Mary Marcdante. Speaker. Author. Stress Expert.

33 Self-Talk Phrases to Help You
Turn Your Stress into Success

by Mary Marcdante

When you're in the middle of a stressful situation, it can be challenging to shift your thinking to thoughts that help you. Negative emotions set in and you end up in the fight, flight, or freeze mode, rather than flow. Consciously shifting your thinking and slowing down your breathing are two of the fastest ways to turn stress into success and get back into the flow.


Below is a list of 33 positive statements. Some I've collected from clients and colleagues. Others I've written, and some you'll recognize from mainstream culture. Some may feel childish or naive to your ego, but will address the unconscious aspects of your mind in the midst of stress.


Look for the statements that jump out at you and memorize them. Repeat the statements to yourself slowly with awareness and keep repeating them with positive expectation and positive feelings. As you're directing your mind, it will go to work on finding more successful solutions for you. Watch for them; the answers are on their way.

  1. All things eventually change. This too shall pass.

  2. How much will this matter 100 years from now? 10 years? 10 days? Tomorrow?

  3. How can I make the most of this situation right now? How can I let this serve me?

  4. It could be worse. At least Iím not... (exaggerate something really awful to the point of being funny)

  5. Who can I bless, say a prayer for, or help right now who has it worse than me? "There but for the grace of God go I."

  6. I always have a choice about the way I think about this and what I choose to think is...

  7. I know thereís something funny in this somewhere. Who would see the humor in this and what would they say? Iíll call them right now. [Find a laughter buddy, and even better a laughter team if you donít already have one.]

  8. It's not what happens to me that's important; it's what I think and do about what happens that makes the difference. Right now I choose to...

  9. It canít get any worse, so that must mean itís only going to get better.

  10. If I knew what one of the gifts in this could be, it might beÖ

  11. Who do I love? What am I grateful for? What am I passionate about? [Make a list of 10 for each question. If you canít think of any, call a friend and ask for help.]

  12. Even though this feels like it's really stressing me out, I'm still breathing right now; I can still choose my thoughts, and I can still smile for 16 seconds and flood my body with endorphins.

  13. If life were ideal, right now Iíd be thinking __________, Iíd be feeling __________, Iíd be doing __________ [Let yourself dream for a minute and smile while youíre doing it. Research shows your brain doesnít know the difference between what is real and what is imagined and it goes to work on what you tell it most often with emotion - positive or negative. Smiling activates the positive.]

  14. Good things have happened to me and they will happen again. One of the best things thatís happened in my life is __________;

  15. Other people have gotten through this and eventually I will too...

  16. It is what it is. I feel what I feel. I feel mad (sad, scared, ashamed, guilty...) and I let that be okay and breathe through it.

  17. What is my intuition telling me? What inspired actions can I take right now?

  18. I'm still here; I must have important things left to do.

  19. I can do all things through (Christ, Buddha, Mohammed, Love, Spirit, Source, God), which strengthens me.

  20. I release and I let go, I am only here for Love (God, to serve...) [Choose something positive that is greater than yourself.]

  21. Someday, we'll look back on this, laugh nervously and change the subject.

  22. Iím going to laugh out loud for one minute for absolutely no reason. [Laughter, even fake laughter releases endorphins in the body.]

  23. I might as well laugh; I can always cry later. Click here to take a 30-second laughter break now.

  24. One of the funniest stories (memories, jokes, one-liners) I've ever heard is...

  25. There are people who are waiting for me to ask for their help. I release my pride and fear and ask for help.   

  26. What is a positive message in this for me?

  27. I am strong, I am flexible, I am resilient and I will get through this.

  28. I slowly count to 10 and take a walk. (Movement helps release negative energy.]

  29. I can slow down my breathing right now. I take 10 deep slow, long breaths in through my nose, out through my mouth. I'll get through this.

  30. Itís not always the way I think it is, there might be another perspective I havenít seen yet. Who would have a completely different positive take on this? What would they say?

  31. Breathing in I calm myself, Breathing out I smile. [From Thich Nhat Hanh, Peace is Every Step]

  32. What would Dr. Phil say? (or Oprah? Your favorite comedian/ne? Someone you admire? What would the dog do? (Humor counts.)

  33. Please help! Thank you! [Direct your Inner Guide.]


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©2008-2014 Mary Marcdante. If you would like to publish this article in your newsletter or link to the article, please include the following tagline:

Mary Marcdante is a communication and stress management expert, inspirational author, and speaker. She has inspired and educated over 500,000 people at 1500 conferences for clients around the world. She is a contributing author to five best-selling Chicken Soup for the Soul books and the author of Living with Enthusiasm and My Mother, My Friend.
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