8 Positive Ways to Reduce Stress, Anxiety or Depression

8 Positive Ways To Reduce Stress, Anxiety Or Depression

Updated 14th December 2023

Stress, anxiety and depression are more prevalent than ever in this post Covid world we live in, after suffering myself, I know how it feels. 


  • Become tearful or irritable,
  • Are extra sensitive to criticism for no apparent reason,
  • Depend on cigarettes, caffeine or alcohol,
  • Notice a change in your work life and home life are suffering,
  • You lose interest in sex,
  • Find you are unable to concentrate.

Does this sound like you or someone you know? If so you or they may be suffering from stress, anxiety or depression.

Here are 8 positive ways to reduce stress, anxiety or depression.

1 Breathe

We all do it… somewhat automatically without thinking but our breathing can often be laboured or exaggerated depending on how we feel.

Take a moment to try this:

  1. Sit quietly and try to relax,
  2. Slowly breathe in through your nose to a count of 4,
  3. Hold the breath for a count of 4,
  4. Breathe out through your mouth for a count of 5,
  5. Repeat until you feel calmer.

If you enjoyed this little breathing exercise and you would like to try a short guided meditation please click here.

(This meditation is taken from my debut Novel, Katie A New Chapter.)

2 Positive affirmations – gratitude

This one hit home for me when I did my coaching qualification. There are so many to choose from and so many ways to do this. Here’s just one:

  1. Chose an affirmation, it can be anything but try this one. I am grateful for…… my wonderful family, my superb friends, the roof over my head…
  2. Write the affirmation on a post-it note and stick on your mirror,
  3. Repeat affirmation 10 times whenever you look in the mirror.

3 Get out in nature – walk, run, jog, cycle

I was always refusing to go for a walk whenever my parents asked me to. No point, I said, you aren’t going anywhere …. Only round the park! How wrong was I to think like that? I now love to walk. I walk every morning before I start writing. It does help.

Try this If you are able to:

Plan to get outside for at least 15 minutes per day, to begin with, and try these:

  1. Park further away from work if possible, to help achieve this goal
  2. Write down how many different birds you spot on your walk
  3. Increase your walking time daily.
  4. Enjoy nature.

4 Exercise

Urgh…. I used to reject exercise… not enough time….Giving up my gym membership because I was so busy at work (corporate hell) and too tired to do anything once I got home…moreover, I was even too tired to care. Finally, I went to see a doctor because I couldn’t cope with the stress of everyday life anymore. Being diagnosed with stress, anxiety and depression I finally went back to the gym! A few years later I realised I didn’t enjoy it so now I swim instead. 


  1. Chose an exercise you enjoy, used to enjoy, or would like to try,
  2. Plan when you are going to do this & stick to it!
  3. Find somewhere to participate in the exercise.
  4. Enjoy!
  5. Try to mix it up a bit too and research other types of exercise you might like to try.

You may find you stop enjoying it after a while, in which case, stop and find something else you enjoy. 

5 Music

Music can affect people in different ways depending on the mood of the music and the person.

I remember being at a meditation class and the music we were meditating to was a Native American sound. The sound did not resonate with me at all and I found I was feeling stressed and uncomfortable and needless to say, I didn’t have a very good meditation session…

Try this:

  1. Sit alone and find music to listen to that you would consider to be uplifting, even something that will get your feet tapping or get you dancing around the room,
  2. Lose yourself in the rhythm of the sound,
  3. Dance around that room,
  4. Have fun!

6 Volunteer

I began volunteering at Samaritans. Putting off joining as their adverts were only asking for listening volunteers and at that time I wasn’t looking to do that role. Eventually, I attended their open day and joined as a support volunteer to help the branch with fundraising.

Don’t be put off if you find a charity and it looks like you wouldn’t be able to help. They do have training programmes and part of volunteering is learning new skills. 


  1. Find an organisation(s) which appeal(s) to you,
  2. Research the organisation(s) to see if it fits with your schedule,
  3. Apply to be a volunteer (don’t give up if you don’t get accepted with the first organisation you find,)
  4. You may be on a waiting list due to the current situation but don’t give up,
  5. Have fun!

7 Be creative

I tried a creative writing class many years ago but never finished it… I then joined an art class but I kept clock watching at every class so I gave up. In 2017 I found another art class…. Which I loved attending and was normally thrown out after losing track of time. I left this class to work abroad. 

Following a fiction writing course which I did during Covid, I have now written two novels and a novella. If your first choice doesn’t work out…. Try something else or come back to it later. It may not be the right time.


  1. Find something creative which appeals to you,
  2. Research groups, classes and purchases required,
  3. Be creative!
  4. Have fun!

This was the work I produced from the latest art classes I attended. 


8 Smile

No matter how you are feeling, research shows that just by smiling you will start to feel more positive and less stressed.

Try this:

  1. Before you brush your teeth in the morning and evening, look in the mirror and smile to yourself,
  2. Do this every day for a week and notice the difference in how you are feeling.

There we have it; 8 positive ways to reduce stress, anxiety or depression. You can use any or all of these or make up your own. Anything which helps you to feel more positive is a must.

Please note this list is not exhaustive. Do not stop taking medication and do not dismiss the advice of your medical practitioner.

If my blog has resonated with you and you would like to work with me, please email me at lisa@lisambillingham.com or book a call with me here

I now also run Healing Through Creative Writing workshops for small groups, businesses and public sector organisations.

Thank you for reading.

Lots of Love, Light & Gratitude.

Lisa xxx