In today’s fast-paced world, stress has become an all-too-common companion, leading to dire and significant consequences that impact our physical and mental well-being. If unchecked and unaddressed, prolonged stress can lead to many physical ailments such as a weakened immune system, cardiovascular conditions, diabetes, digestive problems, insomnia, and fatigue. It can also significantly compromise our mental emotional health, contributing to anxiety, irritability, mood swings, depression, overwhelm, difficulty concentrating, and an inability to make sound decisions.
Unfortunately, in our modern world of hustle, it’s all too easy to fall into a lifestyle punctuated by chronic or constant stress. Now, more than ever before, it’s vital to find effective ways to relieve stress and cultivate a positive mindset in order to live a fulfilling and happy lifestyle.
About a decade and a half ago, living in a chronically stressed state pushed me into obesity, depression, infertility, and burnout. It was the lowest point in my life, and quite frankly, I wasn’t sure if I’d survive it. The five mindset tools I want to share with you today helped me pull myself out of burnout, rebuild my life and create Power of Positivity by creating relief from the stress that I was putting on myself and begin thriving. If you’re feeling like you’re being buried under the burdens of your stress, give these simple strategies a try.
1. Deep Breathing Exercises: The Power of Breath
Deep breathing exercises have been used for centuries to promote relaxation and reduce stress. When you’re stressed, your breathing becomes shallow and rapid. This signals your body to enter a stress state often referred to as “fight, flight, or flee.” In my book, The Comfort Zone: Create a Life You Really Love With Less Stress and More Flow, I talk in depth about how pushing yourself out of your comfort zone into your survival zone can push you into a stress response, where your physical and mental health become compromised and you become more susceptible to illness and burnout. By consciously practicing deep breathing, you activate the parasympathetic nervous system, thereby guiding yourself back into your comfort zone where you feel more safe. This counteracts the stress response, normalizes your heart rate, and returns clarity to your thinking. Scientifically, oxygenating your body with deep breaths has shown to reduce anxiety, promote calmness, and alleviate overthinking. Next time you’re in a stressful event, are about to enter a meeting, or even before bed, take a few deep breaths. Actually, do it now! Close your eyes and take three deep, deliberate breaths, filling up your lungs with as much air as you can, and then releasing slowly, making sure that your exhale is longer than your inhale. If you do this several times every day, you’ll start to rewire your brain, organs, and neural system for more calm, clarity, and health.
2. Auto Suggestions and Affirmations: Harnessing the Power of the Mind
Your thoughts and beliefs have a profound impact on your emotions and behaviors. One of the easiest and most effective ways to rewire your mind for positivity is by incorporating positive auto suggestions and affirmations into your daily routine. Using these science-backed techniques completely transformed my life and I still use them to become the next level version of myself. You can do this by journaling your favorite affirmations in the morning. I do this every morning in my 3 Minute Happiness Journal. The key is to use the same affirmations and harness the power of repetition until you full embody them. You can write your affirmations or you can use them as auto suggestions by listening to the recordings of affirmations during the day or before bed and reading your affirmations throughout the day. One way that I’ll incorporate affirmations into my daily life is by recording myself reading my personal affirmations and then listening to this recording on my morning walks. I’ll also set reminder timers on my phone that will pop up throughout the day with my affirmations. Whenever this happens, I’ll take a moment to close my eyes and repeat the affirmation to myself a few times and feel the feeling of it’s truth. One powerful tool available to you is the Power of Positivity App affirmation texts by going here.
3. Go Outside: Nature’s Healing Touch
It’s easy to underestimate the healing power of nature. Stepping outside, immersing yourself in sunshine, and breathing in the fresh air can have a transformative effect on your well-being. Not only does being in nature provide a break from the hustle and bustle of daily life, but it also allows you to ground yourself and find pockets of inner peace. One of my favorite things to do when I feel stressed is walk barefoot in the grass. I’m always amazed by how quickly the stress and negativity of the day drains out of me when I establish a direct connection with the earth. I also feel more energized. Physical activities outside of the house or out in nature are also very powerful. Next time you feel stressed, take a few moments and go out for a power walk or a bike ride. If possible, feel the earth under your bare feet and the sun or wind on your face. Allow the healing, grounding power of nature to reset, recharge, and boost your energy.
4. Supplements: Nurturing Your Body and Mind
The right supplements can play a supportive role in managing stress and promoting health and happiness. However, it’s essential to consult with your healthcare professional such as a doctor or nutritionist before incorporating any new supplements into your routine. For me, supplements like magnesium, B vitamins, and those targeted at supporting adrenal and cortisol health have helped reduce stress level. Your specific supplemental needs may be different from mine. By nourishing your body with the right supplements, you can complement your stress relief efforts and support your body’s natural functions.
5. Journaling: Expressing and Releasing Dormant Emotions
One of the favorite and most powerful tools that I use for self-reflection and emotional release is journaling. In her book Atlas of the Heart, researcher Brene Brown talks about the healing power of identifying, understanding, and expressing the emotions that lie dormant within you. As you give voice to what you’re feeling, the negative emotions you’re experiencing begin to release and you’re able to feel more positive emotions like relief, hope, calmness, and gratitude. Both morning and evening journaling are powerful ways to counter stress, release negativity, and foster a happier mindset. In the morning, journaling allows you to set intentions for your day, express gratitude, and release lingering concerns. In the evening, it helps you process your experiences, let go of negative emotions, and cultivate a sense of closure. This is why I have created two journals to help my audience harness the power of positivity and happiness within their own life by developing a daily journaling habit.
In addition to these five practical and simple tools, there are numerous other practices that can help you reduce your stress and access a happier life. Some of my favorites are expressing gratitude, engaging in acts of service, reading personal development books, using lavender oil for relaxation, and spending quality time with my family and loved ones. What are some ways you release stress? Let me know in the comments below.
Kristen Butler is a bestselling author and the CEO of Power of Positivity, a community with over 50 MM followers globally. Kristen was awarded SUCCESS magazine’s Emerging Entrepreneur in 2022. She is a leader, writer, and visionary in personal development with a huge heart and captivating authenticity. Her mission is to uplift the planet!