Okay… so I secretly despise the word “balance.” I mean, what does that even mean, to have “balance” in your life?
It’s one of those buzzwords that we love to throw around, pretending we all have (or want to have) our shit together, 24/7.
We (well… at least, most of us) don’t have our shit together, all the time. Things go wrong, we get angry, frustrated, overwhelmed, lost, things come up… and we often just feel this need to have everything figured out. You see someone else juggling work, family, school, home life, whatever, in this seemingly effortless fashion and you start feeling inadequate.
That secret formula which you can use to make everything work out smoothly? Well, it just doesn’t exist.
Don’t you sometimes wish, that you could stop listening to your brain?
I mean, just for a little bit. Like on those days when you get in your bed at the end of the day, and instead of unwinding you keep re-living your day, you worry about getting things done on time.
Then, all of a sudden you remember something someone has said to you and next thing you know your mind is racing.
Sometimes I think that my mind is very much like my work desk; once in a while, I need to get rid of all the clutter that found its way inside. Thing is, cleaning up, organizing and de-cluttering my desk is much easier than quieting and de-cluttering my mind.
HOW TO QUIET YOUR MIND + REGAIN BALANCE
PRACTICE BEING PRESENT
I love using mindfulness bells to bring myself to a present moment, whenever I start feeling like I’m losing control. We’re often so distracted, we don’t realize what’s happening around us. I drop something, I hit my elbow or my knee, I see something sparkle or hear something beep around me- I use all of those things to bring me back to present moment. Whenever I see or hear them, I automatically think to myself “What am I thinking right now? Am I being present?“.
When you feel anxious or overwhelmed, those feelings can act as a domino effect. All of the sudden all you can think about is things going wrong, or not getting something done on time. That, in turn, makes you even more anxious and worried. The key is to catch those feelings as they come and to stop the pattern. Recognize them for what they are and then pause.
Take a deep breath, bring your mind to the present and focus on what you’re doing at that particular moment. This will take a lot of practice, at first. Reading this book is a great place to start if you want to learn how to practice being present.
BREAK OLD HABITS AND PATTERNS
Even some of your small habits can make a difference between living in chaos, and bring more “balance” to your life. Reaching for your phone while working, hitting the snooze button 5 times in a row every single morning, multitasking. Identify one of those small, thoughtless habits that don’t serve you, and break it.
Tackle one habit at a time, and don’t expect it to happen overnight, give yourself at least a couple of weeks. Change takes time, so don’t try to change everything at once. Focus on one thing at a time.
SPEND MORE TIME ALONE
If you love working and staying busy and productive, then this might be a little difficult for you. However, it’s the best thing you can do for lowering your stress levels and anxiety. I know that when you feel anxious or worried, your first instinct is to distract yourself. To bring even more noise into the equation. Being alone with your thoughts can be intimidating and a little scary.
Notice those thoughts and feelings as they come, acknowledge them, don’t resist them. As you acknowledge them, don’t say: “I am feeling so overwhelmed” but instead say: “I have the thought of feeling overwhelmed“. This will let you detach a little from those feelings. Then, get a little quiet. Try yoga or meditating, go for a walk; journal or find the time to just be still for a couple of minutes a day.
Automate what you can and cut back on any activities that don’t bring you joy or are unproductive and are wasting your precious time. Not putting things away right away, “window’ shopping online for hours, complaining, gossiping, procrastinating, being stuck on Facebook all day-all of these are time-wasters. Re-prioritize, re-evaluate; ask yourself if a particular activity or relationship brings you joy or if it improves your life, in any other way. Once you simplify your life and cut out those distractions, you’ll be surprised at how much more productive you’ll become and how much time you’ll have.
Here’s the most important part: you have to make these practices a daily habit. Have a little daily catch-up with yourself. Don’t let those stressful or negative emotions build up. Don’t wait until your mind becomes too “messy” with distractions.
Learn to look past judgmental thoughts and remember that you don’t have to have everything figured out and that shouldn’t stop you from feeling peaceful and calm. You have a lot more control over your life than you sometimes think.