The Four Agreements of Mental Health


by Carolyn Moriarty, LCPC


In our stressful world, improving mental health is crucial. Don Miguel Ruiz’s “The Four Agreements” offers a simple, powerful guide for a more peaceful and healthy life. Here’s how each agreement can help your well-being.


1. Be Impeccable with Your Word

The first agreement, “Be Impeccable with Your Word,” encourages individuals to use words with integrity, fostering positive self-talk and reducing self-criticism.

Application to Mental Health:

  • Positive Self-Talk: Practice speaking to yourself with kindness and respect. Replace self-criticism with affirmations and encouragement. For instance, instead of saying, “I can’t do anything right,” say, “I’m doing my best, and that’s enough.”


2. Don’t Take Anything Personally

The second agreement, “Don’t Take Anything Personally,” teaches us that what others say and do is a reflection of their own reality, not a direct attack.

Application to Mental Health:

  • Building Resilience: By not taking things personally, you can build emotional resilience and reduce feelings of hurt, anger, or frustration.


3. Don’t Make Assumptions

The third agreement, “Don’t Make Assumptions,” advises against making assumptions about what others think or feel. Assumptions can lead to misunderstandings, conflict, and unnecessary anxiety.

Application to Mental Health:

  • Seek Clarity: Instead of assuming, ask questions and seek clarity in your interactions. This reduces misunderstandings and promotes healthier relationships.
  • Reduce Anxiety: Making assumptions often leads to negative thinking patterns and worry. By avoiding assumptions, individuals can prevent unnecessary anxiety and focus on reality


4. Always Do Your Best

The fourth agreement, “Always Do Your Best,” encourages us to give our best effort in any situation, knowing that our best can change from moment to moment. It promotes a balanced approach to life, fostering long-term mental well-being.

Application to Mental Health:

  • Consistency and Effort: Focus on the effort rather than the outcome. This principle helps in managing expectations and avoiding burnout by acknowledging personal limits.


Coping Strategies

Applying “The Four Agreements” to your mental health journey can help create a foundation for a more peaceful and mentally healthy life. Each day, take a few minutes each day to reflect on how you applied the agreements. This helps in reinforcing them and making them a natural part of your thought process.

Other tools include:

  • Cognitive-Behavioral Therapy (CBT): CBT is a therapeutic approach that focuses on identifying and challenging negative thought patterns about oneself and others in order to help individuals develop a more balanced perspective on rejection.
  • Dialectical Behavior Therapy (DBT) Skills Training: DBT offers skills tailored to address the emotional dysregulation and interpersonal difficulties. Through DBT, individuals can learn assertiveness and effective communication techniques to improve interpersonal relationships and reduce misunderstandings.



Seeking Mental Health Support

Do you need support in developing a healthier relationship with yourself and others? Consider scheduling an appointment with Chicago Counseling Center. Our therapists can provide guidance, support, and strategies tailored to your specific needs. Meet our team to learn more!

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