| Most Popular Article Of The Week:


Craft a More Positive Mindset for a Freer, Happier Life


Photo: Shutterstock

Nowadays, it seems like stress is everywhere. With the constant news cycle, loads of uncertainty, and challenges of the current work environment, it can feel like life has been spinning out of control for quite some time. 

But the truth is, a lot of life has always been outside of our control, even before the pandemic. We can’t determine what will happen in the world, our jobs, or how people will respond to us. 

Uncertainty is a constant of life. You really only have control over two areas of life—yourself and your mindset. The people who have chosen to craft a positive mindset feel better day in and day out because they focus on the things they can control—their approach to life and interpretation of what’s happening around them.

If you’re sick of feeling the stress and are exasperated by the world around you, here’s a few steps to start crafting a more positive mindset to allow yourself to live a freer and happier life. 

Acknowledge That Stress Is Natural

If we’re feeling stressed or burnt out, very often we think that something is wrong, or we need to push harder to get everything done so that the stress will go away. In fact, stress is quite natural and can even be beneficial when in small doses and regulated. Our brains were wired in our primal days to be on high alert for threats in our environment, because at the time, it helped keep us safe and alive. 

When you perceive a threat in your environment, whether it’s a car swerving into your lane on the highway or anticipating a tense conversation with a coworker, our bodies and minds have physical stress responses (most commonly known as the fight or flight response). 

Short-term stress is helpful, because it allows our bodies and minds to rise to the challenge and become stronger and more adaptable to the world around us. The danger of stress is when it’s unregulated and constant—eventually leading to burnout, lack of motivation, fatigue, and so much more. Our brains are not designed to handle chronic stress well, so the ability to self regulate your stress is one of the most powerful tools you can learn to create more joy and inner peace in your life. 

Audit Your Daily Schedule And Thoughts

The first step in shifting out of a constant state of stress is becoming aware of where you’re at today. We recommend taking a ‘Stress Audit’ to evaluate the areas of your life: 


What people are creating stress currently and what people are draining it? Do I feel better after interacting with them?


What daily tasks and activities are adding to my stress? What tasks and activities are reducing my stress or feel calming to do?


Your internal dialogue is one of the few areas you have control over in life. By becoming aware of our thoughts, we can start to shift how we’re interpreting situations and experiences around us. A good place to start is: what’s my first thought when I wake up in the morning? Monitor the stressful thoughts you’re having throughout the day and write down your most common thoughts that are adding stress to your life and the thoughts that are reducing stress.


What am I consuming that is adding to my stress? What am I consuming that is reducing my stress? Areas to look at are TV, social media, books, the news, podcasts, etc. 

Determine The Ideal of How You’d Like To Be Feeling 

When was the last time you took a moment to set a goal for how you want to feel?  Reaching your professional and personal goals are great, but often the satisfaction is fleeting. If you look deeper, you’ll find that what we often crave is the emotion associated with the achievement instead of the achievement itself. When you create an ideal list of emotions, you’re able to create these emotions without depending on reaching an external goal or accomplishment. 

A simple exercise to get started is to create your own “Words to Live By” list of the ideal emotions you want to be experiencing day to day. 

How do you want to feel? Happy? Calm? Productive? Aligned? Energetic? Peaceful?

Once you have your list, you can start to shift your interactions with people, activities, thoughts, and content to align with those words from your audit above. 

When you’re making a decision on what to do, think, or prioritize, revisit the list to examine if it fits into your Words to Live By list. This allows you to create a more positive, purposeful day and start crafting a more positive mindset and approach to life. 

Make Small Changes Consistently

When making shifts in your life, it can be easy to get swept up in the excitement and make big changes initially. Lasting change happens in small doses over time, and you’re more likely to stay accountable if you’re making small shifts instead of massive ones. For example, if you notice that social media is causing a lot of stress in your life, don’t try to cut it out completely immediately. Instead, start by limiting your time on one app this week. Next week, reduce the time a bit more. This is more manageable for the brain to handle and helps create lasting change long term for each area of life. 

Want more ideas for happy living? Check out Spark Joy with 7 Tips for a Happier Life.

About The Author
Michelle Wax

Michelle Wax is the founder of American Happiness Project and hosts virtual team workshops to help your team build positive habits, use stress to your advantage, increase productivity levels, resilience, and happiness while working from home. To inquire about booking a workshop series, visit