How to Stay Positive During Times of Stress

Do you ever wonder how exactly you’re supposed to feel positive, hopeful and optimistic when life seems to be handing you nothing but a whole lot of stress? 

I totally get that.

And the truth is, I’m not immune to stress and I’m not positive all of the time, but that’s not the goal.

You don’t have to be stress free and positive 100% of the time in order to be happy.

You just need to know how to move from a place of feeling weighed down by your heavy thoughts to being able to see your options, feel hopeful and focus on what’s working.

And I’ve got a strategy that can help.

By practicing this technique consistently—for even just 5 minutes a day—you’ll be amazed at how quickly you can move into a more positive frame of mind, regardless of what else is going on in your life.

This technique is great to use during times of stress, but it’s an especially powerful way to get in the habit of starting your days in a positive frame of mind. 

Journal Your Way To Happiness Technique:

The goal of this technique is to learn how to create movement within your thoughts so that you don’t get stuck when life feels stressful. It’s not to eradicate all stress from your life or to stay positive 100% of the time—that’s just not realistic.

But it is absolutely possible to create a more positive mindset, to move through negative thoughts and to just generally feel more hopeful each and every day.

Ideally, you’ll set aside about 15-20 minutes each day. You might have to prompt yourself initially but you will get to a point where you just naturally move through these 5 steps. And the really cool thing is you’ll start to do this anytime you notice those heavy thoughts creeping in.

Grab a journal and a pen and give it a try.

Step 1. Where are you stuck?

Begin by writing down where in your life you’re struggling, facing a problem or  feeling stuck.

Are you…

  • Dealing with a problem at work?
  • Feeling overwhelmed by what’s happening in the world?
  • Worried about your health or the health of your loved ones?

Go into detail about what specifically is weighing heavily on your mind right now. Get it all out.

Step 2. What do you want instead?

Ask yourself what you want instead, what is your version of the best case scenario?

Would you like to work somewhere else or change careers? If so, what would you like that to look like? Would you like to feel calmer or more optimistic? If so, what exactly would make that possible and how would you be different once you’re feeling that way? Would you like to know that you’re healthy and safe? If so, what do you need to know, believe, trust or see in order to know that?

Step 3. What’s blocking you?

Write down everything that’s getting in your way, as it relates to this specific scenario. It could be thoughts/beliefs/doubts, past experiences, what friends and family are saying—anything at all.

What’s preventing you from seeing your best case scenario as possible?

Do you worry that no one is hiring right now or that it’s too late to change careers? Do you see your friends and family fighting on Facebook or feel overwhelmed by all the scary headlines populating your newsfeed? Have you struggled with your health in the past so you’re feeling especially vulnerable right now?

Step 4. Ask for guidance.

What is it that you need in order to move through what’s blocking you and what are you willing to do. This can be in the form of a prayer or a simple request.

For example, please guide me so that I can see it’s possible to change careers at this point in my life. Help me to know that it’s not too late and that my skill set and experience is needed. Please help me to see the value that I bring to the table and to share that with confidence. Guide me to find the opportunities that I’m excited about and that would be a great fit. I am open to any possible outcome and I’m willing to do my part, please show me the way.

5. Say thank you.

Simply close out your journaling by writing thank you, thank you, thank you. Acknowledge and appreciate yourself as well as any guidance you’ve received during this process.

In the comments section, let me know if you’re going to give this exercise a try!