Shot of a young businesswoman taking a break at her office desk

Spotlight Self Care: How to Relax Anywhere.

Close your eyes. Imagine that you are in a place where time has no meaning. What do you see? Is it a calm, crystal blue ocean with white sands? Is it a remote cottage in the middle of the forest? Is it the quiet nook in the corner of your living room?

Was it hard or easy to maintain that thought? Did you start to think about other things? Work? Family? Life?

Tranquility can happen anywhere. It is not dependent on a time of place, but rather a state of mind.

Many philosophers, gurus and “wellness practitioners” differ about how to invite in and live in a state of pure tranquility. The one thing they agree on however, is the need to be intentional about obtaining and maintaining it. There is something purposeful in the action of choosing peacefulness.

What are the coordinates?

Environment does help. For example, walking through a meadow or on a beach immediately elicits feelings of peacefulness for some. But how often have we been in a tranquil environment; places designed for relaxation, but we are miles away mentally with our thoughts racing from one worry to the next?

Here are some quick and easy steps taken from and that can transport our thoughts from stress to bliss:

Breathing Exercises:

1. Close your eyes and notice your breathing.
2. Turn all your attention to your natural breathing pattern and feel the air enter and leave your nose or mouth. Visualize the flow of air as it passes through your mouth, airways, down into your belly, and back out again.
3. Survey your body for any tension, and as you exhale, feel the tension leave that part of your body. Visualize your breath reaching your forehead, your neck, your shoulders, your arms… and then releasing the tension as you exhale.
4. If your mind wanders to another worry or thought, let it go and gently redirect your attention back to your breath.

Guided Imagery:

1. Get into a comfortable position.
2. Close your eyes and relax.
3. Begin to visualize a scene, memory, or story that you find calming. The key is to find something that allows you to focus your attention and let go of other thoughts.
4. Begin to create this scenario in your mind. Visualize all the details of the image or story, as slowly and carefully as you can. Any time you find your mind drifting to an unrelated thought (a worry about the day or a “must do” for tomorrow), acknowledge it and let it go.
5. Turn your mind’s eye back to your relaxing story. It is okay if this takes time before it works, each time you practice you will get better at it.


Identify What You Can and Can’t Control:  Getting clear also includes focusing on what you can and can’t control. That’s what (Lisa) Kaplin does when she feels stressed and overwhelmed. “I think about precisely what I’m concerned about [and] then ask myself if I have any control over it. If the answer is no – and it often is – I let it go. If the answer is yes, then I do what I can and move on.” (Psych Central, 20 Ways to Relax and Unwind:  Lisa Kaplin, PsyD)








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