Remember what was life was like without the internet, email, digital cable, cell phones, and PDAs? Me neither. Every day it seems there’s more to watch, more to read, more to know, just to keep up. Add a daily double latte (make that a triple) and it’s no wonder so many of us experience sensory overload and find it hard to wind down at day’s end.
Constant stimulation makes you lose touch with who you are and what you really need.
Try these simple tips to help tame the turmoil:
1. Turn it off.
Does your job really require you to check your email or track global stock market gyrations 24/7? Unplug the gadgets for a few hours. Trust me, they’ll still be there when you need them.
2. Do a body scan.
Find a quiet place to sit. Starting at the top of your head, check in with your body: Is your neck tight? Are you holding stress in your shoulders? Consciously release the tension in your body as you breathe deeply. (Start by exhaling completely—your next breath will be a big one  and this fresh intake of oxygen will refresh you.)
3. Visualize calm.
We all carry memories of more tranquil times: a beach getaway where you took lazy naps on the soft sand, an aromatherapy massage you got on your birthday. Recall how you felt in those peaceful settings and your body will naturally relax.
4. Read … and write.
Rather than watching TV or surfing online, pick up a magazine or book that inspires you. Better yet, write. Journaling is one of the best ways to recapture a sense of centeredness and to reconnect with yourself.
5. Focus on a long-term goal.
Are you learning to crochet so you can make an afghan for your friend’s baby shower? Have you always wanted to take up yoga? Big projects can reconnect you to your passion and help put your day-to-day concerns into perspective.
6. Look at the big picture.
The presidential election will be over in a few months; the economy will eventually take an upturn. Like the seasons, events happen in cycles. Instead of worrying about what may be immediately ahead, try thinking about the ebb and flow that are life’s natural rhythm.
Exercise can be part of your daily routine and a long-term goal too (see tip 5). For an extra lift: Sign up for a race or walk sponsored by an organization whose mission you believe in. You are not only helping yourself by participating, but helping others as well.
There’s nothing like cooking to help you leave your worries behind. Preparing a meal keeps you in the now and stimulates your senses. Bonus: eating a home-cooked meal is a wonderful way to nourish yourself.
9. Reconnect with nature.
Do you spend your day surrounded by traffic and the walls of a cubicle? It’s important to remind yourself that you live in a world of great natural beauty. Take a walk in the park or the woods, contemplate a glorious sunset or cuddle with a pet. There’s nothing more calming.
10. Show your love.
When was the last time you let a family member or friend know how much they mean to you? Expressing your appreciation through words and actions puts you back in touch with perhaps the most powerful force you have: your love for others.
You know how you have to charge your cell phone regularly? Think of these tips as ways to recharge your mind, body and spirit. Why not tune out the distractions and give yourself a mini-vacation every day? You’ve earned it!
By Peter Lappin for Guideposts