Emotional Wellbeing


Mandy Kloppers

Positive Stress Interventions


laughing photo

Positive Stress Interventions


Do you ever feel stressed? I guess that’s a silly question. Even when you try (like I do daily…and often miss my target!) to stay calm, think positively and tell myself that nothing is going to destroy my ‘fab funk’, something invariably comes along to challenge my ‘serenity’. Like traffic jams, rude people, the cost of living, …..etc etc….

So what can we do to inject positive stress interventions to help us manage the crazy world we live in? I have a few suggestions…

This stress intervention technique is my favourite and I use it regularly when I feel myself ready to throttle someone or reach for that big fat dougnut…

1) Acceptance

Most unhappiness comes from the big fat hole that exists between how we want our life to be and how our life actually is. There is often a wide gap between how we envisaged our lives turning out (for me it was a lovely house, a kind adoring husband, lovely kids, a perfect figure,constant happiness…ummm….okay.back to reality) and the reality of life as it is.. (lovely house, no husband, lovely child, far from perfect figure, not constantly happy….sigh…). We can work ourselves up by all that isn’t right and exhaust ourselves in the process or we can accept the way things are. This doesn’t mean being passive and resigning yourself to a mediocre life, it’s about giving up the resistance and learning to deal with the cards you’ve been dealt. It’s okay to have ‘poor me’ days but when we stay too long in the ‘poor me, it’s so unfair, why me?’ mindset, we focus on what is wrong and not on solutions. Acceptance can bring with it a sense of calm and invite a new perspective. Say to yourself, “life is tough right now, this is how things are but it doesn’t mean it will be this way forever”.

2) Mindfulness

There are many triggers that can set us off on a daily basis where we begin focusing on our fears and insecurities. We feel bothered about the past and anxious about the future. Soon, we start the “what if” type thoughts and we’re off on a tangent…leading us deeper into more stressful thinking. Mindfulness is a wonderfully accessible and simple stress intervention. Focus your thinking back to the present moment. If you’re driving, focus on the song lyrics on the radio/cd and if you fid your mind wandering, put the song back to the beginning and start again. Practise being in the moment more. Observe, listen, touch, smell – take in your surroundings. The more ‘in the moment’ you are the less time your mind has to wander off and freak you out with mad irrational thoughts about things that may actually never happen.

3) Unhook from your thinking

This is a vital stress intervention. We need a thought to spark and emotion. If I ask you to feel angry right now, you will need to THINK  of something that makes you angry.So thoughts are the beginning point and they affect our quality of life enormously. Give up the negative thinking…look for ways to challenge your negative thoughts. If you catch yourself thinking, “I’m such a failure”..or “I’m useless”, think of examples in your life that contradict those thoughts. You will most certainly be able to find examples when you were not a failure or worthless. How does that help you in life anyway – thinking of yourself in negative terms? Well, it doesn’t. There can be absolutely no good that can come from reminding yourself of everything that is wrong with you. Imagine if someone gave you a parrot as a present. Imagine that parrot sitting in the corner of the room shouting negativity at you all day long…. “ah you loser, give it up, it’s no good. You can’t do it…”. Hopefully you would do the right thing and give the parrot up for adoption!

The same goes for your negative inner chatter – give it up.

These three stress interventions are great because they are practical and you can try them out anywhere. I really find they help me get back on track and feel calmer instantly.

Mandy X

laughing photo

Photo by JasonDGreat


Photo credit – Smiling Macaque monkey: David Slater