I'm the classic hyperactive type, always on the go physically (rollerblading, cycling, running) and mentally (nonstop multitasking). At least I used to be. Last month, while I was rollerblading on a bike path, a dad and his toddler stepped out in front of me. I managed to avoid them, but fell hard - I was left with a broken arm, a broken hip, and a triple fracture of my femur.
Being laid up - I'm on special crutches, and a hospital bed has temporarily displaced my sofa - was enormously stressful at first. After all, outdoor exercise has been my chief form of relaxation for many years. But things are looking up since I started making use of a few high-tech relaxation gizmos.
The heart of my new personal "Zen zone" is the HoMedics Gentle Rains Rain Forest Fountain. Available at Walmart.com, this $29.74 device - imagine a wooden shoebox tipped on its side - features illuminated droplets falling onto a metal screen... well, it's hard to describe. But the sound it makes - like rain falling in the forest - is incredibly soothing. The thing even smells like rain, and tropical sounds add to the calming effect. I start the day with "Chimes," switch to "Rainforest" birds at noon, and nod off in the evenings to the chirping crickets of "Summer Nights."
If falling rain isn't your cup of tea, you might consider the Sound Soother 20, $79.95 from SharperImage.com. At the push of a button, it produces any of 20 different sounds, including "Fireside," "Yosemite Falls," "Everglades," and "City Traffic" (which I don't quite understand). My favorite is the "Steam Train" chug-a-lug.
I've always found it soothing to listen to classical music when I write - something by Bach or Beethoven, or my favorite, Vivaldi's Four Seasons. Since my accident, I've been spending a lot of time listening to SonicAid CDs, $17 apiece at Brookstone.com. These discs purport to "address different areas of your well-being through the use of sounds recorded in the beta, alpha, theta, and delta frequencies." Mumbo-jumbo, maybe. But when I start to feel like a caged animal, the music on these CDs does a terrific job of calming me down.
Speaking of CDs, I've also been listening to a couple of guided meditations. Wayne Dyer's Meditation for Manifesting, $15 at Amazon.com, has helped me achieve goals and stop sweating the little stuff. Robin Sharma's Meditation for Elite Performers, $10.95 at amazon.com, is more geared toward brainstorming sessions, but it, too, settles my thoughts. That's saying a lot, as my mind can zoom around in a thousand different directions.
Biofeedback is another great way to eliminate negative thoughts and soothe jangled nerves. My favorite biofeedback device is the StressEraser, $299 from StressEraser.com. About the size of a Walkman, this interactive device attaches to your finger to measure your pulse and it awards "points" based on your ability to match your breathing to its LCD display. With daily practice, you learn to control your breathing, and thus soothe your mind, even without the device.
The doctors say I'll be skating again by August. That's great, because next April I plan to rollerblade from coast to coast in world-record time. (You can read about my plans at ADDAmerica.com). Meanwhile, please send healing thoughts my way!
NOTE: Product names, models, prices, and specifications were current as of print. Please leave a comment below if you are aware of more accurate and up-to-date information.
This article comes from the June/July 2006 issue of ADDitude.