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People Are Sharing The Life-Changing Habits That Massively Improved Their Mental Health, And You'll Want To Take Notes

Recently, redditor u/sexy_maier asked, "What massively improved your mental health?" People revealed the lifestyle changes and advice that have made a huge difference in their mental health, and their responses are eye-opening. Here's some of what they had to say:

Note: This article is not intended to replace seeing a medical professional. Mental health problems are specific to each individual person.

1."Sleep. It's the foundation for a lot of things. Almost everything."

u/ClosetCentrist

"1) Sleep. 2) No alcohol, which allowed for better sleep, among other things. 3) Cutting down on the caffeine, which again allowed for better sleep, among other things."

u/florida-karma

A man sleeping in bed
Pipat Wongsawang / Getty Images

2."Learning to say no, let go, and stop sweating the small stuff. Also, knowing that if somebody has a problem with me, it's THEIR problem."

u/Prestigious_Target86

Two women smiling and hugging
Maskot / Getty Images

3."I quit teaching high school. Got divorced. So much less stress, I finally quit smoking."

u/JamesPSimpson

A woman sitting at a table and wearing a ring
Sefa Ozel / Getty Images/iStockphoto

4."Knowing it's okay to leave some people behind."

u/cutiecutiegro

"And knowing it's okay to be left behind."

u/LeanCompiler

A man walking alone on a beach
Gabriel Mello / Getty Images

5."It sucks at how well exercise works. I used to hate my mom telling me that it would reduce my depression, but she was absolutely right. The issue is that when you’re really depressed, it’s the last thing you feel like doing. But nothing else has as much of a positive effect on my mental state as regular exercise."

u/exoticconstable

A man using weights during pushups in a gym
Peopleimages / Getty Images

6."Cardio for at least 30 minutes, preferably in sunlight or at least outdoors, five or more times a week."

u/ClosetCentrist

Women running on the grass
The Good Brigade / Getty Images

7."Having a nontoxic job. I got bullied for as long as I can remember at school, home, and work. My current job is the best paying and least stressful thing I've ever experienced. I've been able to de-stress for the first time; I don't worry about work on my days off, and I'm even becoming able to stand up for myself instead of locking up."

"No amount of self-care worked until I actually got to experience this."

u/Zephyr_Dragon49

A woman looking thoughtful in front of a computer
10'000 Hours / Getty Images

8."Getting out of an abusive relationship."

u/Salt_Cranberry_115

A man sitting and looking thoughtful opposite someone else
Izusek / Getty Images

9."Practicing gratitude deliberately. I began thinking of three distinct things I was thankful for every night before falling asleep. I didn't even write them down — just took five seconds to reflect on three things (but no generic 'friends, family, food,' etc., repeated answers). Simply doing this every night for several months completely changed my mood."

"I suffer from mental illness; in combination with treatment, practicing gratitude is scientifically well established as a mood booster, and I was shocked by what a huge difference it made."

u/MrPBsErica

A woman on her stomach, looking at a laptop, and taking notes in bed
Igor Alecsander / Getty Images

10."Ditching my old friends who didn't take me seriously after a tragedy. I am no longer going to try to be relatable and kind. If you treat me terribly, you're out of my life."

u/CitrusLovingCats

A man and woman sitting away from each other and looking alienated
Martin-dm / Getty Images

11."I would say going for regular walks has improved my mental health a ton."

u/Yoshaay

A smiling man walking by himself
Adam Crowley / Getty Images/Tetra images RF

12."Understanding that it's perfectly NORMAL to have bad days. You're not different from others. We all have bad days every week. Do not let social media or others around fool you. Nobody is living the best day of their life every day, and you have to have bad days to truly enjoy the great ones."

u/eggsaladrightnow

A woman looking sad looking out a window
Gawrav / Getty Images

13."Having pets. My pets have helped me more times than I can count! I've been blessed to have a pet with me through most joys and sorrows!!! ❤️"

u/SophiesChoice_55

"I got a cat. He sits with me. I'll rant and say all kinds of stuff to him, and he just sits there — like, 'Go ahead and get that off your chest, man.' Life gets lonely, especially if you don't have family, a partner, or kids. It makes life a little easier."

u/hotbrunettegirll

A man sitting in front of a laptop and petting his cat
Westend61 / Getty Images

14."Swapping social media and instant streaming music for vinyl records. It slows me down mentally and gives me the peace of mind to actually listen and forget life outside for a little. Strangely therapeutic."

u/OutwardsAwkward

A person rifling through stacks of LPs in a store
Kelly Bowden / Getty Images

15."I removed myself from all social media and quit caring about other people's opinions of me."

u/GreenArrow40

Four young people sitting on steps and looking at their phones
Daniel De La Hoz / Getty Images

16."I quit alcohol, quit destructive relationships (friends, family, partner), got help, took medication regularly, exercised every day, and journaled every day. Life changed significantly!"

u/Spottedrhyno

A backpacker sitting on a rock
Lordhenrivoton / Getty Images

And finally...

17."Finding something to look forward to. It helped to pull me out of depression."

u/PaigeLParker

A woman painting
Guido Mieth / Getty Images

What are some other things that have massively helped to improve your mental health? Let us know in the comments below.

Note: Some responses have been edited for length and/or clarity.

The National Alliance on Mental Illness helpline is 1-888-950-6264 (NAMI) and provides information and referral services; GoodTherapy.org is an association of mental health professionals from more than 25 countries who support efforts to reduce harm in therapy.