Tips To Achieve Balance In Your Life
A balanced life is one in which you feel an equilibrium within yourself. Grounding yourself, having perspective and finding your internal serenity comes from starting with the inner-self-care basics. Follow these top tips for a grounded, balanced and holistic life.
In a fast-paced world, it’s crucial to take the time out of your day to literally have a time-out. Letting your mind wander and not jumping from task to task (or screen to screen), is a pivotal turning point in feeling like you have balance in your life. Meditation and mindfulness (and I don’t mean just the ‘ohm-ing and ah-ing” kind but the mental time-out to be with your mind) helps release hypertension, anxiety, depression and produces calming changes in various parts of the brain. These parts of the brain are the areas associated with memory retention, empathy, and most importantly, developing a sense of self.
By quieting your mind, you allow yourself the time to figure out, daily, who you are. This is an essential process in caring for your inner-self. This includes reflecting on things like your accomplishments today, your fears and doubts, and strengthening your positive self-talk. Take the time to check yourself out. You’ll often find that you likely spend so much of time asking other people how they’re doing, and about zero seconds asking yourself the same question! So, quiet your mind for a couple minutes today and ask yourself “How am I doing?”
2. Balanced Diet
Eating is one of our most primal human needs. I know I don’t just speak for myself when I say that my day literally revolves around my meals. If I’m ever leaving my usual routine my first question will be when, where and what we’ll be eating. The fact that food is so central to who we are as human beings means that it’s valuable to understand that our food should be nourishing. Food affects your body in numerous different ways – it provides much more than just nutrition. Eating the ‘right’ foods can contribute to your mood, stress levels and energy intake. Vitamins play a vital role in the function of neurotransmitters and boosting energy levels. This is crucial in helping you function at your best possible self!
When we talk about nutritious eating we’re not discussing the next fad diet or having a restrictively ‘healthy’ lifestyle. This brings me onto a topic dear to my heart: intuitive eating. Honestly, I’m just glad that this concept has a name because it excuses how one minute I’m eating raw, vegan Pad Thai salad and the next I’m scoffing a dark chocolate mousse. Your body’s cravings are memos from the body to signal to you your emotional needs. When your body is craving something, it’s telling you that you need it. (Okay, disclaimer, if you’re craving McDonalds chicken nuggets all day, every day it doesn’t count – but I totally relate). Cravings are guides to the discipline of intuitive nutrition. The key to a balanced diet, and thereby a balanced life, is everything in moderation. Eat a clean, nutritious diet but when your body is in the mood for that slice of pizza don’t shut it down – feed your soul.
3. Sleep For Balance
So, we’ve all heard of being ‘hangry’, but let me introduce to the lesser known phenomenon that is ‘slanger’. When your body doesn’t get enough sleep it’s harder for you to regulate your emotions and consequently, stress-triggers are much more easily fallen into. You become ‘slangry’. Restful sleep is an essential element of self-care. When you function on less than optimal sleep it’s a sign that you need to treat yourself better. Inadequate amounts of sleep affects your body’s innate balance leading to all sorts of issues like a weak immune system, depression and reduced alertness.
Your brain clears itself of ‘garbage’ while your sleep – accumulated toxins and the likes. That’s why you usually feel a lot better after a good night’s rest. You take the trash out of your house every day, so why wouldn’t you do the same with your brain? More zzz’s makes for a happier and more balanced you.
4. Laugh Often
There’s not much in this world that compares to a real, deep laugh. Not only does it feel good, but it’s scientifically proven to actually be good for you! A hearty laugh relieves physical and emotional stress from your body. It relaxes the muscles as well as the mind. Because what happens in the body is directly correlated with what happens in the mind – the fact that laughter affects the brain so positively means that your whole body benefits.
Too often you’ll find that you go through your day without taking the time to really enjoy the little moments in life. Next time someone makes you laugh make sure to thank them. It’s one of the fundamental ways that we communicate as human beings. Laughter releases endorphins which are your feel-good hormone. This means that laughter also has the unique ability to change your perspectives on situations. Next time your feeling over-stressed or can’t seem to find the balance in your life – don’t forget to laugh, often!
5. Say Goodbye To Negativity
In searching and striving for balance, anticipate obstacles along the way. Instead of viewing them as roadblocks, turn them into building blocks. Whatever you can change, do. Whatever you can’t, change your attitude instead! Once you know all your inner tricks that throw you off, prepare for a counter-attack. Perspective is the key to saying goodbye to negativity and embracing a balanced life. I’m not saying you should smile and laugh it off when your dog dies. But instead of thinking “classic, another misery to add to the list of ‘Why Life Is Out To Get Me’”, switch it up so your inner voice sounds more like “Wow, (insert pet name here) had such a rich long life, I’m so grateful for the time I got to spend with them”. This can be more than just for the big stuff you have to handle. Small triggers can be anticipated and dealt with clarity and open-mindedness.
This doesn’t mean that you become this super positive bubble of rainbows and sunshine. Make sure you’re able to process the negative too, but that you can say goodbye to it eventually. Life is about balance after all. Don’t avoid your dark side (we all have those voices in our heads) but once you’ve acknowledged and validated them, let go and move on. It’s time to say goodbye to negativity in order to achieve balance.
6. Give Back
An essential, yet commonly overlooked, aspect of finding balance in life comes through helping others. The saying “sharing is caring” goes much further than just caring for the person your helping. It’s got a boomerang effect of caring for you too! There are numerous psychological and even physical benefits associated with giving. It activates regions in the brain that are associated with pleasure leading to a reduction in stress levels and increased self-esteem. During giving behavior, your body releases hormones such as serotonin, dopamine, and oxytocin – all the hormones associated with the feel-good factor. Giving back to your community, friends, family, or the environment has lasting positive effects on your life satisfaction and sense of purpose. It’s not just caring for others, but a crucial part of caring for yourself.
There’s nothing worse than feeling off-kilter with the Universe. You have a unique ability to move through your day feeling connected to your experiences. Achieving balance is about congruence between your external and internal self. Don’t wait for tomorrow to get your life back into balance – start caring for your inner-self today.
“Balance is not something you find, it’s something you create” Jana Kingsford