Positive Emotions Reduce Stress

We’re all feeling some sort of extra pressure and stress right now.

It’s the pressure of trying to work from home and balance family needs for some of us. For others, it’s that we are unable to see loved ones during lockdowns. For many people, stress is a part of everyday life and work.

Stress affects all of us at some point and for all kinds of reasons. In fact, 70% of GP visits are because of stress. Whatever is making you feel stressed, please know that there is no shame in it. Stress is a part of being human. It is our body’s reaction to mental, emotional or physical pressure and demand. We have been reacting to stressful situations in pretty much the same way since the caveman era. You’re not broken, you’re human!

Below we look at some of the tools we can use to reduce stress in 10 minutes or less.

How Stress Affects Emotions

Stress is something that we often experience in tandem with other negative feelings like anxiety and feeling sad. These feelings can become a cycle of difficult negative emotions that can be hard to shift.

Being stuck in a negative emotional cycle can lead to depression and make you feel isolated. It is an overwhelming experience that can become increasingly frustrating. You sometimes hear people describing stress as feeling heavy or as a pit of exhaustion. This is in part because of the physical symptoms of stress as our body reacts to how we feel.

How To Deal With Negative Emotions And Stress

Positive emotions are the antidote to stress. This might seem like a dilemma – how can you use positive emotions that you don’t currently have to get rid of the negative emotions you do have?

Here’s how to shift to a more positive emotional state when you are stressed:

You’ve no doubt heard of clearing the cache of your internet browser to make a website work better. Your brain can benefit from a reset too. When we sleep soundly, our brain naturally reboots and removes useless information and leaves space for new information. Have you ever noticed that you feel more stressed when you have had less sleep? That’s because your brain has not had sufficient time to spring clean whilst your rest.  This can lead to feelings of overwhelm and anxiety.

  1. Meditate (10 minutes)

Meditation can help your brain reset and in turn, help reduce your feelings of stress. Daily meditation is proven to improve stress levels, brain function, and increase positive feelings.

Find a quiet space where you will not be disturbed and something comfortable to sit on. Follow my free 10-minute guided happiness meditation here to help clear away that noise in your head.

2. Exercise (10 minutes)

Exercise releases endorphins which are the bodies natural way of creating positive emotions. Whichever exercise and intensity you are drawn to will help you create these happy chemicals. Even a brisk 10-minute walk outside can help you sleep better and reduce stress. 

3. Get Outside(10 minutes)

In Japan, the practice of forest bathing (shinrin-yoku) is used to ease stress. The great thing about forest bathing is that it’s as simple as walking or sitting in green leafy surroundings. Make sure you switch off your phone (or even better, leave it at home). Enjoy the sound of the wind in the leaves and the birds in the trees. Make yourself aware of the smells of the plants and flowers. Let your mind switch off. Start with 10 minutes of forest bathing and build up to longer sessions for even more benefits.

4. Practice Gratitude (5 minutes)

A daily gratitude practice of only a few minutes can move your mind into a more positive emotional state. Just five minutes a day spent acknowledging the things we are most grateful for is scientifically proven to positively impact:

  • Your self-esteem

  • Your sleep

  • Your stress levels

  • Your relationships

A Final Thought

When we are stressed it can sometimes feel like we will never feel better again. The overwhelming sense of pressure can be daunting. When you feel like this, remind yourself that you have the ability to control how you feel. It might take a little practice to create positive stress beating habits, but persevere and you will soon feel better.

Nothing is either good or bad, but thinking makes it so
— Shakespeare.

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