use this powerful technology to support your mental health. If you have found any interesting applications of ChatGPT that I didn’t mention here, please let me know in the comments.