Techniques for Life Balance
Often times, you may run into situations or events that are out of your control. This is a natural part of life and there are some useful techniques to keep in mind to help you get through them. When feeling overwhelmed with stress or anxiety it’s easy to get caught up and lose focus on making your daily healthy choices. However, when you are balanced in your mind, it becomes easier to stay on track toward your goals and to maintain a healthy lifestyle overall. You can learn to ‘ride the wave’ of your thoughts, emotions, and physical response to the situation, instead of getting swept away by them. To reduce the chance that you will overeat or make choices you might regret in stressful situations, try these techniques for ‘riding the wave’:
● Start with a breath: Breathing is the connection between the mind and body. When you are anxious, you breathe slowly and shallowly. When you are relaxed you breathe deeply and slowly. By simply slowing down your breathing and focusing on the rhythm of your breaths, you can restore calmness and clarity.
● Loosen your muscles: You may carry tension in your muscles without even realizing it. By contracting then relaxing your large muscle groups, you can relieve the tension that happens throughout your day. Begin with the muscles in your arms, then shoulders, neck, mouth and face and so on. Alternately inhale and tense, then exhale and relax each muscle group, allowing the tension to flow out of you with each release.
● See it come true: Visualize a successful outcome to a stressful situation. Holding on to a positive mental picture can prevent a negative one from sneaking in.
● Be active: Aerobic activities relieve pent-up energy and restore perspective. Resistance exercises strengthen and provide focus. Stretching improves flexibility and relaxation. Combining these activities can maximize the benefits of restoring balance to both body and mind.
● Laugh it off: Laughter relaxes muscles, reduces tension and boosts ‘feel good’ brain endorphins. Watch a funny movie, play with your kids or pets, remind yourself of a funny situation when things get tense.
● Take five: Rushing from one activity to the next can create feelings of anxiety, as you struggle to fit in ‘just one more thing’. Cushion your activities with five minute breaks to regroup and reset your perspective. Set your alarm five minutes earlier. Depart for and show up for appointments and meetings five minutes early. Use the time to ground yourself in body and mind.
● Inspire yourself: Take a moment to set your personal affirmation in your mind. Remind yourself of this often throughout your day. Example affirmation: Everyone has stress, and I can handle mine.
● Take care of yourself: Taking care of others before yourself can be okay sometimes, but your life balance alters quickly when this becomes a habit. Treat yourself as a priority.
There is no perfect way to manage the craziness of life. Everyone has different sources of stress, anxiety and frustration. Find your body/mind connection and restore life balance using what works for you -- listen to your inner voice, center yourself in the present and open yourself to all the enriching, joyful experiences life has to offer.