105 Mental Health Recovery Tools

Hi everyone! Below is a huge list of things that have helped me along the way to improve my mental health. This is compiled from years and years of recovery and therapy so I hope you don’t feel overwhelmed by this list but that it gives you some new ideas/tools that may be helpful for you.  

Remember that full recovery and freedom is possible! 

Eating disorder

  1. Getting connected with a therapist and dietitian specialized in eating disorders 
  2. Following my meal plan 100% 
  3. Attending support groups to keep myself accountable 
  4. Regularly having dessert
  5. Eating a wide variety of foods 
  6. Knowing no foods are good or bad 
  7. Colleen Christensen’s intuitive eating affirmations 
  8. Eating my challenge foods- having someone there to eat them with me 
  9. Creating vision boards- what I wanted for my future to motivate me to recover 
  10. Self compassion 
  11. Treating myself like a friend/daughter- loving kindness 
  12. Body gratitude 
  13. Unfollowing fitness accounts/runners on instagram 
  14. Books- Goodbye Ed hello me by Jenni Schafer, Life without Ed by Jenni Schafer, Health at Every Size by Linda Bacon, Body Kindness by Rebecca Scritchfield, The Intuitive Eating Workbook by Evelyn Tribole, Sick Enough by Jennifer L. Gaudiani, Intuitive Eating by Evelyn Tribole and Elyse Resch, 8 Keys to Recovery from an Eating Disorder by Carolyn Costin
  15. Podcasts- The Appetite a podcast by Opal Food and Body Wisdom, Girls Night by Stephanie May Wilson, Wonderfully Made 
  16. Finding Balance‘s free courses and email devotional
  17. Ultimate training academy virtual camp 
  18. Neutral statements about my body (these are my legs, these are my arms; not labeling or judging or commenting on my body shape or size) 
  19. Self acceptance 
  20. Acceptance (I may not like this situation or be ok with it but it is what it is) 
  21. Treating my body image like Wikipedia (no offense to Wikipedia!) but seeing my personal body image as an unreliable source and not trusting it (ie. seeing myself as “too big” and recognizing that my personal body image is not a reliable source of information so discrediting the thought)
  22. Getting rid of my scale 
  23. Blind weigh ins (facing backwards so I wouldn’t see the number)
  24. Deleting calorie counting apps 
  25. Not counting calories 
  26. Going out to restaurants with family/friends 
  27. Taking a LONG break from running 
  28. Learning about joyful movement and intuitive movement 
  29. Buying clothes that fit 
  30. Getting rid of clothes that no longer fit 
  31. Knowing that chafing, cellulite, and stretch marks are all very normal 
  32. Taking unplanned rest days 
  33. Watching Recovered Living videos on youtube 
  34. Making a recovery contract 


  1. Diving deeper into my faith and developing a personal relationship with Christ 
  2. Attending Church 
  3. Joining a small group Bible study 
  4. Learning my identity in Christ 
  5. Joining a Christian organization on campus 
  6. Prayer 
  7. Reading the Bible 
  8. Surrendering my identity as having an eating disorder to the Lord 
  9. Memorizing/re-reading Bible verses 
  10. Attending retreats 
  11. Books- Present over Perfect by Shauna Niequest, Discerning the Voice of God by Priscella Shirer
  12. Podcasts- The Porch 
  13. Knowing my worth and value are constant and infinite 

OCD/Social anxiety

  1. Learning ERP (exposure and response prevention)
  2. Tracking bans (submits and resists) 
  3. Maybe, maybe not. Ex: Intrusive thought about an illness being on a surface; maybe I’ll get sick from touching this surface, maybe I won’t 
  4. Uncertainty tolerance 
  5. Attending free support groups at Rogers
  6. Resisting compulsions/urges or trying to delay them 
  7. “I embrace this opportunity to face my fear, I can cope with discomfort” 
  8. Completing the LSAS (social anxiety questionnaire) and YBOCS (OCD questionnaire) every couple of months to monitor progress/slips 
  9. “I REFUSE to live in a bubble. I refuse to cut out things that I think will kill me in the future- which would eventually be everything. I refuse to spend my life trying so hard protecting myself from dying at the cost of actually living and being free.”

Generalized anxiety 

  1. Mindfulness 
  2. 54321 grounding method- 5 things you can see, 4 things you can hear, 3 things you can smell, 2 things you can feel, 1 thing you can taste
  3. Distress tolerance- STOP 
  4. Focus on my breath 
  5. Diffusion, labeling/naming the thought (I’m having a thought about…)


  1. Setting a timer- when struggling to do something or to stop crying setting a timer for 5 or 10 minutes to feel sad then needing to get up and do something 
  2. Being with others, even if it means crying in front of them, just so you aren’t alone 
  3. Behavioral activation- forcing myself to do things that I had previously enjoyed even if I didn’t 
  4. Getting out of the house and going to do something- walk around hobby lobby, sit outside


  1. Creating a safety plan to maintain safety in the event of suicidal ideation (coping tools, remaining with a trusted individual, calling a clinic hotline) 
  2. Recognizing these thoughts and feelings will be over in a few days 
  3. Writing down reasons to stay alive 
  4. Learning more about PMDD
  5. Taking an antidepressant 
  6. Decreasing my stress levels throughout the month 

Self care ideas 

  1. Coloring/painting/drawing 
  2. Journal 
  3. Listen to music 
  4. Meditation 
  5. Read a book for fun 
  6. Watch a funny youtube video 
  7. Watch a show or movie on netflix 
  8. Take a long hot shower 
  9. Paint my nails 

General ideas/fit under multiple categories  

  1. Daily gratitude 
  2. Celebrate each success/step in the right direction no matter how small 
  3. Take an extended break from social media
  4. Art therapy 
  5. Attending a Living Grace Group- Christ-centered mental health recovery group 
  6. Spending time with friends/prioritizing relationships 
  7. Doing something that brings you joy each day 
  8. Realistic self talk
  9. Getting enough sleep, listening to Abide guided Bible sleep meditations if difficult to fall asleep 
  10. Being vulnerable 
  11. Trying new things 
  12. Journaling about what I wanted my life to look like in 10 years 
  13. Embracing/welcoming feelings and experiences
  14. Finding stillness 
  15. Improving my assertiveness 
  16. Using a feeling wheel to better identify how I’m feeling 
  17. Be myself- Fearlessly authentic 
  18. Thought challenging 
  19. Doing things alone, improving in my ability to be independent 
  20. Spending money on myself/buying myself things 
  21. Staying on campus on the weekends
  22. When my mind is racing or I can’t decide what to do- Asking myself what is my job right now? Ex: Right now my job is to sleep or right now my job is to listen to this lecture. 
  23. Problem solving- Can I solve this? Is now the right time? If yes to both proceed, if no to one = not yet. 
  24. Being present in my life 
  25. Journal about my dreams and hopes for the future

I hope this list gives you some extra tools to help you in your journey.

With love,


 Philippians 4:13– I can do all things through him who strengthens me.

Psalm 55:22– Cast your cares on the LORD and he will sustain you; he will never let the righteous be shaken.

John 1:5- The light shines in the darkness, and the darkness has not overcome it.

 Isaiah 40:29– He gives strength to the weary and power to the weak.

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