How to use astrology to improve your mental health
Self-care isn’t one set thing; it takes different forms for different people, from face masks to meditation to carefully curated charcuterie boards. At itscore, it’s about finding a sense of peace and balance within yourself, despite your external circumstances. And while it may sound surprising, practicing astrology can be a real form of self-care.
For those less familiar, the general idea behind astrology is that 12 zodiac signs, governed by the planets, move through the universe each year and determine our actions, thoughts, and behaviors. According to a 2017 Pew Research poll, 30% of Americans said they believed in astrology, a majority of them being millennials. This fairly recent fascination, coinciding with the growing popularity of the self-care movement, suggests that astrology can offer us ways to understand and take care of ourselves. For example, you can find a comfort in your horoscope and feel that the future is somewhat predictable. You can also use your birth chart—aka where the stars and planets were in the sky when you were born—to figure out your strengths and weaknesses, which can promote self-confidence and self-improvement.
Despite the current obsession with the stars, though, astrology as self-care is actually not a new concept. “For thousands of years, humans have looked to the skies for information that might make life on earth feel more predictable,” says Dr. Carla Manly, licensed clinical psychologist and author of Joy from Fear: Create the Life of Your Dreams by Making Fear Your Friend. “Astrology allows its followers to find a sense of safety and security—core human needs—based upon the movements of the planets.”
So what aspects of astrology constitute self-care, and how can we use it to feel better about ourselves and our environments? Let’s break it down.
Astrology can help you better understand yourself and others
If your self-care routine typically includes learning more about yourself and pursuing self-improvement, astrology can help you on that journey more than you might realize. According to Adina Mahalli, certified mental health consultant and spiritual coach for Maple Holistics, the recent popularity of personality tests and astrology shows that many of us are trying to gain deeper insight into our traits. And while we all have some blindspots with our own personalities, astrology can offer a succinct definition of our characteristics that we can look at objectively.
“By better understanding your strengths and weaknesses, you’re able to grow as a person and understand those around you better, too,” Mahalli tells HelloGiggles. “To this end, astrology, and sun signs in particular, are becoming a valid route to further understand different personality types.”
Taurus, for example, is said to be pretty stubborn. If this rings true for you, becoming more cognizant of that trait can help you find ways to be more amenable in situations. And just as it can help you understand yourself, astrology can also help you understand how you might best connect with others. For example, you can gain insight into another person’s characteristics based on their zodiac sign, and you can use this information to figure out how to most productively handle conflict or intimacy in your relationships. When dating, for instance, you can determine how compatible you are with someone based on whether or not your signs match up.
Of course, not everyone aligns with their zodiac sign’s traits, and astrology in general should be taken with a grain of salt. Even more, just like your sign’s traits might not ring fully true for you, judging people based on the traits of their signs isn’t always accurate or fair. Use astrology as a loose guide when it comes to gaining insights into yourself and those around you.
Astrology can become a spiritual practice and connect you with the universe
For some people, self-care might be a spiritual experience. If you do not subscribe to a religion, astrology can be a more free-form philosophy that occupies that place in your life. Mahalli says that like many religions, astrology believes in the higher power of the universe, but “the difference for many between astrology and religion is the inclusivity of astrology, allowing everyone to understand themselves and each other on a deeper level without discrimination.”
Unlike certain religions or religious sects, astrology does not hold any prejudices against specific races, ethnicities, gender identities, or sexualities. Because it views all humans as interconnected with the universe and planetary movements, there is no categorization of people beyond what planets appear in their birth chart.
Astrology, in many ways, can also be therapeutic for those who believe in spirituality. “Although astrology isn’t fully accepted in the psychology world, there is a lot of crossover in terms of finding meaning and purpose in your daily life, in order to be your best self,” Mahalli says. Haley Neidich, licensed clinical social worker and psychotherapist, tells HelloGiggles that many of her clientsuse astrology spiritually. “What I’ve learned from these clients is that astrology is a helpful way for them to slow down and tune in to a force bigger than them,” she says. “I do believe that having a higher power of your own understanding is important for self-care and self-improvement. For many, they find that guidance in astrology.”
Dr. Manly adds that astrology can offer a middle ground between traditional religion and the secular world in which we live. “As many people have moved away from organized religion to unique religious and spiritual pursuits, ethereal realms such as astrology have found renewed popularity,” she explains. “In addition, when many people are becoming jaded with the secular world, it can be very comforting to feel a connection to a power that is not earth-bound.”
Integrating astrology into your spiritual practice can be as simple as doing daily meditations suited to your zodiac sign or as elaborate as performing a full, ritualized practice incorporating readings, crystals, or Tarot. Since there are no hard and fast rules, it’s up to you what you prefer.
Astrology can offer order and control amid chaos
To put it mildly, there’s not much control or security to be had right now. Many astrology fans have been constantly refreshing co-star, the popular app that gives daily insights based on your birth chart, hoping for something positive to cling to in all the madness. In this regard, one of astrology’s greatest self-care elements is its ability to offer answers when there are none.
“Those who use astrology as a form of self-care tend to find a sense of comfort in knowing that their future is somewhat predictable,” Dr. Manly says. “The comfort that astrology provides to its followers is based on the sense of reassurance that comes with believing that astrology affords a sense of structure in our often-disorderly, unsettling world.”
Astrologer Lisa Stardust echoes this, noting that astrology’s predetermination can offer us a sense of control when we might have felt powerless and help guide our choices. “Knowing what will happen in the future and understanding our past reactions gives us the ability to make conscious decisions in how to act moving forward,” Stardust tells HelloGiggles. “It allows us to re-evaluate our responses and to be cautious and conscious of how we express ourselves, and how we deal with situations and others in the future.”
Feeling like the universe has a plan for you can feel calming, even if you don’t fully believe in astrology. “I do not subscribe to the notion that astrology is fact,” says Neidich. “However, the ideas presented in astrology can help people to feel a greater sense of comfort in exploring potential outcomes in their life.”
How you can use astrology as a form of self-care
If you want to bring astrology into your self-care routine, you can check your horoscope regularly, consult with an astrologer, learn more about your birth chart, or start reading predictions yourself. According to Stardust, you can even use insights from your zodiac sign to find out which specific self-care tactics, like meditation or exercise, appeal most to you. “The planets hold the key to implementing self-care in the sense that they’ll help us know what we like,” she explains. For example, if you’re a Cancer, you might find that a cozy night in reading a book alines perfectly with your homebody nature. Alternatively, Sagittariuses may feel most at peace when they’re traveling and discovering different cultures.
Similarly, Mahalli notes that learning more about your personality through astrology can clue you into how to take care of yourself. “Part of self-care is also showing up for yourself and your needs, but that can be hard to do when you find it difficult to pinpoint exactly what it is that you need,” she says. “Astrology and horoscopes can help people to narrow down their options and come to a clearer understanding of what they might be ‘needing’ on any given day, in terms of self-care.”
If you check co-star one day and read that external factors like work and relationships are overwhelming you, for instance, you might try decompressing by turning your phone off and taking a relaxing bath. Regardless of how much you believe in astrology or subscribe to its teachings, there are many great ways you use it to enrich your overall wellbeing.