9 Tips To Unwind That Don't Cost A Dime

We live in a chaotic world where stress is unavoidable. And we inadvertently add to this stress through gadgets (like cell phones and iPads) that feed us an addictive diet of stimuli. The good news is that there are many simple steps we can take to regain a sense of serenity. Start with these, and in no time you'll find your zen.

1. Unplug.

Give yourself a quick mental detox by taking a break from, gadgets, technology, and media. See if you can go 30 minutes (or even better: a few hours) without looking at a screen.

2. Breathe.

All it takes is 10 deep breaths to calm your mind. Start by simply paying attention to your breath. Allow that to deliver you away from the chaos. Next start to count your breaths. As you inhale, silently count to yourself: One, two, three, four, five. As you exhale, reverse your counting: Five, four, three, two, one. This will ground you in the present, as it's hard to worry about the past or the future when you're focused on counting.

Next try repeating a silent mantra timed to your breath. As you inhale, say "right here" and as you exhale, say "right now." Another option is to use beautiful breathing exercise from Thich Nhat Hahn: "Breathing in, I calm body and mind. Breathing out, I smile. Dwelling in the present moment I know this is the only moment."

3. Meditate.

Close your eyes and sit still without any sound for 5 to 10 minutes. This is all it takes to quiet your mind.

4. Rest.

Take a day off, or, if your schedule permits, take an afternoon nap. Let go of the addiction to urgency. Put away your iPhone, stop looking at your calendar, even take off your watch. Our old emotional paradigms and unhealthy mental resistance (known as samskaras) melt away when we surrender. All it takes is 30 minutes a day to recharge from fatigue.

5. Exercise.

Practice yoga, go for a walk, get on two wheels. Choose something that doesn't cause you stress.

6. Declutter.

Start with your home, your office, your basement, your kitchen, or your closet.

7. Go on a "complaint-free diet" for a week.

That means no more outward criticizing of others, and no more silent criticizing of yourself. This shift will take more than one try. Stay with it. Practice loving inner dialogue.

8. Accept yourself.

Surrender your need to compare and compete. Put aside the habit of judging, which feeds guilt and blame. Practice repeating to yourself: I let go of comparing, I let go of competing, I let go of judgments.

9. Detox your mind.

Practice this "Letting go" mantra to release and dissolve old habits:

I let go.

I let go of the need to know why things happen.

I let go of the need to know the outcome.

I let go of the need to be needed.

I let go to love as my guide.

I let go for my need for approval.

I let go of the details.

I let go of over controlling.

I let go of my worry.

I let go of my fear.

I let go of anger.

I let go of worrying.

I let go of my guilt.

I let go of blame.

I let go of my resistance.

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