Emma Thompson Shares Her Tips for Better Mental Health

Actress Emma Thompson from the film "Saving Mr. Banks" arrives at the AFI Awards 2013 honoring excellence in film and television in Beverly Hills, California January 10, 2014.  REUTERS/Fred Prouser (UNITED STATES - Tags: ENTERTAINMENT HEADSHOT) - GM1EA1B0JLH01
Actress Emma Thompson from the film "Saving Mr. Banks" arrives at the AFI Awards 2013 honoring excellence in film and television in Beverly Hills, California January 10, 2014. REUTERS/Fred Prouser (UNITED STATES - Tags: ENTERTAINMENT HEADSHOT) - GM1EA1B0JLH01
She's known for her cheery, upbeat demeanour. But Emma Thompson reminds us no one is immune to mental illness.

Emma Thompson has shared her mental health advice and 20 tips of her own that help her cope with depression. The essay, which was published by The Sunday Times, is taken from Scarlett Curtis’ upcoming book, It’s Not OK To Be Blue (and Other Lies).

Thompson is just one of a handful of well-known names that have contributed to Curtis’ book. Game of Thrones star Emilia Clarke shares an essay on dealing with anxiety while awaiting brain surgery to treat her aneurysm; while actress Lena Dunham has opened up about her experience checking herself into a mental healthcare facility. 

In the piece, Thompson says depression has many faces, and that while some are ‘positively demonic’ hers is ‘ironically undramatic.’ She compares her own experience of depression ‘like being wrapped in a cold, wet blanket.’ 

Her list of 20 tips – or ‘recipes’ – as she refers to the list, was inspired by English writer, Sydney Smith. Thomson has reworked Smith’s own advice on mental health and added her own points to come up with the list featured in It’s Not OK To Be Blue (and Other Lies).

At the top of her list, Thompson’s first rule is to ‘live as enjoyably as you can within financial reason.’ 

Emma Thompson
She’s known for her quirky, upbeat energy both on and off the silver screen, but Thompson has struggled with her own mental health issues for many years now. IMAGE: Reuters.

Within the list, Thompson stresses the importance of spending time with good friends. “See as much as you can of the friends who like you, support you and make you laugh,” the actress suggests. “See as little as you can of the friends who judge you, compare you to others and tire you (and don’t pretend you don’t know who they are),” she adds. 

Thompson suggests applying the same rules to casual acquaintances. “If your instincts tell you they are toxic, walk away and don’t look back,” she writes. 

Other tips from her list include:

“Do not under any circumstances or for any reason at any time compare yourself to anyone else.”

“Random acts of kindness are human antidepressants.”

“Listen to David Attenborough.” 

“Think as much as you can about space, infinity and the beyond. Anything that much bigger than you can be very relaxing.”

“Never stay up all night watching Netflix Originals about serial killers.”

In 2010 Thompson opened up about her struggles with depression and mental health in a Radio 4 interview. She revealed that the 1995 adaptation of Jane Austen’s Sense and Sensibility kept her from ‘going under’ and helped her beat negative thought patterns such as ‘the constant “must do better”, “must try harder” plus “you’re too fat and not really a very good mother.”‘

It’s Not OK to Feel Blue (and Other Lies) curated by Scarlett Curtis, is published on October 3.

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