Mental Health//

14 Celebrities on Their Strategies for Boosting Their Mental Health

These stars are moving past focusing on their struggles to sharing real strategies.

Lady Gaga: (
Daniele Venturelli / Getty Images); Michael Phelps (NBC / Getting Images); Adrien Grenier (Noam Galai / Getty Images); Prince Harry (Ben A. Pruchnie / Stringer); Selena Gomez (
Matt Winkelmeyer / Getty Images); Mandy Moore (Rachel Luna / Stringer); Gabourey Sidibe (Paras Griffin / Stringer); Jonathan Van Ness (
Randy Holmes / Getty Images)
Lady Gaga: ( Daniele Venturelli / Getty Images); Michael Phelps (NBC / Getting Images); Adrien Grenier (Noam Galai / Getty Images); Prince Harry (Ben A. Pruchnie / Stringer); Selena Gomez ( Matt Winkelmeyer / Getty Images); Mandy Moore (Rachel Luna / Stringer); Gabourey Sidibe (Paras Griffin / Stringer); Jonathan Van Ness ( Randy Holmes / Getty Images)

Welcome to Thriving Mind, a resource to help you understand your individual signs of stress, take small steps to recharge, and unlock better mental health.

More and more celebrities are chipping away at the stigma around mental health by sharing their own stories and struggles with anxiety, depression, and even everyday negative stress. That’s important — but what’s also crucial is that we use this moment of decreasing stigma to shift the conversation from general, big-picture awareness to actionable steps that support our mental well-being. Luckily, public figures — including Lady Gaga, Michael Phelps, and Prince Harry, to name a few — have opted to not only open up about their issues, but also share the steps they take to support their emotional well-being. At Thrive, we call these Microsteps — tiny actions that can add up to truly impactful benefits. Read on and be inspired to take steps toward recharging your own mental battery and caring for your mental well-being every day.

Lady Gaga gets comfortable saying no

“When I speak about mental health, especially when I’m speaking about mine, it is often met with quietness. We need to bring mental health into the light… After years and years of saying yes to jobs, interviews, events — all opportunities, of course that I am so humbled and grateful to have had, because I know that there are so many who have not — and after working as hard as I possibly could to achieve my dreams, slowly but surely the word yes — ‘Yes, sure’ — became too automatic and my inner voice shutdown, which I have learned now is very unhealthy… I was not empowered to say no.”

Lady Gaga

Prince Harry finds relief in opening up

“My way of dealing with [grief] was sticking my head in the sand, refusing to ever think about my mum, because why would that help?… [I thought] it’s only going to make you sad, it’s not going to bring her back… And then [I] started to have a few conversations and actually all of a sudden, all of this grief that I have never processed started to come to the forefront and I was like, there is actually a lot of stuff here that I need to deal with… I know there is huge merit in talking about your issues and the only thing about keeping it quiet is that it’s only ever going to make it worse… The experience I have had is that once you start talking about it, you realize that actually you’re part of quite a big club.”

Prince Harry

Demi Lovato practices putting herself first

“One thing that I’ve learned while dealing with [my mental health] in the public eye has been that as rewarding as it is sharing my story and helping others, it’s important to take care of myself as well. It’s great to get outside of yourself and help others, but it’s also important that I stay dedicated to my treatment plan and make sure that I can help myself before others.”

Demi Lovato 

Gabby Bernstein “taps” on her rage (and all her other feelings)

“I do a 20-minute TM (transcendental meditation) and then I do another 20-minute tapping meditation — tapping meditation is an emotional freedom technique. I am tapping on rage right now, which is good because it’s making me feel free… We have so much unfelt rage and anger inside, and then we manifest it in our body because we don’t want to deal with that unconscious rage. So, if you can do anything during the day — whether you begin your day with journaling or a meditation — anything you can do to clear any anxiety, anger, or rage before you begin your day, then you can absolutely trust that your day will be hooked up.”

Gabby Bernstein 

Jonathan Van Ness learns to silence his inner critic 

“Depression is not as easy as saying, ‘Well just find your joy and then you’re going to become happy.’ That was never my experience… When we’re identified fully with our depression, it will say, ‘You have no joy, you have no way out.’ There will be a negative, internal critic in our mind that we need to be able to dissociate from and pull ourselves away from… Sometimes I think when we’re really in the throes of depression, you may not get out of it today, but it’s important to realize that we’re not our depression, we are not our internal critic, we are not always the feelings and the voice in our head.”

Jonathan Van Ness

Selena Gomez seeks help and community 

“I was suffering mentally and emotionally, and I wasn’t able to stay all kept up and together. I wasn’t able to keep a smile or to keep things looking normal. And it felt like all of my pain and anxiety washed over me all at once, and it was one of the scariest moments of my life. I sought support, and the doctors were able to give me a clear diagnosis. I finally had the knowledge of why I had suffered for so many years from depression and anxiety… So I began to face it head on… I sought out help…I got educated. I talked to a lot of people that were suffering with the same things… I’m just fortunate enough to be able to work with some of the greatest doctors and psychiatrists and amazing people to help me guide me personally through my journey. Although this does not mean that it has all gone away, but I can say that after a year of a lot of intense work that I am happier, I am healthier, and I’m in control of my emotions and thoughts more than I’ve ever been.”

Selena Gomez

Adrian Grenier focuses on the small things he can control

“A technique that I use […] is the macro-micro technique… The things I think that stress us out are the things that we can’t manage or the things that feel outside of our control, and so it gives us anxiety. It makes us feel small. So, I think it’s important to be able to witness and recognize the big things but always come back to something very present and immediate in the moment, something that’s tangible, something that’s here and now, something that’s personal. And that’s the way you move forward — baby steps, one foot in front of the other.”

Adrian Grenier 

Lena Dunham makes movement a part of her routine

“Promised myself I would not let exercise be the first thing to go by the wayside when I got busy with “Girls”… and here is why: It has helped with my anxiety in ways I never dreamed possible…To those struggling with anxiety, OCD, depression: I know it’s mad annoying when people tell you to exercise, and it took me about 16 medicated years to listen. I’m glad I did.”

Lena Dunham 

Sanaa Lathan takes breaks from her phone

“Right now I’m really inspired by being present. Anytime I’m feeling anxiety or anytime I’m feeling worried or anytime I’m feeling scared or depressed, it means I’m not here. I’m not here right now. It means I’m going back into something in the past or I’m going forward into something in the future or I’m looking at something, comparing myself… The first thing now which I think everybody needs is just literally putting down your phone. That’s not being present if you’re looking at your phone every five minutes. And you find that when you put it down, no matter how hard it is, it actually feels good.”

Sanaa Lathan

Sarah Jessica Parker lets people in on how she’s really feeling

“I used to not ever tell anybody because I thought that too many people were reliant on me to not be anxious… Until the minute you talk about something it feels like as if you are a balloon that’s been blown up and you have too much air in you. You just need somebody to let a little out. So now I’m much better at saying that I have a lot of nervousness over a situation that makes me anxious.”

Sarah Jessica Parker

Barbara Corcoran finds calm through her family — and gardening 

“The best solution I have for managing stress — because I do have a very stressful life — is I have children who keep me balanced. I love my kids more than anything I’ve ever done in business, so that keeps me balanced. The second thing is that I weed my garden. You just have to find something that makes you relax, for me it’s weeding.”

Barbara Corcoran 

Gabourey Sidibe makes therapy a part of her self-care 

“I just accepted depression as something that’s part of my anatomy; it’s part of my chemistry, it’s part of my biology. When it’s too big for me to just turn around on my own, I see a therapist… We all should see a therapist. If only for the hour a week that you can talk about yourself and not worry about monopolizing the conversation… it’s worth it!”

Gabourey Sidibe

Mandy Moore listens to what she needs in the moment

“Finding some means of self-care, whether it’s a night in by myself, or a bath, or a glass of wine, or going to therapy. I find sometimes when I feel the least like I need to go to therapy is when it’s the most beneficial. Like, that’s the time for me to go.”

Mandy Moore

Michael Phelps practices acceptance

Depression is something I continue to go through daily, it doesn’t go away. But it’s important for people to see that’s OK… Just being open, not letting everything compartmentalize and just build up, because it’s just going to be a gigantic bomb that’s going to go off at any given point.”

Michael Phelps

This content is informational and educational, and it does not replace medical advice, diagnosis or treatment from a health professional. We encourage you to speak with your health-care provider about your individual needs, or visit NAMI for more information.

Read more of our mental health coverage here.

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