Kathy Whelan

Posted on January 03, 2018

We hope you are ready to thrive in 2018! Is it possible to not only survive but find a way to THRIVE in the new year? With the excitement and challenges a new year brings, we want to equip people with the tools to handle and respond to stress differently in the upcoming months.

In a world where we are constantly bombarded with stimulation, our bodies experience physical and mental stress repeatedly throughout the day, and we may never get a chance to recover and return to a relaxed state. This can lead to a long list of setbacks and illnesses. What if taking small, daily actions to reduce our stress becomes a 2018 New Year’s resolution we commit to? Instead of making a list of goals that relate to what we are doing, let’s shift our attention to how we are BEING.

How you care for yourself in 2018 will affect your ability to handle stress: getting adequate sleep and regular exercise, eating a healthy diet and spending time in positive, supportive relationships will all be helpful. Here are three relaxation techniques you could try:

A breathwork exercise: focusing on slow breathing, counting in from 1-3, and out 1-3, over and over.

Guided imagery: imagining yourself in a place where you feel calm and peaceful, and staying there in your mind.

Mantra repetition: using a word or phrase that is calming or encouraging to you and saying it again and again. Bonus tip: Choose a word that represents what you would like to manifest in 2018!

All of these techniques are best practiced in a quiet place with closed eyes or a soft, downward gaze. Observe, but try not to react to, thoughts, feelings or emotions as they occur, then gently return to your focus. After experimenting with these techniques and finding what works for you, try to make it a daily habit. Any time spent using these techniques is better than none, but the more you practice, the more benefit you can expect. In addition to these practices, mindful yoga develops body awareness and provides another way to help the body and mind relax and recharge. What you practice on your mat or in a seated meditation can bring benefit to many areas of your life.

You may find other ways to make 2018 a year in which you thrive. The important thing is to discover what works for you. We would love to hear from you! If you’d like to share your learnings or would like some guidance or support along the way, we are always here.

To a happy, healthy 2018!

Kathy Whelan

Certified Integrative Health Coach through Duke Integrative Medicine; Mindfulness for Professionals training, Duke Integrative Medicine


Emily Horsford

Certified Yoga Instructor through Kripalu Center for Yoga and Health, and  Mindfulness-Based Stress Reduction Trainer through the UMASS Medical School’s Center for Mindfulness in Medicine, Health Care, and Society


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