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.
I've always been something of a pragmatist, at least as it applies to stress. While many people try to avoid pressure of any kind, I've actually come to accept the fact that, no matter what I do, it will always be there -- hiding around the corner, lurking under my desk, always waiting to pounce, especially when think I'm in the clear.
But I don't let stress taunt me. In fact, I fight back whenever it rears its head. And I do this by relying on what I call my "Freesome Threesome" -- a liberating trio of surefire rituals that relieves the pressure, brings me a sense of equilibrium -- sometimes even serenity -- and recharges me for the next onslaught.
I'm blessed with having New York's magnificent Central Park right outside my front door, so whenever the going gets tough, I go running! There's nothing like being surrounded by nature to remind you that the world is a pretty lovely place, and that the sound of chirping birds is more important than that constantly-ringing telephone. And in addition to all the physical benefits of jogging -- respiratory, muscle toning, weight maintenance -- you also get the benefit of being able to people watch as you run by them. That's something I never take for granted. It's important, I believe, to remind ourselves that the lives we live from 9 to 5 are just a tiny part of a bigger picture -- and sometimes that bigger picture is just outside your front door.
I've said it before and I'll say it again: The first and best way to cleanse your soul, recharge your batteries and unwind from the knot your day has tied you into is through laughter. Jerry Seinfeld once told me that the average child laughs about 75 times a day, while the average adult laughs 12 times a day. And we wonder why kids are more joyful than grownups? So whenever I can, I high-tail it to a comedy club and settle back for a night of funny. Beyond the psychic relief laughter provides, it's also great for you physically -- it relaxes your muscles, keeps your immune system humming (by decreasing stress hormones and boosting infection-fighting antibodies) and even protects the heart by keeping your blood vessels working. It also gives you that same endorphin rush you get after a good workout at the gym. Oh, yeah, and it usually provides a few new jokes you can try out on your colleagues when it's time to go back to work.
Most of us spend the better part of our workday listening to our bosses and our colleagues and -- most of all -- the sound of our own voices! And that can lead to sensory overload. So my surefire antidote at the end of the day is to close my mouth and open my ears. Phil and I have a wonderful collection of music that plays on endless loop in our home, and at dusk -- when the phone stops ringing and the meetings are over -- we like to turn up the volume just a bit and mellow out to our favorite playlists. While our choice of music varies with our moods, the top five in our rotation are:
- Bach and Chopin: The beauty of their music is transporting. No voices, just a wave of melody to take you back to your inner-self.
- Willie Nelson: Even though we're not from "country" territory, there's something about Willie's music that means home.
- James Taylor: His lyrics and his easy way with a song are very calming. And he's so playful. For getting rid of stress, getting back to playful is a very good thing.
- Andrea Boccelli: His voice and his songs are all about romance. That really helps take your mind out of the workday. And I especially love the songs because they're in Italian, my mom's language.
- Rod Stewart: Rod cinches the romance mood. And isn't that the best way to end the day?!
So there you have it -- my Freesome Threesome. Feel free to give my soul-cleansing methods a try, or come up with your own. But just remember: Life is short and the day is long, so why not fill both with the best you possible?
Follow Marlo Thomas on Twitter: www.twitter.com/MarloThomas