In celebration of Mental Health Awareness Week, we asked Positive News readers for the best advice they’ve received about caring for their mental health. This is what you said


Once again, the Positive News community has proven to be a source of wisdom. Last week, we asked readers to share the best advice they’ve received about caring for their mental health, and the responses poured in.

Thanks to those who felt compelled to share. As always, it was encouraging to read the responses and it was hard to boil them down. We apologize for those whose advice we did not publish.


Below are some of the best responses we’ve received. We hope they prove useful long after Mental Health Awareness Week.

write it down

Journaling has been a game changer for me. It’s a way to download and process my thoughts, to give perspective, and help stop the negative thoughts spinning. It means I turn to those things that matter to me instead of sitting as ideas that occasionally pop up and it reduces the overwhelming. Laura, Surrey, UK


Practice awe

Take a closer look at the little things in this world that we take for granted. Reach the ground level and see the beauty and diversity of insects and plants that it is absorbing completely. Photographing these has been a lifesaver for me. Gilly, Nottingham, UK

Get out into nature. It doesn’t matter how long, any amount will help. Early morning hours are best, find a nice spot, close your eyes and listen to the birds while taking a deep breath of fresh air. It helps me ground myself and appreciate that I am alive on this beautiful earth. Ryab, Canada

mental health

Spending time in nature can reduce stress, as well as improve physical well-being. Image: Juliane Liebermann

Notice your thoughts

We are taught to think in school, but we are not taught how to observe what we think. Being able to observe thoughts allows you to decide which ones to engage with and which ones to let drift. This has changed my mental health enormously. Hadrian, UK

The brain will offer you thoughts that you have had repeatedly, but you can change them from negative to something more useful. For example, I can’t do it because I’m stupid, I can’t do it yet, but I’m learning. It makes a huge difference. Cecilia, Oxford, England


It’s a cliche, but there’s a reason it’s a cliche! Be verbal about what’s going on inside, don’t bottle it up. Everyone needs to belong and be seen. You, Sweden

Love and connect to your support network. Don’t let the stigma of mental illness isolate you. Maureen, Nova Scotia, Canada

Be an unconditional loving parent to yourself

Practice gratitude

When I have a shaky day, I list all the things I’m thankful for in my head. I also have my three graces every night before bed. After a bad day it could be as simple as a roll of toilet paper (a bad day indeed!). Change my mindset and it works every time! Jen, Scotland

Accept the now

I know you are in pain but this too will pass, it may pass like a kidney stone but it will pass. Shelley, Manchester, UK

Be an unconditional loving parent to yourself. Accept that humans are perfectly imperfect. Right here, right now. There is nothing else. John, Galway, Ireland

mental health awareness week

An act of kindness can make you feel better too, suggested Kali, from Canada.

Engage your creativity

Do something. I’m a songwriter and writing songs has kept me (just) on the safe side of sanity my whole life. If music isn’t your thing, draw, doodle, bake, or build something. The simple act of creation soothes the soul and gives a sense of purpose. Leanie, Surrey, UK

Dance. And she dances some more. And then even more. Anything that brings you joy. Kim, California, USA

Cut wood, prune shrubs, take care of your plants; that is, do something practical that engages your whole body and mind. Joni, San Diego, USA

Set boundaries

Dealing with other people can be stressful, especially when you’re feeling down. The best thing I’ve learned is that you can’t control someone else’s reactions, only your own. Interpretation occurs in the listener’s terms, so be nice and polite, but whether someone takes things the wrong way is not up to you. Suzanne, UK

I have been working with my mental health and that of others for over 50 years. This is my single most helpful tip: know and understand your boundaries what is good for you and what is absolutely not. Accept that others won’t always know, or care, about your boundaries, so know your exit strategies from an untenable situation as well. Daphne, Yorkshire, UK

mental health awareness week

Moving your body can boost your mental well-being, even if it’s just dancing around your room. Image: Laura Fuhrman

Slow down

Take some time each day to be mindful. I lay on the floor and visualize my body from hair to toes. It centers my thoughts and prevents me from making shopping lists! Julia, New Zealand

Break. Whatever situation you find yourself in, unless it is life threatening, stop, reflect, respond. Everything will be calmer if you just… take a break. Charlie, Stratford-upon-Avon, UK

Forget the phone

Don’t pick up your phone and scroll first thing in the morning when you wake up, it’s an anxiety-inducing start to the day. Instead, practice. I find that even a seven minute science workout (google it!), combined with short daily walks, has a significant positive impact. Lara, Guildford, UK

Rejoice for who you really are

Let it go

I thought being concerned meant it wouldn’t bother me so much when a bad thing happened. But worrying doesn’t help you cope with the bad stuff. It’s okay to anticipate a problem and do what you can to prevent it, but then you have to let it go. Worrying won’t make it any more acceptable if it happens, you’ll just have been miserable before and after. Linda, New York, USA

be gentle

Stop being your bully. Your relentless self-criticism hurts you and also affects others around you who care about you. Easier said than done, but still the best advice I’ve been given. Mark, Ohio, USA

Do something kind for someone else, acts of kindness are reciprocal because you will feel better too. Kali, Prince Edward Island, Canada

mental health awareness week

Spending time outdoors instead of on our screens has a positive impact on our health. Image: Elizeu Dias

Feel it

The most important thing I’ve learned after years of therapy is to allow yourself to be with all of your feelings. Intense fear, shame, sadness, anxiety, anger don’t try to make them go away, don’t ignore them, just let them be there. This will transform you. Jeanne, MA, USA

Be your own cheerleader

Make a list I am. I read it in front of the mirror every morning. The list is made up of positive statements only, including things I want for myself but may not yet be true, like: I’m an amazing educator who helps children develop to their full potential. It has helped me develop a vision for myself and has truly changed my life! Marie, Delaware, USA

The opposite of courage isn’t cowardice, it’s conformism. So, rejoice in who you truly are and joyfully offer your one-of-a-kind self to the world. Morgan, California, United States

Main image: AzmanL

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