By Jeremy Godwin
What are your go-to tips and techniques for better mental health? In this special episode, I’m celebrating 1 million plays of my podcast by turning the episode over to you and I’m sharing practical advice for better mental health sent in from listeners around the world.
So, get comfortable, and Let’s Talk About Mental Health…
Listen to the podcast episode now in the Spotify player below (or using your preferred podcast service; see below for links) or continue reading for the full transcript.
Watch Episode 58 of Better Mental Health on YouTube — in this latest episode I’m sharing 8 ways you can manage anxiety.
Watch the episode below or visit the channel on YouTube:
And in this bonus episode I’m exploring what anxiety is and why understanding it matters (adapted from Episode 102 of the podcast):
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This podcast episode was originally released on 27 February, 2022.
Hello and welcome to Episode 120, I’m Jeremy Godwin and thanks so much for joining me!
This week’s episode is all about you and I’m sharing a whole bunch of advice sent in from around the world as a way of saying ‘thank you!’ for helping me achieve more than 1 million downloads. I hit that milestone back in late January of 2022 and at the time I said on social media that I wanted to celebrate in a way that was about all of you, rather than me, and so I had the idea to ask for your advice and include it in an episode… and I sure am glad that I did, because there were some absolutely brilliant ones shared! So today will be purely about the tips and techniques, and then next week I’ll be back to my usual episode structure (and I’ll be talking about heartbreak — so stick around until the end for a sneak preview of what I’ll be covering!).
OK, I have 26 of these tips to share today, starting with a tip from Kaitlyn, in the USA, who shared:
Look at your goals every day and remember why you’re here.
I love this one because it brings goals, purpose and meaning all into one simple piece of advice. For me, having something to work towards that feels purposeful and meaningful really does make an enormous difference in terms of positive mental health.
OK, next, Ana from Australia shares:
When in chaos: stop, pause and reflect. Take time to process what is going on.
I love this one as well… actually, I’m probably going to say ‘I love this!’ quite a lot, so let’s just assume I love all of them because that’s why I’ve included them! Taking your time to really think things through, so that you can respond thoughtfully instead of just reacting, helps you to be more mindful and more genuinely present to whatever is going on (rather than allowing pure emotion to dictate what you do or don’t do).
Next, Kristen from the USA says:
Having a trustworthy counsellor to help with my healing process.
I couldn’t agree with this one more; no real surprises there because I have said many times on this podcast that I have a therapist who I see weekly and then I also have a coach for my work who I see every two weeks. Being able to work with someone I feel comfortable with has allowed me to make my way through some traumatic stuff and helped me to identify things that I can do in order to progress with my healing; the thing about healing is that it’s not a simple linear process, it’s something that takes time and can be very up-and-down like a rollercoaster, but over time you begin to be able to look back over your shoulder and see just how far you’ve come.
Next, Victoria from New Zealand shares:
Self care and looking after your body, and also journalling… writing down your thoughts and feelings really helps you to understand what [you’re] going through especially if you don’t have anyone to talk to.
So no surprises here that I absolutely love the self-care and looking after yourself piece, of course, but also the journalling and it’s something that I’m talking about more and more in this podcast and my YouTube show because when you write it out you get it out… and the thing about emotions is that if you carry them around they weigh you down over time. Find ways to express your thoughts, and journalling is an amazing place to start… especially if you don’t have anyone to talk to or you don’t feel comfortable talking to somebody else just yet.
Next, Robyn from the USA says:
Acceptance and moving forward; letting go of the past and things that are out of your control.
This is definitely a piece of advice that hits very close to my heart because it can be really easy to be focused on the things that have happened in the past but the reality is that the past has passed — and I know that’s a cliché to say! — but the thing here is about recognising that the only way forward is to actually focus on where you are today and how you got here objectively so that you can then learn the lessons and move forward. The biggest way of doing that is learning how to let go of the things that are outside of your direct control, because then you begin to find much more peace of mind by focusing on what you can control (and I discussed control in Episode 48).
Next is another one from Robyn and it is…
I’ve come to realise that my peace of mind is more valuable to myself than some small conflict or disagreement, so I’ve learned to accept and move on from the past and things that are out of my control.
I’m separating this tip because it’s an important point and it takes that ‘peace of mind’ and ‘control’ thing even further because it’s about acceptance (which was the subject of Episode 36); it’s one thing to know and understand that the past has passed, or that particular things are outside of your control, but it’s a very different thing to actually accept that. And so, for me at least, I think that working on acceptance is the absolute number one most fundamental thing that you could ever do which will make an enormous difference in terms of your mental health and well-being.
Next, Sam from New Zealand says:
I try to maximise everything that makes me smile.
This one made me smile! Because the thing is that, yes, there are always going to be difficulties in life and challenges and things that make it really difficult, but there are always moments of joy to be experienced in any given day and so really proactively maximising anything that makes you smile (anything and everything) is such a positive way to live. It takes time — like all things — but the more you do that the more you begin to notice that feels positive and joyful and uplifting… and that’s what makes your soul sing. And by the way, I covered ‘joy’ back in Episode 93.
Next, Courtney from Australia said:
Listen when people try to call you out on negative language or thinking. We all have habits and behaviours that we aren’t fully aware of.
So I know how difficult feedback can be (even just constructive feedback in general) but the thing is that once you learn how to set your ego aside (and I talked about ego in Episode 68 of the podcast), you can begin to recognise that most people don’t mean to be malicious… and inside of most feedback there is some kernel of truth. The challenge is to be able to set aside your emotions and instead think about what is the actual core of the message from a logical standpoint. We human beings aren’t always fully self-aware and so any type of feedback should be considered… I mean, I’m not saying that you should listen to every negative opinion (especially the ones that are just downright nasty) but I do think that if there are particular themes or recurring bits of feedback that are coming up, then there is something for you to consider; there’s a big difference between self-confidence and self-delusion, and nobody is perfect, so it’s important to be open to constructive criticism so that you can learn and so that you can grow.
Next, Jhabs from the Philippines shares:
Reading self-help books before sleeping… no more social media or screen time!
So aside from apologising upfront if I messed up your first name, I love the idea of having no screen time just before bed and using that as a time for self development by reading books that help you to think and to grow. My go-to is my Kindle, which sits next to my bed and I don’t read it every single night but most nights I will read a little bit of something before I go to bed, and it’s just a nice way to wind down from all of the things that require our full attention and instead to become gently reflective before we go to sleep. Not only does it help you to grow, but it also gives you a much better quality of sleep.
Next, Kirsten from Canada says:
If I’m having an anxiety attack I touch my thumb to my index finger then to all of them; also count down by twos to help calm down.
Again, hoping I got that right (if it’s pronounced Kear-sten then I’m sorry!)… this is one of a number of really simple tools and techniques that you can apply if you are in the middle of dealing with anxiety (and, by the way, I covered the topic of anxiety generally in Episode 102, plus I’ve recently turned that into a YouTube video and it’s linked in the episode description).
Next, Calvin (who is from England but lives in New Zealand), says:
I love to plan but part of my planning routine is regular self reflection; I do it daily, weekly and monthly and I also periodically look further back to see how far I’ve come… keeps me cognisant of the fact that we as humans aren’t a fixed thing; we’re constantly evolving.
Hello Calvin from the UK who lives in New Zealand! I’m very happy to hear about this level of planning and I talk about planning quite a lot in the podcast obviously (I just did a whole episode on it in Episode 113); the piece I particularly like in this tip is that it recognises the fact that we are constantly evolving and so you can plan all you like but also taking the time to take a step back and look at just how far you’ve come really can help you to surrender to the journey and to celebrate the progress that you have made so far… which, for me at least, makes an enormous difference in terms of better mental health.
Next, Sam from the United Arab Emirates says:
Fixing my sleep schedule and eating healthy was my first step into becoming better… setting timed tasks for my day the night before and I really try my best to stick to them. [Plus] I cut off anything/anyone that doesn’t serve me in a positive manner. These were small changes but they made big improvements in my mental health.
So I’m a total bore when it comes to my sleep schedule: we go to bed at basically the same time every night, and we get up at the exact same time every morning seven days a week. I’m a morning person and I feel much more creative in the period up to around about lunchtime or just a little bit after, and so the majority of my writing work needs to be done in the morning rather than in the afternoon when I’m actually better at talking to people (so that’s when I do appointments with clients and meetings etc). I also want to pick up on the removing anything or anyone that doesn’t serve you in a positive manner; I have talked about this very (very!) often, and I work on a ‘three strikes and you’re out’ approach and for me that’s been really helpful. I believe that all people have the potential to change and so that’s why I think it’s important to at least give them a chance or two, but if somebody chooses not to grow and evolve with you, then that is generally a sign that something needs to change… because if nothing changes, nothing changes.
Next, Gabrielle from Australia shares:
Being able to identify whether how I’m feeling is because of the expectations placed on me by myself, placed on me by society (i.e. as a mother or a woman), or expectations from others such as my family, friends or colleagues.
This is great one because self-awareness involves understanding what is coming from yourself versus what is coming at you from other people and society in general. It’s one of those things that is important to understand because it enables you to have a better awareness of what genuinely matters to you versus what’s just background noise. Oh and I talked about self awareness in Episode 62, by the way.
Alright, next Leanne from Australia shared this:
On a particularly tough day I asked one of the people in my close friend group to give me three tasks; any task. So that day, on a big low, I took my dog for a long walk outside, went and got [a meal] from a place my friend recommended, and I sat outside in nature, breathing and listening to the wind and birds etc. This was life changing for me.
This for me is the life changing power of friendship and it’s also the potential of being open to new experiences; Leanne obviously had no idea what people were going to suggest to her and of course she has free will in terms of what she chooses to do or not, but putting yourself out there in that type of way (especially on a particularly difficult day!) really says something to me about trust and about belief… and I wish more of us would do things like this! This is a really inspiring piece of advice and it’s one that I will definitely think about how I can apply in my own life if I’m ever having a really bad day.
Next, Angel from Canada shared two tips:
(1) Self care is not something you earn, it’s something you owe to yourself [and] (2) Exercise has done the trick for me; it’s not about getting ripped, it’s about knowing you are [physically] strong and you can do things that require strength.
Again, hoping that I pronounce your name correctly… I totally agree that self-care is not some special treat but it is something that is necessary and fundamental for yourself; because if you don’t do it, who will? And as for exercise I think anything that involves you moving your body and also working out your mind is always good for you!
Next, Megan from the USA shares:
My big tip is practicing noting. I think we all get caught up on our emotions and have a hard time letting them pass. Take a moment to step back, acknowledge the feeling, note it as a temporary visitor, and let it be. This works for me for my anxiety and OCD as well.
This one takes awareness to a whole new level because it’s about actually being present (which I talked about in Episode 83) and also mindfulness (which I talked about in Episode 42). Your emotions are not facts, however they do give you an idea of what you are feeling about any given situation so that you can then consider what the best course of action might be; so rather than letting the emotions, or the feelings, dictate what you do or don’t do, being aware of them and then considering them thoughtfully before you act gives you a sense of control and helps you to regain your personal power.
Next, Erica from the USA says:
Five minutes outside away from technology, even for a walk up and down the street, will do wonders… especially if you’re dealing with stress over an email, message, etc!
Hello Erica! This is such a great and simple suggestion that absolutely anybody can do right now (although I’d love it if you finish listening to my podcast first before you ditch the technology for five or 10 minutes!); because, just disconnecting even for a few minutes helps you to be more present and it just gives your brain a break… it’s as simple as that!
Alright, next is Alex from the US who says:
When you’re overwhelmed, take a few minutes for yourself to think. Separate what you can do from what you can’t control. Accept what you can’t control, and make a list of small/realistic steps to accomplish what you can.
So anyone who has ever listened to one or more episodes of my podcast would know that I am almost obsessed with talking about control and the whole piece of what is in your direct control versus what is not. This is a great piece of advice from Alex about how to consciously approach things that are in or not in your control, and I highly recommend taking a few moments just to be thoughtful and separate what you can do versus what you cannot do in terms of control before you do anything or say anything; those few moments could make an enormous difference because you create your reality based on what you do or don’t do.
Next, Pikachu from Singapore said:
Take time to care for yourself.
And Pikachu did ask to remain anonymous so please don’t think that I’m actually getting pieces of advice from Pokémon; this is a really simple piece of advice which is an important reminder for everybody every single day… take the time to care for yourself, because nobody can do it for you and nobody will do it for you. And as I say very often on the show: prevention is better than cure!
Next is Yasmina from Canada who shared:
Being more selective in choosing friends has helped me significantly! I didn’t realise the impact people around you can have, but removing toxicity should be the first step in your mental health journey.
The people around you really do have an enormous influence on you, and it’s funny how we don’t realise that but it kind of makes sense… because we interact with one another and we pick up on one another’s mannerisms and values and beliefs in all of these different things. So, be mindful about choosing healthy relationships and if there are unhealthy relationships then you need to make some conscious decisions about how you deal with that. I’ve actually talked about a few topics related to this in the past; I covered toxic people in Episode 75, conflict in Episode 88, and difficult choices in Episode 89.
Next, Michael from Australia shared five quick tips and they are:
(1) Cold water dips at the beach or finishing off your shower on cold (or as close to cold as possible) (2) Exercise (3) Meditation (4) Listening to binaural beats (5) Let’s Talk About Mental Health podcast.
Hello Michael, who is one of many of you who has been listening to me since the early days of my podcast! These are some great suggestions and there are lots of different physical things that you can do that have a positive mental impact as well; so often we get caught up in the mindset of physical versus mental health, however you can’t have one without the other… everything is connected. And by the way, thanks for including my podcast on your list!
Next, Neva from the USA said:
Home therapy in the form of cleaning your living space while listening to lo-fi music. I love humidifiers and scents!
Never underestimate the positive benefits of a clean house or room; there is no greater feeling than a freshly cleaned place where everything is tidy and in its place and I know that will be hard to achieve if you’re feeling really challenged with time or you’re just feeling down, but it’s something you can do bit by bit; even just a corner of a room will make an enormous difference, and just build on that over time. And also never underestimate the power of scent, because it really can lift your spirits.
The next one came from an anonymous person who said…
I listen to this guy when I drive, really helps me understand myself a bit better each day.
I’ve had a lot of these actually from people who listen to me while they drive or catch the train to work or whatever, and also some of you who have made me part of your regular dog-walking routine… I feel very grateful and while I say very often that I’m not a fan of multitasking I will say that these types of times are perfect for listening to something — like this podcast! — that helps to get you thinking about things, so make the most of your commute or general walking time and discover some ideas you might like to try!
Next, Laure from the USA said:
Take your medication faithfully. It changed my life after 10 years of breakdowns.
Again I hope I’ve pronounced your name correctly (if it should be pronounced Lori my apologies!). I fully agree with this one; even though I no longer take medication myself, I did so for my depression and anxiety for several years and at that time they were critical in getting me back onto an even foundation for my mental health and well-being. The thing about medication is that it can have side-effects, which I know means that for a lot of us we might not feel enormously comfortable about sticking to it all of the time, but for the most part (and I’m generalising here) it should be either you commit to it or you stop it (and if you are stopping you should be doing that in partnership with your doctor; please don’t consult Dr Google or decide that you know better than someone who went to medical school for eight or more years!). Please don’t stop and start medication without actual medical advice; I know of some people who might take it for a month or two and then stop, and then start again in a few months, and of course the situation is unique for each person but in general if you do that you’re not actually giving the medication the time and consistency that it needs for it to do the work that it needs to do. So I completely support this piece of advice, if you are going to be taking medication then please do so faithfully and really work closely with your doctor to have the best chance of longer term recovery.
So now I have another one from Yasmina in Canada who shared:
Treat the cause rather than the symptom. Identifying the root cause dictates your healing plan.
So I moved this one towards the end of the points because even though we’ve had another idea before from Yasmina, this one felt like a really important one to split out onto its own. You cannot heal by just putting Band-Aids over things and when we focus on just the symptoms we’re not actually addressing the cause of whatever is going on… And I know this is something that I talk about a lot in the podcast so it’s not exactly like this is a brand-new message, but I think that is one of the most important ones when it comes to mental health because realistically speaking you will only heal over time by digging into the stuff that really needs to be healed (for example like I discussed in Episode 118 about trauma). Think about what it is that you need to work through, and if necessary get professional support from a counsellor or therapist (I would even go so far as to say that is necessary for everyone but I totally understand that some people feel uncomfortable with that or it may not be financially viable for you at the moment, but there are things like group therapy that you can do as well so I would really encourage you to think about how you approach identifying the cause of challenges and then, more importantly, addressing those causes… because that is what will help you to heal over time.
And next is Ash from Singapore who shared:
When we feel low and empty about ourselves, we can feel better by helping others. Sometimes knowing that we’re the reason behind someone else’s happiness will help us discover our own.
So I saved this one until last because they’re all beautiful but this was the most beautiful of them all! I love what this says about humanity and giving, and in this show I talk quite a lot about one of the foundations for good mental health is to give more than you take… And when you do that you actually receive so much more in return so I would encourage you to think about how you might be able to apply this absolutely beautiful piece of advice in your own life and make a positive difference for others.
Summary and Close-Out
So, think about which of these tips you might choose to apply for yourself and you can also share your thoughts with me on social media (or if you’re listening on Spotify then you’ll see an option to leave a comment on there). Whatever you choose to do…
The choice is yours, as it is with all things related to your wellbeing… so, what choice will YOU make today?
Each week I like to finish up by sharing a quote about the week’s topic, and I encourage you to take a few moments to really reflect on it and consider what it means to you. This week’s quote is by Sai Baba, and it is:
“The Mind is the Key to Health and Happiness.”Sai Baba
Alright… that’s nearly it for this week. A huge thank you to everyone who contributed to today’s episode and to all of you who have helped me to exceed 1 million plays, which is a massive milestone for an independent podcast… here’s to the next million! Next week I’ll be talking about heartbreak. I’ve been asked many, many times to talk about break-ups but I’ve avoided it for a few reasons (which I’ll discuss next week) however it dawned on me a while ago that there are many different types of heartbreak that we all experience and so I felt like it was an ideal topic to talk about. So next time I’ll be covering what heartbreak is, why understanding it matters, and how to heal from heartbreak.
I hope you’ll join me for that episode, which will be released on Sunday the 6th of March, 2022.
And catch my latest YouTube video on Wednesday over on my Better Mental Health channel; take a moment to subscribe to my channel using the link in the episode description or head to letstalkaboutmentalhealth.com.au where you can also join my mailing list for my free weekly newsletter (and you’ll find my website also linked in the episode description on whatever podcast service you’re currently listening to me on).
And, as always, find me on Instagram at @ltamentalhealth where I post extra content throughout the week.
Thank you very much for joining me today — look after yourself and make a conscious effort to share positivity and kindness in the world, because you get back what you put out. Take care and talk to you next time!
Let’s Talk About Mental Health is proudly produced by Reconnaissance Media, helping you find gratitude and meaning. For more information visit reconnaissancemedia.com
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Let’s Talk About Mental Health.
Simple ideas for better mental health.
Let’s Talk About Mental Health. © 2022 Jeremy Godwin.
The information provided in this episode is for general awareness on the topic and does not constitute advice. You should consult a doctor and/or a mental health professional if you are struggling with your mental health and wellbeing. You’ll find additional information on the Resources page of this website.