The stress and strain of constantly being connected can sometimes take your life -- and your well-being -- off course. GPS For The Soul can help you find your way back to balance.
GPS Guides are our way of showing you what has relieved others' stress in the hopes that you will be able to identify solutions that work for you. We all have de-stressing "secret weapons" that we pull out in times of tension or anxiety, whether they be photos that relax us or make us smile, songs that bring us back to our heart, quotes or poems that create a feeling of harmony, or meditative exercises that help us find a sense of silence and calm. 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 tranquility.
Since there’s no universal antidote to stress –- and no single way we experience stress -– Dr. Dan Goleman suggests that people are more likely to keep up with a regular relaxation practice if it fits their style and situation.
“There’s no shortage of stressors in our lives: money, jobs, health issues, strained relationships and grim news reports from around the world,” says Goleman. “Our system isn’t programmed to be in constant fight or flight mode. The body needs regular periods of rest and relaxation. Practicing relaxation techniques regularly can help you balance your nervous system, feel more at ease, and better cope with life’s stressful challenges.”
In his GPS Guide below, Goleman shares some examples of his favorite relaxation techniques -– from mindfulness meditation to deep breathing. Try them all to discover which one works best for you. Practicing these techniques regularly will enable you to become more relaxed at will, especially when you need it most: when you’re feeling overwhelmed and stressed.
Close your eyes and bring your attention to your breath. Simply become aware of every breath as it comes and goes.
Get in touch with the sensations of the air as it passes in and out of your nose. Be fully aware of the whole in-breath, the whole out-breath.
Any thoughts that come to you, anything you hear -- they’re all just distractions during this time.
As you become aware of them, just note them and let them go, and bring your mind back to your breath.
Watch every breath, from beginning to end, with full concentration. Not tense, just easy and relaxed. Simply noting: breathing in, breathing out.
Whenever your mind wanders, just bring it back to your breath. Don’t try to control your breath in any way ... let it find its own rhythm and just be fully aware of your breathing. Watch every in-breath, every out-breath.
Any thoughts, any sounds... just distractions. Let them go. Return your mind to the breath.... Breathing in, breathing out.
Now, when you feel ready, slowly open your eyes and be still for a few moments, scanning your body, just noticing how different parts feel.
When you're ready to get up, don't rush off. Stretch, start slowly. And then go about your day.
While at Harvard, "Emotional Intelligence" author Daniel Goleman’s research focused on methods that counter the impacts of stress. He found that some people experience stress in the form of worries and anxieties, while for others it manifests in physical problems, such as muscle tension or stomach pain. His colleagues have also found that different people get greater benefit from some methods of relaxing than from others.
Follow Dr. Goleman on Twitter: @DanielGolemanEI
For more GPS Guides, click here.