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20 inspiring strategies shared by people that can help boost mental health

Sometimes listening and learning about other people's struggles acts as an alchemy to find solace in your own.

20 inspiring strategies shared by people that can help boost mental health
CoverImage Source: Happy man dancing in the living room at home. (Getty Images/ Maskot)

We all have our moments. As the world lurches from one crisis to another, it can be hard to get through every day. A global pandemic, unstable financial conditions, natural catastrophes and several other issues plague us on a daily basis. Then, there come personal traumas and issues that we deal with. When the source of disruption in your life is of a certain magnitude, it takes a physical and mental toll on you. It can leave you with a sense of helplessness and despair. It is one of the reasons why it's essential to express your emotions. You seek out support and empathy from people when life seems not worth living, which gives you a glimmer of hope. Being the hope in times of such unprecedented struggles is truly a blessing.

Sometimes listening and learning about other people's struggles acts as an alchemy to find solace in your own. You resonate with them and it helps you understand the severity of your problems, reinforcing the idea that you are not alone. Recently, a Reddit user u/NikonDexter posed an important question: "During a very dark period, what was the best thing you ever did for your mental health?" The inspiring stories shared in the comments were strategies people adopted to have healthier mentalities and lifestyles. However, it is important to note that this is not a one-size-fits-all situation. What works for someone else may not work for you, so only pick out what you believe is best for you.  

A couple of friends embracing each other outside a burger restaurant. (Getty Images / Hinterhaus Productions)
A couple of friends embracing each other outside a burger restaurant. (Getty Images / Hinterhaus Productions)


1. Take a break

 I quit my job. My boss was on vacation at home, and I stopped by to let him know I was leaving work in a week. I took a free week between the next job, and took a few days to drive to Big Bend for camping and hiking alone. It was the best feeling, just feeling free. I met some people on the trail who asked what I did, and I responded with: 'Nothing! I just quit my job!'- u/twilightmoons

2. There is healing in love

When I was at my lowest point at around 16 years old, my mom took me to a local shelter to adopt a cat. I was medicated and in therapy, but nothing seemed to help. I picked the cat who was hiding in the corner by herself, clearly miserable, and we went on to have 13 beautiful years together. Caring for something made me want to care for myself, too — it was the best gift I've ever received.- u/soggy__bottom

3. Concern yourself with important things

I deleted all of my social media. I graduated high school right as COVID began — most of my friends left to go to college (which is 'normal'), but my college was entirely online. So, I didn't physically go to college to make new friends. I was taking very hard computer science and math classes as well, and ended up failing them. Then, I deleted almost all of my social media (I hadn't discovered Reddit at the time), and I basked in the glory of not concerning myself with others. It's really hard to explain how beneficial this is, and it's not something you'd thoroughly understand unless you've experienced something like it. - u/Damurph01

4. Be with someone who understands and cares for your mental health

I Marie Kondo'd the people in my life. I realized I'd been putting a lot of effort into maintaining relationships that were not bringing me joy. I'd been grasping at straws trying to save my marriage, sobbing over a best friend who was pulling away but refused to let me pull away in return, and stuck in several relationships that were once amazing and ideal, but were now major stressors in my life. Loyalty has always been a big deal in my life, and I was feeling guilty at the thought of abandoning relationships that had been so good to me. It was so hard, and so exhausting, but now that I'm nearly in the other side, I've been SIGNIFICANTLY healthier mentally and quite a bit happier. I still mourn the loss of those relationships, but in exchange, I've gained peace of mind.- u/renjenbee

5. Happy hooman day

Sobriety, trying new inexpensive hobbies, keeping my space clean and organized, reaching out to friends making concrete plans to hang out and sticking to said plans, walking my dog more.
Speaking of my dog, if I'm having a bad day, I try to make her day extra special. Car ride, walks in new environments, taking her somewhere to swim, lunch of people food but dog friendly, then end the day with a nice warm bath. My mood usually instantly improves as soon as we get into the car and only gets better as we go through her special day. Win/win.- u/AcanthisittaLost9508

6. Step out of your comfort zone

"After there were a few deaths in my family and I got a divorce, I was in a rough place. I started doing the 'Year of Yes,' and it was the best decision ever. I put it out there that if anyone had something they wanted to do but didn't want to do it alone, I was their guy! If I didn't have something else going on or a REALLY good reason not to, I had to say yes. Try a new restaurant? I'm in! Go see a weird show? Let's do it! Go hiking at a new spot? Why not!"- u/TheRoadDog87

7. Take a leap of faith

I consider myself lucky. I was in a very dark place pre-COVID in terms of my mental health and school. I had depression, low self-esteem, suicidal thoughts, and drug and alcohol abuse. But, because of COVID, I dropped out to pursue what I REALLY wanted. I was also forced to meditate on my personal problems given the lack of social stimuli. Life will always have its issues regardless of where you're at, but climbing up the mountain of happiness sure does make living worth it.- u/Ok-Condition-7985

8. Sweat out all your thoughts

I regularly started exercising. The gym became my safe place where I could turn off my destructive thoughts for a bit — making exercising a habit greatly boosted my sense of self-worth. - u/ReadMyNameAgain

9. Vitamin D-stress

After spending weeks in my dark room, I decided to drive around and ended up at a park — I sat on a bench and was just there. I scrolled through my phone, then closed my eyes and let the sun warm my face. Now, whenever I'm getting gloomy, I go outside and soak up the sun like a neglected house plant for 10-15 minutes. It boosts my mood and lets me think about what my next action will be once I'm done. - u/LairdV

10. Forgive them for yourself 

If you’re going through it because of trauma or abuse, you need to stop blaming yourself. It’s not your fault. And this bit is controversial, so take it as you will. I experienced grooming and sexual abuse at the hands of my mom’s boyfriend when I was a young teenager. It resulted in me having to escape the situation because my mom didn’t believe me and after I told on him he was pissed and was physically threatening me. It completely changed the trajectory of my life and I spent a lot of years being hurt, depressed, angry, upset, all of it. Even considered ending my life before I escaped. It too, years but one day I just realized that me holding onto this resentment and anger is only hurting ME. My abuser went on his merry way with no repercussions and my mental health suffering hurts him in no way. I had to learn to just let it go for my own sake. This doesn’t mean it’s okay what he and my mom did, but I am consciously deciding to release it. I have since been able to forgive my mom and come to a better understanding of her mindset. We were all being abused by him. It’s a weight off of my shoulders. - u/les_catacombes

11. Make a doable routine

My husband died of an overdose 2 years ago. I couldn’t work for a year. Everyday was worse than the one before. Once I finally got a new job and started working again I slowly but surely became myself again. So I wholeheartedly believe that getting into a routine is the most important aspect of mental health. - u/Odd_Seaworthiness923

12. Do what makes you feel happy

Spent a small amount of money on a decent (very) used camera and got off my ass and went and took some photos. It motivated me to go out more and to focus on something I love. At this point I hadn't taken anything remotely decent in maybe 6 years and the creativity really calmed me. My camera is almost always with me now and I've taken some good photos (in my eyes at least).- u/MatniMinis

13. Beauty in-and-out

Lost weight, got into shape and acquired a sport as a true hobby. That hobby gets me out three nights a week to work out hard, I found some friends there and it leads to some small outdoor trips a couple of times a year.
Gives me Something to look forward to short term, keeps me in check so I don't waste away in front of the computer and being physically fit also just greatly increases quality of life. - u/Wyand337

14. A getaway

You have to reset. When you get back Journaling can be therapeutic. It helped me ease back to reality after a life changing traumatic situation. I think because its such a horrific experience you don't have anybody to relate to you, so you can't talk about it. But you can write it down. u/madlass_4rm_madtown

15. Make the effort to understand yourself

Quarantine was my golden time. i realize i'm one of the lucky ones but here's what happened. i was struggling so much mentally at first then made some changes. i cut stress by staying in my room, not talking to anyone including family. no news, no work/school, almost no social media. slept early, woke up early. cleaned everyday. i stretched a lot and even worked out sometimes. listened to music. spent hours looking at clouds. bowel movements were like clockwork. discovered 2 hobbies: sewing and audiobooks. easily the best time of my life.- u/Fit_Panic_1502

16. Definitely worth it

Took my three best friends for a weekend away. Luxury hotel, spa (even though we were males) six course meals, whiskey menu, fine cigars, activities and entertainment. I had the money to spare after a divorce but it felt so good to bond together, 16 years later it's still spoken about.- u/Androm57


17. Be kind to yourself

Stopped shaming myself for having a hard time. Easier said than done, for sure, but it turns out that guilt and shame is a terrible motivator. Instead, try to focus on caring for yourself. Instead of saying, “Wow. I’m such a failure because I haven’t brushed my teeth since Friday.” Say, “I deserve to have clean teeth. I’m going to give myself the gift of clean teeth and enjoy that feeling.” Also, whatever it takes to make those tasks easier is totally allowed. If it is easier to take a shower if you are sitting, sit. If you have an easier time brushing your teeth while sitting on the couch watching a movie, do that. If doing all the dishes is just way too overwhelming, just do the bowl and spoon you need to warm up some soup for dinner. - u/kivawi8171

18. Not everything works out and it is okay

So... I'm currently working on this. I've always been fueled by self hate. But I've made a lot of good progress recently, and so now I'm more impressed with myself. For me it's more of forgiving myself, going "Ah well. You tried. Find out another path." instead of spiralling into self hate. -u/ShogoShin

19. Keep yourself busy with creativity 

Motorcycle emptiness. It's a lot like zen buddhism. You're so busy with riding, that you can only think about the now, and let go all worry about the future and the past.
It can also be experienced driving a car or doing other activities. You enter the zone and cease to be. You just do. - u/nonrandomusername17

20. Find  a hobby that you love

I started volunteering at a horse rescue. I was in a bad place after a rough deployment. I've always loved horses, and it really helped. I joined some equine therapy programs, too. Now I've made a career out of photographing horses and do my best to get other veterans linked with equine therapy programs.- u/anareii

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