Advertisement

Sarah Hyland says having open conversations is important for mental wellness: 'If you just keep it in, it becomes a cyclical pattern'

Love Island host Sarah Hyland shares the benefits of connecting with nature for her mental health. (Photo: Getty; designed by Quinn Lemmers)
Love Island USA host Sarah Hyland shares the benefits of connecting with nature for her mental health. (Photo: Getty; designed by Quinn Lemmers)

The Unwind is Yahoo Life’s well-being series in which experts, influencers and celebrities share their approaches to wellness and mental health, from self-care rituals to setting healthy boundaries to the mantras that keep them afloat.

Actress and entrepreneur Sarah Hyland is giving a whole new meaning to the phrase mind over matter.

Between hosting reality dating TV show Love Island USA, co-founding vitamin-infused chocolate brand Sourse and prepping for Peacock's Pitch Perfect series, things can get pretty hectic for the 31-year-old.

But you'll seldom catch Hyland harping on her seemingly endless to-do list. Instead, the Modern Family actress, who married longtime love Wells Adams on Saturday, opts for a mindset of gratitude and optimism.

"How you talk to yourself is a big factor in your mental health. When I find myself saying things that are bad about myself, like, 'I don't want to do this,' 'I'm tired,' 'I don't have the strength to do this,' I will say something out loud like, 'I get to do this,' 'I have the privilege of doing this,' 'I'm alive,' 'I'm breathing,' 'I am perfect,'" Hyland tells Yahoo Life.

In addition to situational reframing, Hyland cannot overstate the importance of connecting to the world around her.

"A really important technique is to do grounding work, where you're just in nature barefoot and you can really connect with the Earth and the vibrations," she says. "I know it sounds really 'woo woo,' but I think it's so important to connect back to where we are, who we are, and to just kind of close off all of your brain other than just like your senses. How do you feel the ground? What do you hear in the air? What do you smell? What can you see?"

This practice also helps Hyland manage her anxiety.

"I use it when I start having an anxiety attack or anything of that nature," she says.

Stigmas surrounding mental health have made it a difficult point of conversation for years, but Hyland says she has always had a particular interest in the workings of the mind.

"I was always interested in psychology, purely from an actor standpoint," she says, adding that literary works also influenced her interest.

"I read Girl Interrupted, and of course, watched [the movie] and was just obsessed with that book as well as Sylvia Plath and just reading a lot of authors that really focus on mental health. I just happened to stumble across them or had to read them for school and then became obsessed," she says.

In fact, Hyland was so intrigued by psychology she would have pursued it in school had she not become an actress.

"If I had gone to college, I would have been a psych major," she says.

Conversations and openness surrounding mental wellness are very important to Hyland, who wishes there was less taboo surrounding mental health when she was growing up.

"When I was a kid and a teenager, [mental health] wasn't spoken about a lot in the public. If there had been someone that I knew of that did speak about it maybe it would have hit a little bit more close to home," she says. "It's important for all of us to talk about it and have open conversations; that's how I think you're really able to work through something because if you just keep it in, it becomes a cyclical pattern."

In addition to open dialogues and intentional time in nature, Hyland is a huge animal lover and says her dogs have offered her immeasurable support during some of her darkest days.

"I did go through the worst times of my life in my 20s, the hardest times at least, and my dogs were able to be there for me through all of that and I think they're just such an endless well of unconditional love," she says. "Going on hikes with Boo helped me a lot."

In alignment with her love of animals, Hyland is teaming up with Autotrader to celebrate National Dog Day on Aug. 26. In honor of man's best friend, Autotrader has released a list of 2022's best cars for dog lovers.

"I have a really tiny car and I wish I had something like that," says Hyland.

Autotrader is giving away a matching charm set for pets and their owners: a matching keychain and collar charm so you can ride in style. Dog lovers can enter for a chance to win from Aug. 23 through Sept. 6 on Dogtrader.com.

"It's so cute. It's like those Best Friends Forever charm necklaces that used to give your friends back in the day. It's like half a bone for a keychain for your car keys and a matching dog collar charm for your dog," says Hyland.

Autotrader has also partnered with Adopt-a-Pet.com to help shelter dogs find their forever homes, a cause very important to Hyland.

"I think it's super important because these animals really need us and as much as we say that, I think we also really need them," she says.

Wellness, parenting, body image and more: Get to know the who behind the hoo with Yahoo Life's newsletter. Sign up here.