The Balancing Act
We’ve all had times when things are running smoothly, as well as times when we feel like things are crazy, and we feel “off.” Some of us know all too well the chaos that can consume our lives. We are scattered and feel like we are going in a million different directions. Our “to do” lists are relentless and we are on auto drive.
During these times, it is safe to say we have lost our balance. Losing one’s balance is easy to do in our fast-paced and busy lives if we don’t consciously try to regain our balance and protect it from outside influences.
So, how does one find this seemingly ever-elusive state of balance once it is lost? Follow these 5 simple steps to help you regroup when you feel like your life is spinning out of control:
- Breathe! When we are stressed, we tend to unknowingly take more shallow breaths. Not only can this create tension in our body from lack of blood flow to our muscles, but also it causes our body to hold onto energy that can become stagnant and congested, leading to tension, stress, pain, or illness. Taking breaths with long exhales LITERALLY releases scattered energy. Whenever you are feeling anxious or overwhelmed, take a deep breath, open your mouth slightly, and make the “ahhhhhhhh” sound as you breathe out (repeat as many times as necessary). Hold the intention to release anything that doesn’t serve you and you will almost instantly feel a lot better. Also, remember to stay present in the moment. If you keep too much of your energy tied up in past actions or projected into future events, you will be drained of your much needed energy for the present.
- Center & Ground yourself. When you are not centered, your energy is dispersed and you feel scattered. When you are not grounded, it feels a little bit like running around in circles; as hard as you might try, you just cannot “get it together” because you are not rooted in your life. Incorporating meditative practices into your daily life can go a long way in helping you come back to center. And by “meditative practice” I mean ANY activity that clears your mind: think yoga, running, surfing, or gardening. The list can go on and on.
- Let up on the self-criticism and simply do your best. Be easy on yourself and let up on negative self-talk. As Don Miguel Ruiz writes in his book, The Four Agreements, “Always do your best. Your best is going to change from moment to moment; it will be different when you are healthy as opposed to sick. Under any circumstance, simply do your best, and you will avoid self-judgment, self-abuse, and regret.”
- Simplify! Simplify! Simplify! Recognize that changes may need to be made in order to reestablish flow and balance. Identify what isn’t working in your life and be choosy about what you keep or let into it. A good first step is to clear your calendar of any and all unnecessary activities.
- Do something fun that you enjoy. One way to balance the things that drain your energy is to be sure to include activities that GIVE you energy (and don’t feel guilty about it!). It is so important to remember that these energy-boosting activities will be different for each individual. Some people re-energize alone with activities such as reading, gardening, or yoga. Others may receive the desired benefits from socializing with friends or joining other group activities, such as book clubs, exercise classes, cooking classes, etc. First you must identify with what works for you and then make time for your “play”. My energy boosting activities include yoga, reading, being creative, learning, and doing something fun with my family and friends.
When we take a pause to restore balance, we allow ourselves to step away from any imagined sense of urgency and explore the bigger picture of rediscovering our joy, purpose, and connection to those around us. Sometimes, we may get off track and forget that these are the things—actually, the only things—that really count towards a balanced, sustaining life.
Life out of balance = Body out of balance
Finally, when your life is out of balance. Your body most likely is too. By incorporating these 5 steps, you not only will be happier, you will be healthier too.
- Get Centered & Grounded
- Do Your Best