We recently asked members of the BuzzFeed Community to tell us the best mental health advice they'd ever gotten. Here’s what they said:
Please note that these aren't medical recommendations. Be sure to check with a mental health professional before starting any kind of treatment.
1. Know that it's OK to not be OK right now.
2. Know that you can't change a situation by worrying.
3. Don't always listen to the voice in your head.
4. Use your senses to help you stay in the moment.
My psychologist told me to do a countdown with my five senses when I felt a panic attack coming on; notice five things I see, four things I feel, three things I hear, two things I smell, and one thing I taste. It really helps me to get back to reality and stay present.
—Kaylin Arnold, Facebook
5. Know that you deserve to get help.
6. Don't feel ashamed or weak for needing medication.
7. Don't stop your medication without talking to your doctor.
8. Track data to help you identify patterns in how you're feeling day to day.
9. Don't assume you have to fix everything yourself.
10. Strive for happiness, not for perfection.
11. Or don't even worry about happy right now; just focus on OK.
12. Express gratitude.
13. Remember that no one is judging you as much as you are.
14. Get into journaling.
15. You don't have to set yourself on fire to keep other people warm.
16. Know that mental healthcare isn't one-size-fits-all.
17. Let people help you.
18. And teach them how to do it.
It's OK to ask for help and it is beneficial to tell people exactly how you need them to comfort you (hug me, listen to me, offer advice). In the moment it's easy to worry that their comfort won't mean as much because you've told them what to do, but it is so awesome to be comforted in the way you need and most people are willing to do exactly what you ask for. It also makes them more willing to help you in the future because they know what to do.
—Karen Leu, Facebook
19. Learn to tell when the voice in your head belongs to your depression.
20. Don’t let other people's chaos become your chaos.
I work in the mental health field and my supervisor gave me this advice. I use this at work and in my personal life to give myself permission to let go of drama and other exhausting and non-essential "emergencies" from other people.
21. Write insecurities on your body in marker and then wash them away.
22. Use apps to cope with anxiety.
I suffer from anxiety attacks and my psychologist told me to breathe when I begin to feel overwhelmed, and it sounds simple but it has made a huge difference and lessened the severity of my anxiety attacks. I use the app ReachOut Breathe, and it gives me something to focus on while also talking you through some breathing exercises.
23. Allow yourself to feel your feelings.
24. Just say "no" if you really need to.
25. “Sunshine all the time makes a desert.”
26. Think of yourself as an ant.
27. Comfort yourself the way you would comfort a friend.
28. Celebrate small victories because they add up.
29. Separate the things that are stressing you out and put them in their own compartments.
30. Get through just 10 seconds at a time.
31. And finally, think about taking the drug "fukamol."
Responses have been edited for length and clarity.