Much of our mental health endowment is a result of factors outside of our control, with overall emotional wellness determined by a complex interplay of genetics, upbringing, life experiences, and environmental and situational factors. Regardless of where we’re at now, or how we got here, the number one best thing we can do for our own mental health is to take responsibility for it.
That might mean making lifestyle changes, seeing a therapist, or taking medication. It might also mean training yourself up in skills that build resilience and help you cope with stress, or making sure you take time to relax.
When things feel hard, it’s easy to forget we have some power to choose how to feel. There are an abundance of resources available that can help you both deal with a present crisis, and build skills for a more resilient future. I’ve compiled some here, and I hope they serve as a springboard for you to continue exploring and create your own list.
Counselling and Coaching
Lifeline (13 11 14) is a crisis chat line with trained supporters who can help if you’re feeling overwhelmed or having suicidal thoughts, via phone, SMS, or online chat.
Listening Ear (02 9477 6777) is a non-crisis helpline if you’re stressed, lonely, or would just like to talk to somebody.
BeyondBlue New Access is a mental health coaching program of six structured sessions, available online, that gives you practical tools to manage whatever you’re facing.
Insight timer has more than 100,000 guided meditations, as well live events, bedtime stories, and yoga classes, with some of the best teachers in the world.
Moodfit provides a comprehensive set of tools for your mental health, including daily goals, self-care, gratitude journaling, meditation, CBT activities, and breathing activities.
Smiling Mind is a mindfulness meditation app developed by psychologists.
MoodMission asks how you’re feeling, and responds with quick, simply evidence-based missions to improve your mood.
Online courses and programs
Tara Brach and Jack Kornfield, two of the world’s most respected meditation teachers and PhD-holding psychologists to boot, offer a 40-day online training in mindfulness meditation.
MindSpot, based at Macquarie University, offer a number of CBT-based courses for people with stress, worry, anxiety, low mood, and depression.
Moodgym is like an interactive self-help book that helps you learn and practise skills to manage and prevent symptoms of depression and anxiety.
Mental Health Online, an initiative of Swinburne University, provides a range of services and programs for people experiencing mental health difficulties including anxiety, panic, and depression.
Yoga with Adriene is a popular YouTube channel offering yoga videos and mindfulness practices for all levels.
Yoga with Bird offers short yoga classes for stress, anxiety, sore muscles, self-love, gratitude, better sleep, and just about anything else you can think of.
Popsugar have a huge range of exercise videos with different instructors, including fun, high-energy dance workouts to lift your mood and get your heartrate up.
Make your Body Work have compiled a list of the 50 best online workouts so you can find one that really works for you.
Very Well Mind shares guidance and tips for psychological wellbeing and mental strength.
The Science of Happiness shares research-tested strategies for a happier, more meaningful life.
Hidden Brain explores the unconscious patterns that drive behaviour.
The Mental Illness Happy Hour explores mental illness, trauma, addiction, and negative thinking.
All in the Mind, an ABC initiative, is an exploration of the mind, brain, and behaviour.
Oprah’s Super Soul Conversations for conversations with thought-leaders, spiritual luminaries, and health and wellness experts to awaken, discover, and connect to the deeper meaning of the world.
Remember you can access e-books and audiobooks through your library for free!
Atomic Habits will help you build good habits and break bad ones.
Rewire your Anxious Brain uses neuroscience to overcome anxiety.
The Happiness Trap offers a simple ACT-therapy based approach to stop struggling and start living.
Mindsight offers ways to make positive changes in your brain for personal transformation.
How to Do the Work is a manifesto for self-healing and a more authentic and joyful life.
The Upward Spiral uses neuroscience to reverse the course of depression.
Greater than the Sum of our Parts invites you to embrace all parts of yourself with compassion.
Gratitude journaling has been shown to improve your mental health and wellbeing.
Practicing self-hypnosis is an evidence-based way of reducing anxiety and shifting mood.
Acts of kindness will boost your brain chemicals and strengthen your social networks.
Dancing lifts your mood and is good for your physical and mental wellbeing.
Working with your dreams is a great way to access and understand your own inner wisdom.
Colouring in is a great mindfulness activity, and can keep the kids busy too.