Shifting Positive on a Stressful Day

“Every day might not be good, but there is something good in every day.”

In psychology class this week, I teach one of my favourite subjects – Stress, Coping, and Health Psychology Chapter 11 in my psychology textbook.

I purposely teach this topic during the height of midterms. Raising awareness about the healthy (and not so healthy) ways students manage stress is critical for building resilience.


Shifting Negative ⇒ Positive

One of my top 10 techniques for shifting students from stress to strength is to share what’s going right even (especially) when things are going wrong. Small uplifts in the course of the day change everything. Fleeting. Unexpected. Goodness.

Based on my experience as a school psychologist, I will never deny the stress students are under. Witnessing adversity is an essential part of moving through itHowever, I choose not to remain in the territory of “what’s wrong” for too long.

What We Focus on Expands

Once we acknowledge what’s wrong. We open our eyes to the grace that takes place throughout the day.


“Good things are always happening. The key is to notice them.”

Students make the shift from powerless to empowered by sharing ordinary joys happening in their lives.

A radiant smile from a fellow commuter. Free coffee at McDonald’s. An unexpected A on a paper. A sweet parking spot. Spending time with an old friend. A surprise compliment from a stranger. Laughing out loud with fellow classmates. A really good night’s sleep.

And I’m the fortunate professor who gets to hear all these uplifts at the end of a long, rainy day. One more reason why I love working with students.

How do you shift positive on a stressful day?

Related Post: Put a time limit on negativity.

33 thoughts on “Shifting Positive on a Stressful Day

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  1. I love this and it’s why at the end of every day I so enjoy writing in my gratitude journal. Because there’s always, always, something to be grateful for. Wonderful reminders here. 💖

  2. I look at my problems and stresses and although I just wish they would vanish, I thank God for giving me the means to deal with them. It’s the cycle of my life and probably all our lives to face issues, but somehow we manage to overcome. Great post.

    1. For sure! 👀

      LOOKING UP is the fastest way to shift positive. Which is especially important in our smartphone age.

      Too much time is looking down at an ‘alternative universe’ blinds us to the magic right in front of us.

      And this magic includes you! 🙂

    1. How wonderful Harlon. I always love knowing that one of my posts hit home with someone. Hoping you receive an additional ‘dose’ of peace as you read this comment. Knowing that reading your blog shifts me positive too.

    1. How wonderful Dani! May you receive the gift of good vibes & encouragement as you read this reply. Knowing how much I, and so many other people, admire the hard work and sacrifice that goes into raising a young son on your own. High fives & virtual hugs! xo

  3. I am really glad I read this today. This is a much needed reminder for me to look to the beauty and grace in my life as I go through the rest of the semester. Thank you for sharing!

    1. Yes to counting our blessings today! No matter how small. They all have the power to move us to a higher place. Starting with you! Just think how many hours, days, and months have gone into your schooling so far. Take a deep breath and contemplate that fact. You are so close you are to finishing this year. Cheering you on! 🙂

  4. Such an important message, what we focus on we draw to us. I am sure your student love your classes.
    I always try to find a positive within a negative, even through the most stressful times. Its not always easy, but being mindful of gratitude and focusing on our blessings to me has always seen me through my own most darkest hours.
    We always have a choice, and focus our energies upon our dreams to bring them into reality.
    Sometimes we all need those dark nights of the soul, so that we can get to shift our perspective.
    So we may lift ourselves up.

    A great post, and I am happy I landed upon your wisdom today!

    1. Thanks Sue! I always enjoy your reflections. So true about the dark nights of the soul. The gift of contrast is a game changer. Always reminding us to appreciate what is, in both the good and the bad times. 🌝 🌚

  5. I love this. So very true. Also, I want to thank you for always supporting my posts. It means the world to me. Bless you! ❤️

  6. So glad I found your post to read today! It has been a very sad week for me. Working as a caregiver brings both Joy and sorrow. Change and loss are always difficult experiences. Although I realize it is necessary to experience the one to fully appreciate the other.🤔

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