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As we`re living in a world of increasing amounts of stress, turmoil and uncertainty, we wish to share with you our top picks for practices that maintain peace and contentment. Many people find them to be effective stress managers. First, we briefly encourage you to ‘strive to thrive rather than just survive’… This means that a given conflict or adverse situation does not negatively influence your state of wellness, mental processes, communications with others, or your self-esteem. We suggest that it is possible to get to a place where you flourish in the midst of trouble and challenges to your pursuit of happiness. This place is called ‘joy’ and it does wonders for your physical and mental health.

Towards this end, this quote closely reflects our overall perspective: Peace. It does not mean to be in a place where there is no noise, trouble or hard work. It means to be in the midst of those things and still be calm in your heart.” Unknown

The options for reducing stress while inducing peace and joy are plentiful; they have worked for many people: Listening to soothing music or nature sounds * Spiritual baths/soaking in a tub with epsom salts * Comedy/Laughter * Gardening * Games * Movies * Baby therapy (seeing and/or interacting with infants) * Scheduling adjustments/Reduced commitments * Acupuncture * Massage Therapy * On-line courses * Reading, and the possibilities go on.

However, our top picks for promoting a relaxed, joyous state include exercise, prayer & meditation, breathing techniques, journaling, aromatherapy and affirmations. We encourage you to consult with a health professional and/or spiritual leader if experiencing a serious mental health condition and before starting any practice to resolve it. We included a list of resources at the end.  After reading our article, drop us a line to let us know what you would add to our list i.e. what works for you to keep you calm, thinking positively and maybe even filled with joy.


According to the Canadian Psychological Association, exercise has physiological, psychological, social and neurological benefits. Specifically, regular exercise helps you to relax, feel more pleasure and reduce your body’s production of the stress hormone, cortisol. It also increases feelings of self-esteem, faith that you can accomplish important goals, feelings of happiness and improved brain function. There is a plethora of exercise videos which can assist you in obtaining the benefits of regular exercise, including home walking, yoga 1, yoga 2, Tai Chi, pilates 1, pilates 2, and general home exercises.


Prayer is communication with God. In its highest and most beneficial form, it is conversation with God, that is dialogue back and forth between ourselves and God. The bible says “Give all your worries and cares to God, for he cares about what happens to you.” (1 Peter 5:7 NLT). This means telling Him about them, listening for His response—including during that particular occasion in prayer, through other people and through the Bible. It also means being confident that He will take you through the problems you are facing. This confidence is most often built by experience with Him and recalling how He has resolved issues for you in times past, for others that you know and as is seen in the Bible. As recommended in another part of this article, keeping a journal of gratitude will help you to easily recall occasions of blessings, resolutions and triumphs such that your trust in God can be firmly established.

Thus, there is power in prayer to help us be victorious over anxiety and depression. Worry, anxiety and fear are largely based on a desire to control situations and their outcomes. When you pray, you are acknowledging your dependence upon God’s higher power to not only resolve, but take you through the concerning situation in a way that is for the highest good. The Bible says “Draw near to God, and He will draw near to you” (James 4:8 ESV). In letting Him be in control, peace is established in all aspects of your being, that is your body, mind and spirit. The Bible tells us “Do not be anxious about anything, but in everything by prayer and supplication with thanksgiving let your requests be made known to God” (Philippians 4:6 ESV). Here, we point out that meditation upon God`s Word—that is deep contemplation of it– grants us greater understanding of situations and allows us to be changed by His Word.

When we make prayer a daily practice, thereby establishing a true relationship with God, we will come to know that He is loving and is able to handle our needs. In this way, we are able to move from a place of stress, worry and sadness and move to a place of healing.  For many individuals, God is a major source of comfort and strength that transforms their perspective such that the world seems less threatening and dangerous.


Journaling has amazing mental health benefits in general. However, we direct your attention to a particular kind of journal known as a Journal of Gratitude (“JOG“). Keeping a JOG is a powerful way to divert your attention away from negative situations and challenges, helping you to instead focus on all of the good things that have happened or are happening in your life. We recommend writing at least five (5) things per day that you are thankful for and work your way up to 10-15 items per day. You should also try to write new things each day. You can be grateful for health and strength, that your eyes see, that you have food, that you can talk or walk, special friends or family members, ability to play an instrument or sing, the smell of freshly baked bread as you walk through the door, the beauty of trees waving in the wind, the car you drive, getting a parking spot just in time, a pleasant conversation with the cashier at the grocery store, your education, a gift someone gave you, your clothes, and the list goes on. No matter how bad a situation may seem, there is always something for which you can be grateful and there are worse things that could be happening.  A sobering quote reminds us that: “Someone is praying for the things you take for granted.”

Furthermore, when you are going through a challenging period, reading past entries in your JOG will help to lift your spirits, brighten your mood and eventually fill your heart and mind with joyful emotions.  We have found that using a JOG can facilitate powerful bursts of excitement, even in the midst of challenging situations.

Videos: Gratitude 1; Gratitude 2; Gratitude 3

Videos: Mental Health 1; Mental Health 2 (start at timestamp 2:50); Mental Health 3


According to an April, 2019 Globe and Mail article, most of us are shallow breathers – we take quick, tiny breaths that barely fill our lungs at all. Interestingly, when people are anxious, they tend to take this same type of rapid, shallow breaths that come directly from the chest. This type of breathing is called thoracic or chest breathing. During an anxiety episode, people may not even be aware that they`re breathing this way. Chest breathing upsets the oxygen and carbon dioxide levels in the body resulting in increased heart rate, dizziness, muscle tension, and other physical sensations. As a further result, the blood is not being properly oxygenated and this may signal a stress response, also known as a flight-or-flight response, that contributes to anxiety and panic attacks.

When we practise diaphragmatic breathing, we increase the depth of our inhalations and tap into the part of our nervous system that counters the fight-or-flight stress response. Our heart rate begins to slow, the body relaxes, and functions such as digestion are improved. Learning to breathe properly also improves our posture and mobility. This is because stress often manifests physically as tension in our muscles. Deep breathing helps to relax this tension, positively affecting the motion potential of muscles and joints.

Videos: Breathing 1; Breathing 2 (see comments, too); Breathing 3


Aromatherapy is a holistic healing treatment that uses natural plant extracts to promote health and well-being. Sometimes it’s called essential oil therapy, though the scents from candles and incense can also create a very calming, relaxing atmosphere. This, in turn, creates feelings of contentment and peace. That being said, the practice of using aromatic essential oils medicinally improves the health of the body, mind, and spirit. They can promote mental balance and calm when used for a massage, in your bath with Epsom salts or with a diffuser.  They can also be used for a healing steam, by adding a couple of drops of an essential oil to a pot of hot water, draping a towel over your head and allow your skin to absorb the steam rising from the pot. Taking deep breaths and relaxing as the steam cleanses your pores is another way to use these oils. The benefits of aromatherapy include: pain management * improved sleep quality * reduced stress, agitation, and anxiety * treatment of headaches and migraines * improved digestion * boosted immunity.

Some of the best essential oils for anxiety relief are: lavender oil * rose oil * ylang ylang oil * frankincense oil * geranium oil * jasmine oil * chamomile oil

Videos: Aromatherapy 1; Aromatherapy 2; Aromatherapy 3


Cortisol is the “stress hormone” produced by the adrenal glands and acts as the fight or flight stimulant. When elevated without a clear stimulus, it causes anxiety. Herbal teas can help reduce anxiety, stress and insomnia while supporting your overall sense of well being. Vitamins, herbs and other supplements may also support your mental, emotional and physical state. In general, these teas and supplements help to maintain balance and reduce cortisol levels. Some of them also increase levels of gamma-aminobutyric acid (GABA), which is the neurotransmitter in the brain that helps with anxiety. provides a great list of teas for anxiety and stress. Once again, we strongly suggest you consult with a health professional before starting any treatment for a particular condition. Some herbs may interact with certain medicine and cause serious side-effects.


Our thoughts and beliefs influence how we view ourselves, other people and the world around us. Research indicates that the majority of statements we make to ourselves –nearly 80%– is negative, discouraging and defeatist. Without realizing it, much of what we say to and about ourselves consists of whining, complaints, and criticisms. Thoughts such as “Nothing good happens for me”, “No one likes me”, “I can’t do anything right”, can be played in our minds so frequently that we perceive them as fact, act on them and thereby hinder all sorts of positive experiences, opportunities, and emotions. However, if we practice saying positive and uplifting statements out loud or in our minds, we will eventually notice a change not only in many of our perceptions but also in our experiences and general well being. In essence, positive affirmations have the power to transform lives. Repeatedly stating positive affirmations can: 1. break negative thought patterns; 2. help your brain to use and produce more dopamine and serotonin – chemicals produced in your brain that make you feel happy; and 3. Help generate positive thoughts which create positive emotions. Positive emotions actually change our physiology and improve our mental, emotional, and physical health. Some sample affirmations to get you started are: I am cool, calm and collected * I live in peace * I am feeling healthy and strong today * I have the courage to make this a great day * Everything works out for my highest good * Everything I need comes to me at the right time.

Videos: Anxiety & Stress Affirmations; Biblical Affirmations


We hope you or someone you know will find these practices helpful. We all have our off moments, or even days where circumstances bring us down. However, we encourage you to find your individualized pathway to “self-medicate” i.e. raise your own spirits and outlook during those times. This may include using the assistance of a health professional or spiritual leader, some contact links for which are at the end of this article. Try a few things to know what brings you peace and joy so that you can turn to them in troubling times.

 The silver lining is that we grow the most during periods of suffering. This is the time to try new techniques for finding inner peace and cultivating the one that works best for you.” Naval Ravikant


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