Positive-Thinking Exercises to Undo Stressful Thoughts

Medically reviewed in February 2021

Sometimes the noise from inside our own heads is the biggest stressor of all. But here's the phrase that can turn things around for you: "My mind is calm."

Positive thinking and affirmations like this one may be key to stress-free health, according to Dr. Maoshing Ni, Traditional Chinese Medicine practitioner and author of Second Spring.

Stress Spiral
Negative thoughts are bad news for the body, since stress causes wear and tear on many physical health systems. Dr. Ni recommends using positive thinking to reduce that stress. By repeating calming, soothing and positive affirmations to ourselves we can feed the body nourishing mental energy.

Make Your Own Mantra
Positive thinking exercises, like affirmative self-talk, can help you feel calm and peaceful. So when negative thoughts crop up, imagine a big stop sign in your head, and tell yourself, "Stop!" Then, replace the downer thought with a positive, soothing message. Think of what it is you wish were true, and then state it over and over, as if it were true. Here are some examples of positive thinking that can help you feel empowered and ready to face the day:

  • When you exercise and feel tired, think, "I am strong."
  • When you pass by a mirror, think, "I am the perfect weight for me."
  • When you set to work on a hard task, think, "I can accomplish anything."
  • When you feel overwhelmed, think, "I trust in the process of life."

Avoid a meltdown. Keep emotions in check with these five strategies.

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