6 Powerful TED Talks about Mental Health

I first heard about TED Talks about 10 years ago when I was spending a lazy Saturday at my computer playing the YouTube game. I remember watching one...and then another...and then becoming fascinated and intrigued by the various topics and amazing presenters. It wasn't long before I was hooked and always looking for more.

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Flash forward to today and the art of the TED Talk is still growing strong. Founded in 1984 as a conference, TED Talk stands for Technology, Education, and Design. Funny considering that for years I assumed it might just be a really cool guy named Ted. Where is this guy?! Can I meet him?! ::sigh::

Over the past few months, I've been finding some awesome talks on anxiety, depression, and mental health in general. These are some of the ones that resonated with me on a deep level but in no way is this a complete list. Please feel free to share other TED Talks that have really spoken to you in the comments below.

Let's get to the list!

Walking on Custard: How Physics Helps Anxious Humans | Neil Hughes | TEDxLeamingtonSpa

Neil gets right to the point about anxiety and explains how the word "anxiety" itself is such a broader spectrum than the way it's used. Anxiety can be used to describe nervousness around an upcoming exam or it can also explain the debilitating feeling of not being able to leave the house. In under 15 minutes, Neil will make you laugh and feel really inspired about finding your own solid ground.

How to Practice Emotional First Aid | Guy Winch | TED Talks

Guy describes how loneliness can make us believe that others around us don't care about us as much as they actually do. We often go to the doctor when we have physical pain but tend to ignore emotional pain, guilt, and loneliness. By encouraging others to practice emotional hygiene, Guy inspires us to take care of our feelings like we would any physical ailment.

Getting stuck in the negatives (and how to get unstuck) | Alison Ledgerwood | TEDxUCDavis

Alison talks us through why our minds naturally get stuck in the negative. Once we've considered something as a loss, it's a lot harder to convert it to a positive. Hearing the science behind our negativity bias can be comforting, knowing that you aren't alone if you've felt this way. Alison reminds us that seeing life in a positive way can take a little more effort and offers some ways to do this on a daily basis to change the ways our minds react.

Kelly McGonigal: How to Make Stress your Friend

I've watched this TED Talk close to 10 times over the past handful of years. Kelly powerfully explains how changing how we view stress can drastically change how it impacts our lives.

The Power of Vulnerability | Brené Brown | TED Talks

Brené talks about how shame and vulnerability are an important part of connection and growing a foundation of love and support. When people fully embrace what makes them vulnerable, they were able to feel more courageous, beautiful, and worthy in their own lives. An inspirational talk that you will want to share with others.

Depression, the Secret We Share | Andrew Solomon | TED Talks

Last but certainly not least - this TED Talk gave me chills when I first watched it. Andrew's description and account of depression resonates deeply within me and is an important talk to watch if you've ever experienced depression or wish to know what it's like for someone who has. Below I've included a couple quotes from his talk that are both accurate and profound.

"And one of the things that often gets lost in the discussions of depression is that it's ridiculous, you know it's ridiculous while you're experiencing it. You know that most people manage to listen to their messages and eat and organize themselves to take a shower and go out the front door and that it's not a big deal. Yet you are none the less in its grip, you are unable to figure out any way around it. And so you begin to find yourself doing less, thinking less, and feeling less..."

"It's the sensation of being afraid all of the time but not even knowing what you're afraid of."

Sarah Steckler