Recently, I encountered a conversation in an online forum. A poster asked what changes people made in their lives that significantly improved their mental health. Here are their top confessions.
1. Cut Down on Social Media
Social media like Facebook, Instagram, and TikTok can be fun in moderation. “Too often people will go mind numb watching videos or arguing with strangers on their difference of opinions,” one user explains. As well as wasting time, a person can become obsessed with making posts to impress others, some of whom are strangers.
Another user agrees, “Facebook just stinks, and Instagram can stink for certain people with certain insecurities. I wish I’d learned how to use social media more selectively earlier. Instead, I spent ten years being pulled in different directions by my desire to appease people.”
2. Pursue Your Personal Interests
Investing in your interest helps keep you active and meet like-minded friends. Someone suggests, “Join a writing workshop, take a language class, learn how to throw a pot, or tap dance.”
Activities are good for you; when you enjoy them, they will keep your mind happy. Another agrees, “It also makes you way more interesting when you meet other new people.”
3. Exercise More
When you exercise, your body releases hormones, including endorphins and serotonin. These can naturally help improve mood, cognition, and concentration, making it an excellent remedy for depression and anxiety. Someone comments, “Resistance training or Cardio, either way, if you go hard enough, you’ll notice the general frequency of anxiousness melts away.”
Another user added, “Staying active was important for improving my mental health. People don’t appreciate how much negative energy can be reduced with exercise. It won’t eliminate it, but it will help.”
4. Switch to Tea
Many people wake to a cup of coffee. While some of us may need caffeine in the morning, some have found green tea a healthier alternative. Switching to tea has some people feeling just as alert but less anxious throughout the day.
“I switched to tea a couple of weeks ago after a bad panic attack, and I’ve been feeling awesome since.” One contributor states, “I think I’m off having coffee daily. It just messes up my gut and aggravates my anxiety.”
5. Listen to Podcast or Audio Books to Motivate
Going to work can feel like such a chore for some. Something that is not fun but necessary. One user tells how they make work more enjoyable, so they are excited to go.
“There’s a podcast that I only get to listen to at work, which makes me look forward to returning to work to get to the next episode.”
6. Try Something New
When you’re stuck in a rut, trying new things may help. You may even learn a new hobby or activity to enjoy more often. One person advises, “Small things that you do for maybe 15 minutes to an hour, like doodling with a pencil and paper, writing a short poem or a brief journal entry, baking some cookies, or going for a walk around your neighborhood and taking photos of whatever catches your eye.”
Another adds, “A change in routine, doing something new, even if small, physically affects our brains and bodies and can be emotionally rewarding.”
7. Learn to Say No
“It sounds silly, but a huge leap for me was just getting comfortable saying no and not feeling the need to excuse or explain.” explains one user, “Role-playing with a friend can help get past the awkwardness.” Saying no, especially to people you care about, can be difficult for many.
Another user says, “In some situations, I think that saying no shows that I have enough respect for someone that I can assume I can be honest with them.”
8. Quit a Toxic Job
It’s not always the easiest, but a career change is sometimes needed. One user comments, “I feel great; the stress release was incredible. I’m at a better one where I got praised for an idea this week.”
No one wants to stress knowing they must go to work the next day feeling unnoticed and unappreciated. Another user states, “I had to force myself out of bed and into work every day for the last two years. I thought that was normal until I quit that job.”
9. Get a Good Night’s Sleep
We can forget how vital a good night’s sleep is. We frequently lead busy lives that can result in losing an hour or so. But making a habit of losing sleep can be very unforgiving to our mental health. Problems like anxiety, depression, and insomnia can drag you down.
One user answers, “I had about a month of bliss where I could work my own hours. I could sleep around three am and wake up at around 10. My anxiety dropped significantly; I didn’t have to rely on caffeine to give me bursts of energy, and my mood and outlook improved tremendously.”
10. Disconnect From the News
Overindulging in news sources also affects our mental health. Keeping up on current events is one thing, but reading reply comments of anger, pointless arguments, and toxic hatred puts a person in a destructive mindset and sets the mood for the day.
“They say ignorance is bliss,” says one user, “I think they’re onto something. I’ve more time to focus on myself, the people in my life, my cat, my hobbies, etc., and I can do that all in a better mood and headspace.”
11. Recognize the Little Achievements
The minor achievements matter. Fold your laundry as soon as the dryer stops, do the dishes right after dinner, or scrub down that stain you’ve meant to clean. And celebrate yourself for those small achievements rather than criticize for what you did not do that day.
One user agrees, “I make my bed every morning. Even if I achieved nothing else that day, I achieved that. However, it mostly meant I had one tiny thing to build another on top of. Over time it all adds up, and by the end of a horrible day, it wasn’t so bad. But the end of the week, not so bad at all.”
12. Drop the Negative People in Your Life
When you realize you’re in a toxic relationship, end it. One user writes, “Growing up When my best friend would criticize everything about me. My hair, my clothes, my interests, the girls I liked. He thought he was helping me, but it was pretty toxic.”
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