Eight Insights for Balanced Living

Finding balance in all that we do is a journey. Every part of our being—physical, emotional, spiritual and mental—desires to be in equilibrium. It’s our natural state. And our job is to listen to our deepest wisdom that more than anything in the world, wants to help us return to this natural state of well-being.

How do you stay grounded and not allow yourself to get caught up in the chaos and uncertainty that seems to surround us these days?

As much as many of us would like a quick solution or Band-Aid fix to bring us into a state of equilibrium—a recommendation for a life-changing professional organizer, a snazzy new energy drink or uber-efficient PDA or time-management system—ultimately, creating balance is something we must do from the “inside out,” the only approach I believe is truly sustainable.

Here are eight insights I use daily to help me feel centered, enhance my emotional well-being, and stay in touch with what really matters:

  1. It’s essential to be willing to pause—to assess where we are in the moment (day/week/month) and know that course corrections are necessary to the journey.
  2. Self-care is a non-negotiable. Regular self-nourishment should be like oxygen. And it’s more essential than ever to commit to the practice when you feel you can’t take time for yourself—this is when you most need to.
  3. Start your day with stillness—whatever that looks like for you. When we come from a place of being fully present, we are wiser, more effective, and more focused in all that we do.
  4. Be gentle with yourself. These were probably the most life-changing words ever spoken to me. Release perfectionism, self-doubt, and self-criticism, and know that “your ordinary self is enough” (Carol Orsborn).
  5. Take time to reconnect with who you are. This is not something you check off your to-do list, but rather a regular practice. What do you need now (not last month) to feel more alive?
  6. Slow down. We’re human beings, not human doings. We’re all moving too fast and trying to do too much. As my eight-year-old often tells me, “Mom, slower is better.” More and more research is highlighting the ineffectiveness of excessive multi-tasking.
  7. Become comfortable living with polarity. Coming into balance is realizing we can hold joy and possibility at the same time as sadness and frustration.
  8. Live intentionally. This year thousands of us embraced the Live Inside Out movement (a Facebook community focused on intentional living) as we collectively responded to the call to live a life that is driven by our internal values, as opposed to external or societal values.

My favorite quote by Goethe still inspires me and is taped up in my office and on my refrigerator: “Things which matter most should never be at the mercy of things which matter least.” What matters most to you in your life and what changes are you willing to make to ensure that your true priorities remain at the top of your list?

© Kripalu Center for Yoga & Health. All rights reserved. To request permission to reprint, please e-mail editor@kripalu.org.

Renée Peterson Trudeau is an internationally recognized transformational coach, speaker, catalyst, founder and president of Career Strategists, and the author of two award-winning books The Mother’s Guide to Self-Renewal: How to Reclaim, Rejuvenate and Re-Balance Your Life and Nurturing the Soul of Your Family: 10 Ways to Reconnect and Find Peace in Everyday Life.

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