Slay Stress with Author Barry Shore

Ashley Nestler, MSW
6 min readJun 14, 2021


This past year, we have all been experiencing more stress than usual worldwide. With COVID-19, isolation, job loss, the closure of schools, the cancellation of events, and the shortage of supplies, we have had to get used to a new normal.

Now, as many parts of the world open back up with the introduction of vaccinations, we are experiencing new stressors — such as trying to find new jobs or going back to in-person work. All of this stress has a negative impact on our physical and mental health. Fortunately, we have many individuals opening the conversation on how to thrive during a pandemic and an ever changing world.

I had the pleasure of speaking with one of these individuals — Barry Shore, who is the author of The JOY of Living: How to Slay Stress and Be Happyas well as a mental health activist. His work focuses on helping us to live more joyful lives in our changing world, and I found his work to be incredibly helpful.

My hope is that my interview with him helps you to increase the joy in your life in our changing world. We are all in this together!


“Ambassador of JOY,” Barry Shore is a mental health activist, philanthropist, multi-patent holding entrepreneur, speaker, author, podcaster, and former quadriplegic. After a rare disease paralyzed Shore from the neck down, he created the JOY of LIVING Institute™ (a platform that teaches people to live in joy, no matter the situation), Keep Smiling (a movement that has reached multiple celebrities and distributed millions of “Keep Smiling” cards worldwide), and Changebowl (a philanthropic platform featured in Oprah Magazine.) Barry’s podcast, The JOY of LIVING, is heard globally and has over two million downloads.

Barry’s latest book, “The JOY of Living: How to Slay Stress and Be Happy” is available on Amazon and Apple Books. For more information, check out Barry’s website and follow him @barryeshore on Facebook, or Instagram.

An Interview with Barry Shore

Please tell me a little about you and your work

As the ”Ambassador of JOY”, my mission is to enable everyone everywhere to learn to Live in JOY, daily…no matter the circumstances. After all, going from being paralyzed to a champion swimmer brings credibility. The benefit is that people become healthier.

What led you to become a Mental Health Activist?

Imagine standing up in the morning fully healthy and that evening being in the hospital totally paralyzed…and not from an auto accident or spinal injury but a rare disease taking over Your body. I was a quadriplegic and spent 144 days in the hospital, 2 years in a hospital bed in my own home unable to move, 4 years in a wheelchair, and 1.5 years with braces on both legs from my hips to my ankles. Thankfully I was able to develop and refine a positive, purposeful, powerful pleasant attitude. As a result, I built and articulated the 11 Strategies for living in JOY daily. No matter the circumstances.

How can you expect our mental health to be impacted in the post-COVID-19 era?

The ‘silver lining’ aspect of covid is the ability to recognize and have RESILIENCE. This is one of the 3 fundamentals of living well: Life has Purpose, GO MAD (Make A Difference), and uncover the power and secrets of everyday words and terms. Great example: SMILE. This acronym means: Seeing Miracles In Life Everyday. By learning these meanings and using them in daily living You become a beacon for others and a channel of goodness. Which results in You becoming healthier.

What are some of your strategies for joyous living?

Of course, I think all 11 strategies in my book “The JOY of Living: How to Slay Stress and Be Happy” are efficacious BUT, 3 that have strong resonance are:

  • Get UNcomfortable
  • Your Words Matter
  • Be KIND Always

Each Strategy has a Full Chapter in the Book and along with real-life stories, there is a Section Called Growth With Action which helps make the Strategy tangible and Real.

Get UNComfortable is the favorite strategy of 108 Aida who I first began working with when she was 95!

Your Words Matter has helped 19-year-old Madeline learn to live in greater harmony with her family of 4 siblings.

Be KIND Always saved the life of Heather. She was walking towards the building where she was going to jump when someone did a small kindness for her. She paused. Hesitated and turned around.

How does stress impact our mental health?

Everyone knows: Stress KILLS. JOY Heals. Worse though is that Stress is cumulative. When people learn and use the simple, effective everyday Stress reduction techniques that The JOY of LIVING provides, better Mental Health is at hand.

STRESS is an Acronym for Stomach Turning Reality Enabling Self Sabotage! When people allow the everyday and unusual stressors (and COVID has been one of the most Potent ever) to disrupt their Life and don’t Have or Use Stress-reducing modalities then the pressures can result in physical, psychological, and emotional ailments.

However, when people recognize STRESS as meaning Stomach Turning Reality (Yes, tough stuff happening) Enabling Self SUCCESS then the forces of tragedy are actually turned into Triumph. And that’s what The JOY of lIVING provides: modalities for coping with and triumphing over Stress.

What are some of your tips to slay stress?

Three that have helped many thousands of people:

  • Breathe. Not just Breathe but allowing 4 Conscious Loving Breaths deep into the diaphragm. This takes 28–33 seconds and done twice per day, once before noon and once in the afternoon.
  • Become a JOY Generator. On the site, I show this is done. It takes 55 seconds per day. Twice a day is recommended. Helps bring JOY to Family, Friends, and all living beings.
  • GIVING. The KEY to Living in JOY daily is in one word: GIVING. (But what can you give if you have nothing to give? The best way available is to send via email, for FREE, KEEP SMILING Cards. These are accessed from )

Does stress affect whether or not we experience joy?

Indisputably YES. STRESS lessens the ability to experience and generate JOY.

And JOY is the means of opening and unclogging the twin channels of Giving and Receiving.

How do the stress of COVID-19 and the post COVID-19 era impact our stress levels and the possibility of workplace burnout?

People are understandably nervous about returning to “normal” crowd-related activities despite vaccinations and other precautions. The Never Can Happen is real. That said, people who use the 11 Strategies and simple practical practices for LIVING in JOY will find it easier and more FUN to regain their Balance. Most important is that people who use the tools SHARE with Family and Friends. This is a critical part of abiding burnout and refilling the Cup of Abundance. Sharing is Caring.

What are some of your tips for those experiencing workplace burnout?

See Step 6 above and most importantly is to SHARE. Share is an acronym meaning Spreading Happiness And Rejuvenating Energy. By doing so in a soft gentle loving way the person who SHARES finds renewed strength and vigor. The simplest example, becoming a blessing dispenser. Saying to someone, did I tell You today how much I Appreciate You, transforms lives. Try it. You’ll be delighted.

Follow Barry Shore



Ashley Nestler, MSW

Mental Health Specialist | Bibliotherapist | Author | Book Reviewer| Contact Me: