05/20/2013 12:02 am ET Updated Aug 13, 2013

GPS Guide: iFred Reminds Us There Is Always Hope (PHOTOS)

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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.

iFred’s "Hope Guide" is a free tool to regularly remind yourself that there is always hope. Even great leaders around the world have struggled to find hope; but, it is in this greatest period of despair that many have done their best work and contributed greatly to society.

We must integrate daily practices that focus on bringing hope to our heart, so when we face our greatest challenges, we find the strength and resilience to reach the other side.

This guide serves as a reminder to practice finding, visualizing and appreciating hope. This guide is not a treatment for depression. If you have a loss of hope that affects your daily life, the ability to accomplish tasks, and/or relationships, please talk to your primary care doctor about getting help or visit www.ifred.org for additional resources.

Breathing Exercise:
Breathing is one of the most overlooked ways to access immediate peace and calm, making room for hope. Deep breathing stimulates the parasympathetic nervous system, which helps calm the sympathetic nervous system. When the sympathetic nervous system is overworked, it can lead to depression, anxiety, adrenal fatigue and an imbalance in brain chemistry. Continually monitoring and practicing good breathing can go a long way towards good health.
The great news is you can do deep breathing exercises just about anywhere, anytime. You only need to sit in a comfortable position and get attune to your breath.

  1. Close your eyes, if possible.
  2. Place one hand on your stomach, and one over your chest.
  3. Breathe all the oxygen out of your lungs, through your nose, with your mouth closed.
  4. Now take a deep breath in, focusing on making your lower hand extend OUTWARDS. The goal is to have your abdominal wall move OUT, so if you feel your upper hand moving, try to focus down on the stomach and target the breathing in that area. Once you have a full breath in, hold for 2 seconds.
  5. Slowly release THE AIR OUT YOUR NOSE, noticing your hand on your abdominal wall coming back towards you. Stay focused on this hand and when you have breathed in all the air you are able, hold there for 2 seconds. Then slowly breathe back IN the nose repeating the exercise.
  6. Repeat 5-10 times.

Practice this technique as often as you can. The more you do, the more it becomes a natural part of breathing. As you get good at using your stomach for the breath, you can start placing your hands to your side and focus completely on the breathing. When your mind wanders, try to bring it back to the rhythm of the breath.

Some Visual Reminders Of Hope:

iFred GPS Guide

The mission of International Foundation for Research and Education on Depression (iFred) is to shine a positive light on depression and eliminate the stigma associated with the disease through prevention, research and education. Its goal is to ensure 100% of the 350 million people affected by depression seek and receive treatment. Depression is the leading cause of suicide worldwide, and hopelessness is a primary feeling of those we lose.
Share how you #ShinetheLight!