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Mental Health Lessons from Taylor Swift

July 2, 2024

Album cover of Taylor Swift's Reputation albums. There are many lessons we can learn from Taylor Swift about our mental health.

If you are anything like us, you may have spent a good part of 2023 listening to Taylor Swift on repeat. Taylor’s music is more than just catchy and fun. She has the remarkable ability to capture the deep emotions behind breakups, falling in love, trouble with friends and all that goes into navigating your 20s and 30s. Her relatable and authentic songwriting invites us to hear ourselves within the lyrics. 

While it can feel easy to relate to Taylor’s music, it might feel harder to relate to Taylor herself. At first glance, what could we possibly have in common with one of the most popular musicians in the world? Taylor’s incredible and successful career might feel far off from your daily life but so much of her experiences are just as relatable as her music. From people pleasing habits to body image struggles and navigating rejection, Taylor has experienced many of the same struggles as other women in their twenties and thirties

So, turn on your favorite Taylor playlist and get ready to “Shake it Off.” We are diving into some of the most empowering mental health lessons learned from the one and only Taylor Swift. 

Release Yourself from People Pleasing

In her 2020 documentary Miss Americana, Taylor talks about how hard she used to try to be the person she believed everyone wanted her to be. In practice, this translated into constantly reinventing herself to address criticism. However, whether it was her thank you speeches, circle of female friends, dating in her 20s or even disappearing from the public eye, the media always found a way to criticize her. 

Taylor shared how the intense backlash she faced in 2016 caused this people pleasing worldview to fall apart. “When you’re living for the approval of strangers,” Taylor says in the film, “and that is where you derive all of your joy and fulfillment, one bad thing can cause everything to crumble.” This experience allowed Taylor to deconstruct this belief system, speak more authentically and build happiness from within herself. 

It is natural to enjoy external validation—we are pretty sure Taylor enjoyed the packed crowds at the Eras Tour! However, basing your own self-worth on the approval of others can damage your self-esteem. People pleasing can lead to resentment as you end up sacrificing your own happiness for the sake of making others like you. To break free from this pattern, focus on building confidence and validation from within yourself instead of relying on the approval of others. Setting boundaries and learning to say no can help you stand up for what you actually want. 

Tap into the Power of Journaling

Taylor has been journaling since she was 13! Taylor recommended journaling as a way to better understand how you are feeling by writing it down. She shared, “We get so overwhelmed by our emotions because there are so many of them. A lot of the time if you put pen to paper, how you are actually feeling will be what comes out on the page.” 

Getting your thoughts, emotions and experiences down on paper is a great way to break free from overthinking and process how you are feeling. It can also help you develop a better sense of yourself and build your self-esteem. You don’t have to be a lyrical master like Taylor to reap the many benefits of journaling! Try incorporating journaling into your daily routine. Even if it is just a few minutes, the act of making the time to journal is a declaration that you are a priority.

Break Free from Disordered Eating

Taylor has been forthcoming about her struggles with body image and disordered eating. Taylor said that she would sometimes react to seeing hurtful tabloid comments about her body or a photo she didn’t like by engaging in restrictive eating. She shared that her focus on being thin impacted her mental and physical well-being. She even said she would sometimes feel like she was going to pass out in the middle of a performance due to undereating. Taylor has since said that she has worked to release herself from focusing on comments people make about her body and focusing instead on nourishing and loving her body. 

Manhattan women using Taylor Swift's mental health lessons to live their best lives.

Taylor described the body image expectations we put on women and girls as impossible. We couldn’t agree more. As women, it is easy to compare ourselves to the impossible ideals represented on social media or in clothing stores. However, engaging in restrictive eating or overexercising as a response to this pressure is not the solution. Therapy for body image and disordered eating can help you break free from these patterns and love the body you are in. By building a positive self-image, you can begin to nourish your body and treat yourself with the respect you deserve.

Prioritize Self-Care

In her recent interview with TIME magazine, Taylor shared how she prioritizes rest and recovery during touring season. After performing a run of shows, Taylor says she recovers by resting in bed for 24 hours and only getting up to bring back meals. While most of us probably aren’t exerting ourselves by performing back-to-back concerts, we can still take away a valuable lesson in prioritizing caring for ourselves. Self-care is critical to being able to perform in our day-to-day lives and it can be simple. Do you notice yourself overcommitting to plans on a weekend and leaving no time to recover from a stressful workweek? Do you deprioritize sleep in order to meet a work deadline? Begin treating your rest and recovery time as a nonnegotiable element of your life. Try identifying what activities recharge your batteries and incorporate them into your daily routine. Even simple acts like taking a walk around your neighborhood or starting your morning with a few stretches can make an impact on your overall well-being. 

Embrace a Growth Mindset

Taylor shared with TIME that the success of her Eras tour largely grew out of her most painful life experiences. While Taylor acknowledged feeling powerless when her master records were sold and in deep pain after the backlash she faced in 2016, she shared that she chose to deal with it by continuing to move forward in her career. Taylor shared that no matter what happens, good or bad, her focus is on creating. This mindset allowed her to move from setbacks to success by rerecording her songs, embracing new creative control over her work and ultimately reaching a career high.  

Two Brooklyn friends living out Taylor Swift's mental health life lessons.

This kind of growth mindset can be transformative in responding to life’s challenges and obstacles. A growth mindset allows you to acknowledge deep pain but focus on what you can do rather than what you can’t. This can help you learn from your experiences and channel your strengths into building a future you desire. 

There are many lessons learned from Taylor’s incredible career journey. By learning to love your body, taking time for self-care and building confidence from within, you can shift into a growth mindset and build a life you love. Going it alone can be hard, but that is where therapy can help. 

FEEL MORE CONFIDENT WITH THERAPY FOR WOMEN IN BROOKLYN & MANHATTAN, NEW YORK

At Manhattan Wellness, we understand that with all the messages we receive from the world, it can be difficult to maintain a positive narrative about ourselves. From social media, movies, and even people close to us, it can be hard to drown out the negative. So much so that our inner critic takes over and we forget to show ourselves the same compassion as others. That’s why our female therapists want to support you in building the confidence you need to reach your highest potential. Let us help you create an empowering narrative that will benefit all aspects of your life, from personal to professional. If you are interested in beginning counseling for women:

  1. Submit a Contact Form or Email Us at hello@manhattanwellness.org
  2. Learn More About Our Team and Our Areas of Expertise
  3. Begin Seeing Yourself in a Whole New Light!

OTHER THERAPY SERVICES AT MANHATTAN WELLNESS IN MANHATTAN, WESTCHESTER, BROOKLYN & THROUGHOUT NEW YORK

Our therapists understand that building confidence takes time and that other issues can come up along the way. To better support you, we offer a variety of services to cater to your individual needs. The therapy services we offer are Therapy for Self Esteem, Anxiety Treatment, and therapy for dating and relationship issues. As well as therapy for college students, support for maternal mental health, body image therapy, and so much more. Are you feel like you’re not living the life you want and need to make changes? Let’s talk about it.

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