Do you want a magic guide to achieving the ultimate life balance?
After 5 years of writing about all different areas of life balance, about all the strategies of finding this balance, about all the obstacles that need to be overcome to discover this ultimate equilibrium I am ready to give you the blueprint that you can use every day. It might not be 100% complete (and it will never be because of the differences in our lives) but it will give you everything you need to find that inner feeling of peace, harmony and balance that all of us are looking for.
Digest it slowly, savor every piece and come back to it daily.
To keep your life in BALANCE:
#1. B – Be present and mindful
Whatever the present moment contains, accept it as if you had chosen it.
New research on the brain in the past 10 years has explained a lot why we tend to focus on negative experiences. Our brain is designed to help us survive and stay away from any painful and dangerous situations. As a result of this survival mode we tend to pay 5 times more attention to negative events than we do to positive ones.
Of course, staying balanced when you are bombarded with negative events (even if it’s just your perception of the world) is impossible. That’s the main reason why learning to be mindful and present in every moment is a vital skill for life balance.
Recent research on mindfulness reveals that practicing the “Being in the Now” skill helps to change the way our brains process information. This change helps us focus more on positive experiences and eliminate the destructive effect of negative thoughts.
Click here to learn 10 practical ways to practice mindfulness anywhere
#2. A– Appreciate your life and your blessings
Gratitude makes sense of our past, brings peace for today, and creates a vision for tomorrow.
This morning I came into my girls’ room to start getting them ready for preschool. One of them immediately ran up to me saying
“Mama, mama! I want to show you something beautiful!”
She asked me to help her open the blinds and then pointed her little finger outside. She was admiring beautiful sunrise, its first gentle rays of sun just breaking the fluffy blanket of silver clouds.
What could be better than starting a day with a small moment of appreciation like that?
A recent study asked participants to write down 5 things they were grateful for once a week for 10 weeks, another group was asked to write down 5 hassles or problems a week. At the end of the study the “appreciative” group was feeling more satisfied and optimistic. They had fewer headaches, spent more time exercising and taking care of their health. Overall the grateful group felt happier and more balanced (reference: research by Sonja Lyubomyrski.)
Our daily lives are full of errands, chores and nuisance events. We rarely take time to stop and appreciate small things that we have in life whether it is a beautiful sunrise or the fact that we have a device to read our favorite emails and articles on.
Gratitude is one of the cornerstones of life balance. Today spend some time appreciating your life. You will feel calmer and more content immediately, I promise.
#3. L– Love
Keep love in your heart. A life without it is like a sunless garden when the flowers are dead.
Life balance is impossible without love.
My twin girls are infatuated with Lion King these days. And every time that I think about “love” I get a soundtrack from Lion King stuck in my head “Can You Feel the Love Tonight.” If it were a video post I would have tried to sing it to you. On the other hand, it’s good that it’s not a video post because musical talents completely skipped me, so you are in luck!
But in all seriousness of it, Love is not limited to romantic feelings. Love is an all-encompassing attitude towards the world around us. Just think about all these meanings:
Love for your family.
Love for your spouse/partner (of course!)
Love for your friends.
Love for people around you.
Love for every little thing around you.
Even love for yourself.
Sometimes it’s hard to feel love towards people around us, especially if those are difficult people. My grandmother is one of those people and some days loving her feels like the heaviest burden. A while back I wrote a post about dealing with difficult people that might come in handy for you.
Inner balance and peace are impossible without learning to love (even the most difficult people around us.)
Today (and every day) show your love to the people around you. And don’t forget to show yourself some love by giving yourself a little “me”-break.
#4 A – Act and think positively
Our attitude toward life determines life’s attitude towards us.
Life balance and positivity go hand in hand. A recent meta-analysis of more than 200 studies found that positive attitude helps create success in all areas of life by making a person more effective and efficient at nearly everything they do (including career, relationships and physical health.)
Numerous studies have also proved that positive attitude is a common trait among centurions. Optimists are less likely to die from heart disease; the longevity and quality of their lives is also considerably improved compared to pessimists.
But let’s forget about all these studies and research and use our common sense. Think for a second of a person that you know that always seems happy. Is this person a pessimist or an optimist? I don’t even need to hear the answer.
Are you wondering how positive you really are? Take this free two-minute quiz to see if you need to work on your positivity muscle.
And here is something to boost your positivity levels immediately – 9 ways to be positive even if circumstances are against you.
And don’t forget to smile. Genuinely
#5 N – Nurture your relationships
You don’t develop courage by being happy in your relationships every day. You develop it by surviving difficult times and challenging adversity.
Relationships are an important part of our daily life. We meet people, we talk to people, we get mad (sometimes), we forgive, we miss people…
Do you remember the old classic Robinson Crusoe or a modern video interpretation of it Cast Away? Being cut off from civilization and any relationships didn’t go well with those guys. The truth is that even on days when we are frustrated with our family members, colleagues or friends we are still better off than being alone.
Close satisfying relationships are an integral part of life balance. Yes, sometimes these relationships require work and nurturing but what we get in return (love, support, inner calmness, sheer joy for something wonderful that is happening in the loved one’s or friend’s life) is well worth it.
Take a look at your life and the relationships that you have with people.
- Are you happy with how you treat people around you?
- Are you being supportive and positive?
- Are you genuine and sincere?
- Do you communicate honestly?
- Do you show your appreciation?
- Do you think about your loved ones’ needs and priorities?
- Do you treat people around you the way you want to be treated?
Give yourself some time to ponder on these questions. And once you are done come back to them the next day. Sometimes we need time to find answers to these questions, so don’t hurry.
Nurturing relationships takes time and love. Don’t rush but rather enjoy the process.
#6 C –Commit to contentment
Happiness is self-contentedness.
I gave this point a lot of thought. When I was thinking about a life balance key starting with letter “C” I first thought about “coping with challenges.” Yes, the ability to deal with life’s challenges is important but it just wasn’t it.
I kept thinking and thinking.
And then one of my girls asked me to give her a snack. Sure, it interrupted my thinking process but I was happy to help her.
I am a mother first of all, and only then I am a blogger, writer and everything else.
I stopped for a second to thank God for my family and for everything that I had in life. I felt inner peace and contentment.
Yes, contentment was definitely the word I was looking for.
Contentment encompasses gratitude, self-realization, and appreciation of your world. When you are content you are happy with what you have and who you really are (I borrowed this phrase from Leo Babauta)
Contentment doesn’t mean that you stop growing or that you get stuck in a small box created by your limiting beliefs and unrealized goals and dreams.
Contentment is a road to self-discovery that brings you inner peace (read my simple guide to inner peace) and true happiness that comes only from knowing yourself and making decisions based on this knowledge.
#7 E – Exercise your body and your mind
A strong body makes the mind strong.
About two weeks ago doctors put me on strict bed rest as I entered my third trimester of a twin pregnancy. The biggest challenge of bed rest for me is the lack of exercise. However, even while following doctor’s strict orders I was able to design a short daily Pilates program for myself to keep my back from aching, my muscles from tightening and stiffening and my mind from going crazy.
Exercise has been an integral part of my life for over 10 years now. And while I appreciate what physical activity does for my body I also know the effects of exercise on my mind and mood.
I can think clearer, stay in better mood, keep my energy levels up and overall feel better when I stay active. Exercise for life balance is not about having six pack abs or running a marathon; it is about creating a balanced connection between mind and body. One of the things that I enjoyed before the pregnancy was having a bi-weekly visit to a sauna. Growing up in Ukraine, I knew about the benefits of sauna and was excited about being able to continue my tradition in the US. I always felt that the heat was purifying my body and my mind and the time in sauna was excellent for reflecting on my life.
Exercising your mind is equally important. Keep your mind healthy and active through clean thoughts, new plans and goals, creative decisions and of course positive attitude.
All of these life balance keys will work ONLY if you work on them daily. So let’s review:
Life balance is the work that you do every day to be a better person and by being your best, most content and authentic self to contribute to the blossoming of the world around you.
Keep it balanced!
(Note: some of the links in this post are referral Amazon links which means that I will get a small commission if you decide to buy something by following the link. However, this article is not a promotional post and the links in it lead only to the resources that in my honest opinion might be helpful to you.)