7 Positive Ways to Reduce Stress

7 Ways to Reduce StressLucrative opportunities always come your way.

Extraordinary ideas flow to you in a river of abundance.

Every choice holds limitless possibilities.

Everyone is in your corner. No one is against you.

How would your life be different if you actually believed this? How would these beliefs impact your decisions? Your relationships? Particularly during times of stress?

One day last week, I facilitated a difficult consensus seminar with members of a small business. Resentments with deep roots among participants bubbled up like molten lava during discussions and exploded into rage during the concluding activity.

Every choice holds limitless possibilities.

I promised them that I would return next week. Throughout the days leading up to our next meeting, I invited them to practice saying to themselves, “Everyone is in my corner. No one is against me.” I encouraged them to repeat it as a mantra – whether they believed it or not. I was eager to see what direction their collaborative efforts would go.

Later that afternoon, I passed through a university dining hall on my way to an evening workshop with college students who couldn’t wait to share their career plans with me and with one another. I carried a salad and pear to the check-out counter.

“You can’t have that,” snapped a cafeteria worker. “That’s for students.”

“But I’m faculty,” I replied, holding up my university badge. I think my voice begged, “But I’m hungry.”

Everyone is in my corner.

“I’ve got it!” chirped a student as she passed through the line. She zipped her student meal card through the magnetic card reader. And she disappeared.

“Where did she go?” I asked, spinning around. “I want to thank her.”

“Students do that all the time,” laughed the cafeteria worker. “Nice kids.”

Lucrative opportunities always come my way.

7 Positive Ways to Reduce Stress“Your life is carefully designed by you,” said Stephen Covey, author of The 7 Habits of Highly Effective People. “You choose happiness. You choose sadness. You choose decisiveness. You choose ambivalence.” He added, “Just remember that every moment, every situation, provides a new choice. And in doing so, it gives you a perfect opportunity to do things differently to produce more positive results.”

Success – and managing stress – is all about perspective. We can view stress as a massive warning sign that cautions us to fight or take cover. Or we can accept stress as an important arrow that directs us into other, more positive and lucrative opportunities.

Travis Bradbury, author of Emotional Intelligence 2.0 and contributing writer at Forbes.com, explained that stress (and the anxiety that comes with it) is “an absolutely essential emotion. Stress can be an invitation to do routine things in new ways.”

Bradbury identified 7 paramount beliefs held by successful individuals:

Appreciate What You Have. – Gratitude affects mood because it reduces the stress hormone cortisol by 23%. Research conducted at the University of California showed that those who practiced an attitude of gratitude experienced greater optimism, energy, and physical well-being.

Stay Positive. – Positive thoughts shift your attention. During stress-filled moments, take a moment to think about something that is positive. You may recall a lesson learned, a new relationship formed, an upcoming event, or a good joke. We are more successful and more productive when we feel happier and hopeful.

Disconnect. – Allow time during the day to turn off your phone or take an email break. Studies have shown that something as simple as a break during the day lowers stress levels.

Create a Regular Sleep Routine. – When you sleep, your brain recharges. Sleep deprivation raises stress hormone levels. Demanding projects may make you feel as if you have no time to sleep, but lack of a regular sleep routine is often the one thing that prevents you from greater productivity.

Develop Positive Self-Talk – The more you ruminate on negative thoughts, the more power you give them. Facts are not feelings. When you listen to negative pessimistic criticism from your inner voice, your confidence diminishes.

You have the power to replace negative thought with positive affirmations, such as:

  • Rewarding opportunities come easily and effortlessly to me.
  • Obstacles disappear. I am destined for greatness.
  • Extraordinary ideas flow to you in a river of abundance.
  • Lucrative opportunities always come your way.

The most effective way to transform your life is to transform your perception of yourself. Positive affirmations quiet negative thought patterns and discipline your mind to focus on the unlimited power within you where all things are possible.

Affirmations reframe your perspective.  Stress and worry are fueled by our own skewed perception of events. It’s easy to blame unrealistic deadlines, unforgiving bosses, and out-of-control traffic for our anger and tension. You may not be able to control circumstances surrounding you, but you can control how you respond to them. Take time to put stressful situations into perspective. Remember the only things you can truly control are your words, your actions, your decisions, and your behavior.

Affirmations allow you to breathe. The practice of being in the moment with your breathing will train your brain to focus solely on the task at hand and the present moment. Breathing invites calm, allows us to be open to new solutions, and provides ways to let go of distracting thoughts.

Dr. Michelle Robin, author of Wellness on a Shoestring, adds that clearing the clutter around you and your space also reduces stress. “Clutter has a way of creeping up on us. Take a look around your surroundings on a regular basis,” explains Dr. Robin. “Try and make it your goal to reduce clutter, eliminate piles and create systems. This will allow you to create a relaxing, inviting environment – whether at work or at home – and will go a long way toward reducing stress.”

William James once said, “The greatest weapon against stress is our ability to choose one thought over another.” If you believe you live in an abundant universe, you must intentionally, purposely embrace the belief that good things happen and positive outcomes constantly flow into your life.

And, if you don’t feel particularly positive and stress-free today, invite the positive and stress-free energy of grace to flow into you. Breathe. 

Believe that good things can happen.

It must start with one positive thought.

What do you do to reduce stress in your life?


Create your own positive affirmations with these tips from Put the Positive in Your Affirmation.

Having trouble creating positive self-talk? Learn to Replace Old Tapes with New Messages.

Rock your positive attitude with these suggestions from 8 Ways to Feel More Positive.


6 Responses to 7 Positive Ways to Reduce Stress
  1. Hi Julie – once again … thank you for another brilliant and insightful article. I love the way you tell a story from your own experience to highlight the principle you are describing.

    If you had said no more than give us the superb quote by Stephen Covey, we would have enough to inwardly digest for the rest of the month. Thought-provoking indeed:

    “Your life is carefully designed by you,…. ”You choose happiness. You choose sadness. You choose decisiveness. You choose ambivalence…. Just remember that every moment, every situation, provides a new choice. And in doing so, it gives you a perfect opportunity to do things differently to produce more positive results.”

    • Words have power. We choose our own perception, our attitude, and how we choose to interpret the events and circumstances around us. We possess much more power than we give ourselves credit for!
      Many thanks for sharing, Merv.

  2. I’m glad that the first stress reducer listed is “They Appreciate What They Have” – Gratitude affects mood because it reduces the stress hormone cortisol by 23%.

    I think Cicero got it right when he said, ‘Gratitude is not only the greatest of virtues, but the parent of all others.`

    I just `stumbled` on a fascinating TED talk called “Gratitude”
    Nature’s beauty can be easily missed — but not through Louie Schwartzberg’s lens. His stunning time-lapse photography, accompanied by powerful words from Benedictine monk Brother David Steindl-Rast, serves as a meditation on being grateful for every day.


  3. If we wanted to add an eighth tip to reduce stress this TED video could help …

    “How to make stress your friend” – by Kelly McGonigal

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