Reducing Stress With Positive Energy

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Negative self-talk—the tendency to interpret things in the world in a pessimistic way and have a self-limiting inner voice—can create significant stress in your life, and exacerbate the stressful situations you already face. So developing more positive self-talk is an important way to reduce stress. You can help yourself maintain a positive frame of mind by surrounding yourself with positive energy in your life.

Effects of Negativity

Negative self-talk and negative energy can have consequences that may not be obvious, and even extend to those you come in contact with. Some of the more insidious effects of negative self-talk are:

Increased perception of stress: When your inner dialogue is negative, it can actually exacerbate your perception of what you face, making something that may merely be annoying feel unmanageable, or something that's semi-stressful feel like a nightmare. When the language in your inner dialogue is more negative, your experience becomes more negative too.

Pessimistic thinking: When your inner voice is more negative, your whole thought process can be more negative as well. This becomes a habit and eventually colors the whole way you see the world and your place in it.

Self-limitation: When you see things in a more negative way, you're less likely to seek out, or even recognize, opportunities that come across your path. This is common in those who are more pessimistic, and it can lead to less success in a variety of situations.

How to Create Positive Energy

To transform your self-talk and your mood from negative to positive, it's important to surround yourself with positive energy, feelings, and people. You can do that with:

Uplifting Music

Listening to music that has a soothing melody and an uplifting message can help you develop positive self-talk. Have you ever had song lyrics stuck in your head for a few hours or days? If those lyrics are positive and inspirational, they make a much better mental soundtrack than a running stream of complaints, criticisms or self-limiting thoughts, or depressing or sad lyrics. Plus, there are other benefits to music for stress relief.

Inspirational Books

Books on strength, personal power, enlightenment, or self-help can be good resources to help you change your outlook and the things you say to yourself. Rather than triggering habitual self-defeating thoughts, you can find yourself thinking of new can-do concepts when times get tough. For shifting your paradigm, try Gary Zukav’s "The Heart of the Soul," or Sarah Ban Breathnach’s classic "Simple Abundance." You can also read books on general or specific aspects of stress management to change your whole relationship with stress. 

Positive People

One of the most important ways to get (and keep) positive energy in your life is with the company you keep. Do your friends lift you up, or bring you down? Are they critical, or complimentary? Positive friendships provide support when you’re down, fun when you’re up, and wisdom when you’re lost. Good friends can inspire you to reach greater heights, and see your strengths even when you don’t. Pay attention to how your friends make you feel, and if they’re less than supportive, start putting your energy and time toward people who are better suited to be your friend.

Practice Affirmations

Positive affirmations can subtly but pervasively change your self-talk from negative to positive. If you see things more in terms of possibilities rather than limitations—as what can be done rather than as what can't, and begin to focus more on solutions than on problems, and this can lower your stress levels by helping you feel more in control. 

The Loving-Kindness Meditation

This type of meditation is not only simple to practice, but can increase your feelings of compassion, your capacity for forgiveness, and your sense of connection with others. It also can increase your self-acceptance, which can relieve stress in itself. This activity also brings general benefits of meditation, so it's definitely worth doing. It involves focusing positive feelings first toward yourself, then expanding them to those you care about the most, then friends and acquaintances, then those in your community, your country, and around the world to an ever-expanding circle of people. 

Reframed Thoughts

If you spend time thinking about proactive things you can do to solve problems, you'll feel less stressed than if you spend time in rumination, focusing on the negative feelings and past experiences. If you find yourself focusing mostly on the negative, gently bring your mind to what's good in your life, or at least on what can be done to move past these stressful situations. 

Focusing on creating a more positive inner life can help you to feel more positive energy all around you. Maintaining a gratitude journal is another effective strategy for this. You bring positive energy to yourself by reflecting on everything that's great in your life each day, and you then have a nice record to read over later when you need an emotional pick-me-up.

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