After spending years studying psychology, I’m often humbled to see that the tools which seem most useful to myself and to others are usually very simple things—ideas that come from life experience as opposed to thick textbooks. This is certainly true when I think about my two favorite tools for reducing stress in day-to-day life: sticky notes and sighs!

Regardless of their color, shape, or size, sticky notes can be a remarkable ally in our quest to remember what we want to remember. If you have a prayer or intention that you’re wanting to stay connected to, or a simple relaxation practice that you want to remember, strategically placing notes where you’ll encounter them throughout the day is a wonderful way to bring your attention back to your priorities.

If you’re looking for a quick relaxation tool, one of the most helpful two-second practices I know is to take a deep inhalation and let out a long sighing exhalation.

The sound of our out-breath can be somewhat soft so that only we can hear it, or better yet, we can let out a loud groan or moan to release whatever tension we might be holding. If one sigh doesn’t quite feel like enough, try repeating this twice more and notice if you feel a difference.

Along with my ideas of sticky notes and sighs, reflect on what simple things work well for you to reduce stress in your everyday life, and please share them here. There’s nothing better than learning from each other about creative ways to make our days go more smoothly and to help us shine a little brighter!


Karen Horneffer-Ginter, Ph.D. is the author of Full Cup, Thirsty Spirit, newly released from Hay House.

Karen Horneffer-Ginter has been practicing psychology and teaching yoga and contemplative practices for over 16 years. She has also taught graduate students and health care professionals, along with directing a university-based holistic health care program, and co-founding the Center for Psychotherapy and Wellness in Kalamazoo, Michigan. The aim of Karen's work is to reconnect people with the wisdom of their inner-life by reclaiming what gets lost amidst the busyness of day-to-day life: qualities such as stillness, self-care, creativity, joy, humor, gratitude, and compassion. Her intention is to support people in finding a sense of balance and sacredness in their lives.

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