There’s no doubt that America is facing a mental health crisis. People are depressed, anxious, and overwhelmed at striking rates.
Research shows that over 50 million adults face some type of mental health problem, and over half don’t receive any treatment.
Much of the lack of treatment relates to the exceedingly high cost of healthcare. People don’t get treatment because they can’t afford it.
The dismal state of our mental health system was on my mind while scrolling through my favorite sub on Reddit, R/Askreddit. There, I found a great question asking users to share things that significantly improved their mental health.
Some responses may help you feel better along your journey, but remember, there’s no substitute for a real doctor if you can afford it.
Get in Shape
Exercising releases endorphins, which give you an instant mood boost. One user said getting into shape helped them feel better about their mental health.
Another was up in the air about it. “The mental benefits are great and setting a PR can make my day, but I would say I have more hang-ups about my body now than I did before working out,” they admitted.
One Redditor commented that practicing mindfulness has improved their mental health and helped them avoid embarrassing situations.
“If I’m with coworkers and I feel a strong urge to say something embarrassing or inappropriate, I’ll mentally ask myself, “Is that worth mentioning right now? Is it appropriate?” and the answer is usually no. It helped me a lot because I used to be a story topper,” They said.
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Identify Your Triggers
Some users manage their anxiety by identifying and avoiding their triggers.
Knowing what sets you off allows you to avoid those things. However, it also helps you understand that you’re having an anxiety episode and that nothing is wrong. Knowing what sets you off is the first step toward learning to face it.
“Cutting toxic people out of my life. Including family.” said one Redditor.
Sometimes, our family members are the most significant source of our problems. It’s okay to remove toxic people from your life. You don’t have to engage with folks just because they are family.
Some folks resist seeking therapy due to the stigma rather than the cost. However, it’s one of the best ways to cope with mental health issues, much to the surprise of some users.
“Therapy, who knew,” joked one user, adding, “IT isn’t easy, but it makes things easier.”
Appreciate Life’s Simple Pleasures
We’re always so occupied with what comes next that we often forget to pause and enjoy the current moment. Time passes by so quickly; we’ll miss things if we don’t consciously stop to enjoy them.
“Taking time to appreciate the simple things in life and focusing on the present moment instead of worrying about the future has had a huge positive impact on my mental health,” responded one user.
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One Redditor said they hadn’t had a drink in over a year, and it’s done wonders for their mental health. Alcoholism runs rampant in society, and drinking is advertised as the way to have fun.
It doesn’t have to be, though. There are plenty of ways to have fun without alcohol. Check out CBT therapy and the R/stopdrinking Reddit sub if you need help quitting.
Get a Pet
Some dogs are specifically trained to help people with mental health, but any pet can improve your life. Furry friends offer us unconditional love and support. They enhance your life in so many immeasurable ways.
Studies show that petting a dog or cat can help reduce stress.
Abandon Social Media
Social media is a cesspool of despair. People share crazy conspiracy theories, the highlight reels of their lives, or tremendously photoshopped images of unrealistic body standards. It’s no wonder social media use leads to reduced mental health outcomes!
Many users agreed that ditching social media boosted their mental health. “I feel like I’m normal again,” said one user, describing how they felt after abandoning social media.
Working from Home
Working from home drastically improved workers’ lives. “Life without commute, micro-management, stupid co-workers, and getting sick every 3 months is on another level, and I just can’t go back,” said one user.
“Crazy how my mental health has deteriorated ever since returning to the office full time,” replied another, showcasing that the “return to the office” promoted by industry is not beneficial to employees.
Though it wasn’t mentioned in the thread, journaling is a terrific tool for improving your mental health and wellness. Journaling can help you gain new perspective on your problems, sort out your feelings, work through complicated emotions, and remember how much you’ve grown.
Journaling is also a fantastic tool for productivity. Bullet journal spreads can help you organize your schedule, remember essential tasks, and make plans for accomplishing your goals.
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You Can Improve Your Mental Health
These Redditors offered tons of advice that real people can use to positively impact your mental health. Of course, seeking help is always the best option, but when the price makes professional therapy out of reach, the other options can offer short-term relief.
What do you have to lose in trying some of these ideas?
Melanie launched Partners in Fire in 2017 to document her quest for financial independence with a mix of finance, fun, and solving the world’s problems. She’s self educated in personal finance and passionate about fighting systematic problems that prevent others from achieving their own financial goals. She also loves travel, anthropology, gaming and her cats.