The stress and strains of our always-connected lives can sometimes take us off course. GPS For The Soul can help you find your way back to balance.
GPS Guides are our way of showing you what works for others in the hopes that you can find out what works for yourself. Whether it's photos that relax you or make you smile, songs that bring you back to your heart, quotes or poems that balance you or meditative exercises that help de-stress you, we all have tricks that we use when we get bent out of shape. We encourage you to look at the GPS Guide below, visit our other GPS Guides here, and share with us your own personal tips for finding peace, balance and harmony.
Dr. Peggy Drexler, author and Assistant Professor of Psychology in Psychiatry, Weill Medical College of Cornell University
My Dog Polly
Walking in the door when I've been away from my dog, Polly -- a five minute absence usually does it. Stress has no chance against an onslaught of wiggling affection. I also like to sit and read beside a slumbering dog. Their rhythmic breathing, the little yips and leg twitches when they dream, project a security and belief that: "This is my house, and all is well."
I used to read Dr. Seuss to the kids when they were little. Sometimes, I read it for myself. There is a hopeful innocence: "You have brains in your head. You have feet in your shoes. Your can steer yourself. Any direction you choose." There is anarchy: "I will not go away. I do not wish to go. And so, said the Cat in the Hat. So... so... so... so."
Nothing calms me like a walk on the beach -- especially with my yellow lab, Polly. Every time, she charges into the wave. It's like she is seeing the ocean for the first time. And so am I. I like sitting by the ocean in late afternoon with those important to you. Nobody feels any particular reason to say a word. Try walking in the sand in bare feet. I think it's like acupuncture. The sensations send a calming feel throughout your body.
Pen and Ink Drawings
I like to look at collections of pen and ink drawings. There is something about the artist's ability to convey emotion with such simplicity. I enjoy seeing sketches from famous artists, where one can see the very early stages of an important piece of art.
I take a long swim. There is something about the repetitive motion that centers me like a chant -- only it's physical. Concentrate on the rhythm, and other things go away.
Watching a blazing sunset on the water -- that last five minutes where everything is painted in gold.
Yoga helps. At first, you think: "This is crazy. I'm not calm. I'm bored." But if you let it, yoga eventually takes over. I've read the research, and heard all the new-age psychobabble. None of it matters when doing something makes you feel good.
Bruce Springsteen - Jungleland
I listen to Springsteen. For me, his lyrics are a kind of portal. "Barefoot girl sitting on the hood of a Dodge / Drinking warm beer in the soft summer rain." Step through to some of the best times of our lives.
Bruce Springsteen - Tunnel of Love
"You've got to learn to live with what you can't rise above."
Bruce Springsteen - Hungry Heart
"I went out for a ride and I never went back / Like a river that don't know where it's flowing. / I took a wrong turn and I just kept going."
Bruce Springsteen - Darlington County
"Driving in to Darlington City / Got a union connection with an uncle of Waynes / We drove 800 miles without seeing a cop / We got rock and roll music blasting off the T-top."
Bruce Springsteen - If I Should Fall Behind
"We said we'd walk together, baby come what may / That come the twilight should we lose our way / If as we're walking a hand should slip free / I'll wait for you / And should I fall behind / Wait for me."