Mentally Strong Person of the Week: Yes Theory Host Thomas Brag

Thomas chooses to seek discomfort and he documents it all on video.

Thomas Brag is the mentally strong person of the week.

Verywell / Julie Bang

In the “Mentally Strong Person of the Week” series, I’ll share wisdom from some of my favorite guests on my podcast, “Mentally Strong People.” I’ll explain the strategies they use to stay mentally strong and then give you my take (as a therapist) on how you can apply these strategies to your own life.

Thomas Brag is one of the organizers and hosts of Yes Theory, a group that challenges people to step outside their comfort zones. Yes Theory has garnered a massive following, including more than six million YouTube subscribers who are interested in seeing the adventures and struggles Thomas and his co-hosts face as they challenge themselves to do difficult tasks.

Most of their challenges are social in nature. They challenge themselves to meet new people, visit new places, and do awkward things. Many of their challenges involve helping people or asking strangers to go on a trip with them.

Thomas talks openly about his struggles with anxiety. But whether he’s traveling to India by himself to stay in a stranger’s home or he’s encouraging Will Smith to bungee jump from a helicopter, he continues to seek discomfort.

Thomas shared the many strategies he uses to stay mentally strong. Here are three tips I especially like and my take on why they’re so helpful. 

Thomas Brag

The moments you’re willing to overcome situations that (in your mind) are scary often leave you on the other side feeling stronger, feeling braver, and feeling fulfilled.

— Thomas Brag

 Be kind to other people.

Thomas talked about the importance of being kind to other people because you don’t know what someone else is going through. Many of his videos show how extending a little kindness to strangers makes a big difference in their lives. Something as simple as saying hello to someone or listening to them could change everything. 

Thomas Brag

There are so many amazing people that you can just randomly meet with the most incredible stories that you’d never expect.

— Thomas Brag

My Take

Showing kindness is good for the recipient, but it’s also good for the giver. When you are kind to someone, your body releases “feel good” hormones, like oxytocin and endorphins. These can give you a big boost in happiness.

Research shows there’s a clear link between kindness and happiness. Kind people are happy, and happy people are kind. So if you want to boost your mood, make it a priority to do something kind every single day. 

Be kind to yourself.

Thomas said he’s working on being kinder to himself, too. He recognizes that sometimes it’s so much easier to treat others with compassion while being critical of ourselves. But he recognizes how important it is to treat himself with kindness

Thomas Brag

Be kind to yourself. Be patient. Take things step by step. And I promise it's going to work out.

— Thomas Brag

My Take

Self-compassion is vital to good mental health. Research on self-compassion reveals that it can lead to higher levels of happiness, more productivity, lower risk of mental health problems like depression and anxiety, better feelings of self-worth, and better body image. It’s a simple but powerful way to improve your psychological well-being. 

Seek discomfort.

Yes Theory’s motto is “Seek Discomfort,” and Thomas has made it his mission to put this motto into practice. Whether he’s challenging himself to strike up a conversation with a stranger or he’s visiting a new country by himself, he goes out of his way to do things that feel uncomfortable.

Thomas Brag

Discomfort never feels good in the moment. But then when you come out of it, you realize how valuable the experience was.

— Thomas Brag


My Take

Our natural tendency is to run from things that feel uncomfortable. But the more you escape discomfort, the less tolerable uncomfortable things will feel. Escaping anything that causes even the slightest bit of distress decreases your tolerance for discomfort.

When you force yourself to experience difficult things, you’ll learn that you’re stronger than you think. And you’ll discover that although things like embarrassment and failure feel uncomfortable, you can handle it. You’ll build confidence in yourself, and you’ll create a richer, more fulfilling life.

To hear more of Thomas’s mental strength suggestions, listen to the full episode on my Mentally Strong People podcast. Each week, I’ll share another Mentally Strong Person and explain how their strategies can help you think, feel, and do your best in life.

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  1. Kathryn E. Buchanan & Anat Bardi. Acts of Kindness and Acts of Novelty Affect Life Satisfaction, The Journal of Social Psychology. 2010. 150:3, 235-237, DOI: 10.1080/00224540903365554