7 Practical Ways I Fight Against Stress and Negative Thoughts

Hey friends!

Happy Monday! I hope your weekend was a good one!  I had an extra great day with the kiddos yesterday while they helped me with a project at home.  (I’ll be sharing it in our Notes from Home video this week!)

Today, I’m sitting in my favorite coffee shop looking at a list of ideas I had for future posts on my blog.  A couple of weeks ago, I kept thinking of something that I wanted to share with y’all.  It wouldn’t leave my mind, so I wrote it down as a possible post idea. 

It wasn’t about a renovation project, or home decor, or what’s going on in our family’s life.  

Instead, it was something that I struggle with sometimes, and that is stress and negative thinking. 

Now, I am not a negative person.  I’m a positive, glass-half-full kind of person.  I see the potential in people and things, and I LOVE life!  I have no problem being positive about others.

But I DO struggle with being positive toward myself sometimes.  

Sometimes the voices in my head are louder than other days, but I am tend to beat myself up for not being a good mom, or a good cook, or a good friend.  I look at myself and struggle with getting older and things “changing” in the way I look.  I compare myself to others and wish I could do or be more like someone else.  

I don’t think I’m weird for struggling with these thoughts.  On the contrary, I think I am VERY normal.  I think this is something all people struggle with, especially women.  (Why are we so hard on ourselves?!)

So, I started thinking about the practical things that I do to help me whenI am feeling stress or struggling with negative thoughts, and I thought I would share them with you. 

They are nothing earth shattering, but they have definitely helped me.  

From what I read, to what I do, to what I eat….here are my top 7 ideas!

#1  Spend time in God’s Word.

The living, breathing word of God is powerful and life changing.  When I read his word, it transforms my heart and mind.  the Bible is filled with His blessings and promises, and when I spend time reading it, it brings me peace and the negative thoughts begin to disappear. 

I could spend hours listing scripture that encourages me, but here are two I love. 

For it was You who created my inward parts;
You knit me together in my mother’s womb.
I will praise You
because I have been remarkably and wonderfully made.
Your works are wonderful,
and I know this very well.
My bones were not hidden from You
when I was made in secret,
when I was formed in the depths of the earth.
Your eyes saw me when I was formless;
all my days were written in Your book and planned
before a single one of them began.

Do not fear, for I am with you;
do not be afraid, for I am your God.
I will strengthen you; I will help you;
I will hold on to you with My righteous right hand.  Isaiah 41:10

I will NEVER be able to say enough about the power of God’s word.  

#2. Listen to uplifting music.

Guys, music uplifts the soul!  Whenever I start to feel stressed or overwhelmed, I go to my pandora station and listen to a station I have created of instrumental hymns.  Hymns were the soundtrack of my life in church as a child.  They bring back memories of peace and security, and when I listen to them, my heart is still. 


And I love to listen to other types of music when I need a mood booster.  I love listening to upbeat songs from the 50’s and 60’s, or maybe some upbeat country classics.  And I also listen to a LOT of my son, Jonathan’s songs.  

Whatever your jam is, listen to it!  If you are like me, you start to sing along, (maybe even dance around!) and slowly those negative thoughts and feeling begin to disappear, and they are replaced with joyful feelings. 


#3  Get off Social Media.

I’ve noticed that a lot of the time that I feel negative about myself or my situation is when I have been spending too much time on social media.   It’s a catch twenty-two because my job is social media.  #ugh.  But even though my job is social media, I still have the power to chose when and how much time I spend on it.

One thing I try VERY HARD not to do is get on my phone first thing in the morning.  It’s tempting to grab my phone when the alarm goes off and check emails or comments or messages.  Buy y’all, when I do that….it starts my morning off on the wrong foot. I start feeling overwhelmed with all that I need to do, or maybe inadequate compared to others on social.  That is NOT the way I want to start my morning. 


So I have started not checking my phone until at least an hour or more after I wake up.  This has been HUGE for me and sets the tone for a successful day. 

I also try not to be on my phone right before bedtime.  There is a ton of research that says we should not be on technology for at least 30 minutes before bedtime.  If not, it interrupts our sleep and does not set us up for a productive morning. 

I don’t spend much time on Facebook, (Instagram stories are my guilty pleasure,) but I know that sometimes you can find a lot of negative “chatter” on Facebook.  Reading that stuff throughout the day can affect our own thoughts and attitude.  It is SO IMPORTANT to put GOOD THINGS in our minds!  Please be careful what you allow to enter your mind.   I stress this to my kiddos all the time. 

Two bible verses that speak to this are…

Finally, brothers, whatever is true, whatever is honorable, whatever is just, whatever is pure, whatever is lovely, whatever is commendable, if there is any excellence, if there is anything worthy of praise, think about these things.  Phillipians 4:8

If you want good fruit, you must make the tree good. If your tree is not good, it will have bad fruit. A tree is known by the kind of fruit it produces. You snakes! You are so evil. How can you say anything good? What people say with their mouths comes from what fills their hearts.Those who are good have good things saved in their hearts. That’s why they say good things. But those who are evil have hearts full of evil, and that’s why they say things that are evil.  Matthew 12:33-35

#4 Get up and MOVE!

This step goes with the previous one.  Usually, we are sitting or laying down when we are on social media.  #notgood 


Getting up and moving is one of the BEST WAYS to combat negative thoughts.  It  doesn’t have to be exercise.  Just get up and do something.  Do laundry, make a meal, drive to the store, paint something, work on a project, ANYTHING!  As long as you are moving, that will work!  


Sometimes when I am on social media, and I start to feel the negative creep in, I say to myself, “GET UP and DO SOMETHING, Traci!”

And when I do, it helps 100% of the time.  It gets my mind busy on something good, and I feel productive, which in turn makes me feel good about myself!  yay!

#5  Focus on Others!

I’m sharing this one because it is the one my mom would always tell me do.  Whenever I felt stress or overwhelmed, maybe depressed even, my mom would say, “Traci, stop thinking about yourself and think of others!”

She wasn’t saying the to be mean.  She was saying that beause she KNEW it would help me.  And truthfully, I tell my boys this all the time.  #thanksmom

When we live our lives “self-focused,” it will lead to depression.  Seriously.  When we live our lives “others-focused,” we will have a more joyful, purposeful life!  TRUTH.

Even though it is directly opposite of what the world tells us…”SELF FIRST.”   I’m sorry…but the world has it wrong.  Life is not about YOU (or me,) it is about OTHERS.

Make cookies for a neighbor, read a book with a child, visit someone in the hospital, write someone a letter, volunteer at your church or local non-profit.  It doesn’t matter what it is, but if you are focusing on others more than yourself, y’all, your heart will be BLESSED!!!

#6  Get Oily!

Y’all know I love my essential oils!  But I hesitated writing this step because I didn’t want you to think I was “advertising” for you to sign up with me.  I promise, I’m not.  Don’t sign up with me.  Sign up with someone else, but get you some oils!

*BUT NOT the oils you see at Walmart and HomeGoods and Walgreens!  Those are not therapeutic grade oils.  Get you the good stuff (and yes, they will cost a little more money, but they are WAY MORE powerful!)

So here’s the thing, essential oils have the ability to affect our mood and emotions.  They are “God’s medicine,” and he created the molecules so small that they can pass through the “blood brain” barrier in our head.

Once they pass the blood brain barrier, they are able to make it to the limbic system where our emotions are stored.  Essential oils have been proven to boost moods when used. 

Here are some of my favorite oils for emotions:

Stress Away, Joy, Peace & Calming, Lavender, Valor, and many more!

Do you have any favorite essential oils to help support healthy emotions?  Feel free to share in the comments!

#7  Maintain a Healthy Gut!

Did y’all know there is science that supports the fact that what we put in our stomachs directly affects are brain?  An unhealthy gut has been linked to depression, stress, and many diseases.  It’s actually mind blowing (no pun intended.).  I know that my brain affects my gut.  When I am extremely stressed, I get an upset stomach.  When I’m nervous, I get “butterflies” in my stomach.  

Well, the brain and gut are connected and it works both ways.  When we have an unhealthy gut, it sends unhealthy signals to our brain and makes us feel depressed, stressed, and even causes diseases!

“You are what you eat,” is SO TRUE!

Since I have been eating healthier on the FASTer Way to Fat Loss, I have noticed a difference in my mind.  When I eat good, I have more energy, I’m more focused, and I think less negative thoughts.

I found THIS  article about the gut-brain connection.  You can also click on the picture to learn more.  It’s promoting the use of probiotics and has interesting  info.

If you don’t want to read it, you can easily do the research yourself.  Just google “the importance of a healthy gut,” and you will find a wealth of helpful information. 


Okay, so those are 7 of the things I do to help fight against stress and negative thoughts.  I’m sure there are other things that you and I can do, but those are the ones I do the most. 

If you have other ideas, PLEASE share in the comments so we can help each other out.  I would love to hear your ideas. 


Have a blessed day!





  1. Traci, this is just what I needed to hear. I myself have become a prisoner to my laptop and tv. I hate it! It’s like it has a hold on me. I also get depressed easily and down on myself. Today I just happen to do a couple of the things you mentioned.
    I read my devotional and worked for about an hour and a half in my backyard and I made a treat for one of my husband’s classes he teaches. He teaches high school history AP/IB classes but this year he has one regular US history class. I ask about them often and he says they’re doing well behaviorally and they’re really working hard. One of the students in his class I taught when he was in kindergarten! (I’m a retired teacher). He was very challenging but my husband says he’s doing fine. This class tugs at my heart so I wanted to do something for them. Anyway, I hope it will encourage them to keep up the good work.
    Thanks for the motivational suggestions. I’m going to do my best to spend less time on social media. It can tear you apart. At 65 I and being retired I can easily see myself becoming a couch potato.

    1. Yes, Jan! Technology can be from the devil if we don’t let God have control of it! I’m so glad you were able to do many of the things I suggested! What a blessing you were to your husband’s students. :)

  2. Traci,
    I loved this post and actually employ all of your suggestions except the essential oils. But, I am very interested in trying them. Thank you so much for such terrific ideas to get us out of our own head. 😉 Very wise advice.

  3. Love the post! I also struggle with negative self-talk. I started working with a personal trainer 2 years ago for strength training. An unexpected side benefit wasn’t that it has practically ended my personal negativity. I think it is a combination of the increased release of endorphins, the positivity of my trainer and the personal feeling that I am doing all I can really do to be the best version of myself. Having a trainer probably sounds extravagant, but he is very reasonable (the gym is in his garage!). You never know what options God will provide for you, so always be open to trying new things. I also agree with reading the the Bible. A 100% attitude changer! Thanks for sharing, Traci! I know for me, it can be really hard to be honest about my weaknesses.

  4. Traci, Thank you for this! I am very guilty of comparing myself to other women, especially when it comes to my shape and excess skin. And I am hard on myself because I am not as small as I used to be. I am working on loving myself more and reminding myself that Jesus loves me, Just As I Am! And I have to remind myself that I am almost 63, so body changes are very normal. I do not check my email, FB, etc., until after I have been outside to check my three trail cameras, put out corn for the deer, read my devotionals and my Bible, and look at the pictures of the deer, etc., that the cameras captured. Avoiding reading the negative stuff is so beneficial, just like getting up and doing something. God bless!

  5. Thank you for sharing God’s word with all of us. It was a wonderful reminder to think of others before ourselves. I grew up with a little sign in my bedroom wall that said JOY-Jesus-Others-Yourself. That’s the order we should follow.

  6. Every morning while I make coffee, I ask Alexa to play “Lord I Hope This Day Is Good” by Don Williams!
    Always stay humble and kind.

  7. Dearest Traci~
    I’ve followed you for years!
    We met when i myself was blogging “Mountain Mermaid”
    The past three years have taken a dramatic toll on me as well as my life.
    My husband cheated with someone the age of his daughter, got caught and had filed for divorce before i knew what was happening!
    My life was in turmoil, with no funds other than social security, my standard of living for the past 40 years dropped to poverty level.
    so what did i do as depression took hold?
    I consulted my personal physician who immediately put me on meds to help me cope
    Next, i started seeing a therapist, have just recently stopped although she is there just a phone call away.
    I have always been a believer..so prayer was in my life.
    I have had a booth in a consignment shop for many years..that was a source of satisfaction for me.
    My photography..always a solace..similar to your getup/get out/get moving!
    Music..always music makes me smile as it lifts my spirits!
    My Cats.. i take care of them FIRST while my coffee is making!
    My diet..I stopped eating ALL the junk food he demanded we keep on hand!
    (No more sodas, ice cream, chips etc..my one vice Keebler Vienna Finger Wafers!!)
    but i eat healthier than ever!my weight is a reasonable stable.
    I have Rheumatoid Arthritis and Psoariatic Arthritis which can be depressing when flares occur!
    My coping mechanism? wake up with joy in my heart and a smile on my face!
    Think Attitude and Gratitude!
    Be Contagious! Share that smile!
    Remember we only have one life to live..make it the best for YOU that it can be!
    one step at a time, one day at a time.. focus on the good from the past..leave the rest behind!!
    always.. sparkle and shine!!

    1. Loui! Thank you for sharing your story with us, even though painful! I love your attitude and how you are making the best of things. And it sounds like you have a lot of wonderful things in your life right now! Such good advice from you. Thank you!

  8. Great information to share! Love the verses you chose!

    I have found that just completing one project or craft, is a mood booster!

  9. What great advice!! You included the senses, internal organs, and most importantly, the brain, which affects our emotions and attitude.
    I am glad you reminded us about music. I have been listening to MSNBC way too much, and consequently I have problems with sleep at times. Thank you for all you do for your readers!

  10. Thanks for sharing this! Each one makes perfect sense and staying close to God is a priority! 😊 I would only add that practicing deep breathing and meditation can really benefit our mind body and spirit. Also, keeping a Gratitude Journal can change your life! I think gratitude is extremely important and now, perhaps more than ever! The people in the Bahamas have had absolutely everything taken from them via Dorian. My heart breaks for them!
    Have a blessed week!

  11. Thank you for sharing this. On Sunday I was just telling my husband how I’m struggling with the physical changes of getting older. But God made me as beautiful as those precious little babies (for me that was one of the most influencing things you said) ❤️
    Also, I love YL Eucalyptus ! And I too will turn on praise music when I’m feeling anxious or depressed. Lauren Daigle – Say is one of my favorites.

  12. Tracy I have to chime in. Thank you so much for your wisdom and sharing it in the post! I agree with you on a couple of things especially (have not tried oils), but we have been under tremendous stress as a family lately. It been almost a year of probably one of the worst if not the worst on record. I have to push myself to get away from the tv or computer in the morning, but when I read God’s word it really does renew the mind! I went about three weeks lately just not really reading but kept promising myself I would get back into it. Today I pushed myself to do it and ended up in tears in a good way reading about the adversities and faith of the believers of the OT (was reading Hebrews)! After that I went outside for a walk and listened to an uplifting podcast with headphones. What a great difference just from one day.

    IF only we were always careful to take care of ourselves! lol

    1. April! Thank you for sharing! I’m so sorry this has been such a difficult year. :(. But so thankful that you also find comfort in God’s word and are able to push yourself to do the things that will uplift you! I pray you have a blessed day! xoxo

  13. You are just as cute as you can be! That is a really good picture of you. Great post today! Your Mother was right, we all need to focus more on whom we can help rather than who can do something for us! Thinking of others is a good way to live. My Mother always did whatever she could to help people and taught us to give of ourselves, which should be a part of all home training but with the world so busy and everyone out working and nobody home to care for the kiddies thing get missed. You are raising a beautiful family just as they all will because how they were raised. When people ask me where I came from I tell them I came from parents who cared. I was very lucky! Take care Traci
    Xo, Deb

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