Life can be chaotic at times. So many things coming at us all at once leave us feeling that life is living us rather than us living life.
Indeed, it can be a daily fight in the teeter-totter of busy demands and schedules to balance myself on the balance beam of life. Some days I find myself clinging to the beam with all my might, trying not to fall off. Other days, if I’m honest, I feel like I’ve been splattered on the ground and left to pick myself up and try again.
How do we find balance in an otherwise chaotic life? How do we create some kind of peace in the midst of the fray?
I have learned ten activities that can help you find balance and create the calm for which your soul longs.
Solitude allows us to close the door to the outside world and connect with God. It is here that I experience the fullness and power of simply being with God and enjoying His presence. Learning to breathe deeply, and quiet my heart and mind, brings both healing and rest to my soul. Solitude reminds me of my spiritual identity, my belovedness. Solitude grounds me and centers me for the tasks that lie ahead. Solitude reminds me that He is faithful, He is at work in my life, He is present with me in this very moment. He is enough.
Focusing on the present—without judging how we feel and what we think—can be both a liberating and healthy practice. How freeing it is to acknowledge our thoughts and feelings while allowing ourselves to be present in the moment, not holding on to anything that takes us away from this moment. Studies show that getting in-tune with ourselves through mindfulness may significantly reduce anxiety and depression, help us see ourselves more objectively, and even protect our minds from distraction. Mindfulness also deepens our overall sense of gratitude and wellbeing.
Prayer is powerful. Research suggests that prayer improves our level of self-control, and reduces our levels of anger and aggression. Not only this, prayer makes us more forgiving of others, can increase our levels of trust and intimacy, and helps offset the negative effects of stress. Prayer is the instrument that allows us to release the weight of the unknown, of stress, of helplessness and hopelessness, of brokenness and soul aches to the One who has the power to know, to heal, to restore, to forgive.
Many things can sabotage our sleep, whether it’s a late night at the office, problems in our relationships, or simply being stretched too thin. The problem is, not getting enough sleep can deplete our physical, mental, and emotional energy, making it harder to get through the day effectively, much less to successfully work through issues in our lives and relationships. Lack of sleep can negatively affect our physical health, making us prone to eating larger portions, and increasing our chances of developing physical problems like heart disease and diabetes. Prioritizing sleep is an investment in a lifestyle that will yield a healthier you and allow you to be more present and vitalized throughout your day.
Get out and walk.
Not only does it burn calories, walking is an effective self-nurture tool that can help reduce anxiety. Walking (without headphones) creates a quiet space to unpack the emotional baggage of the day so that we are not forced to carry todays stress into tomorrow. Exercise gets our bodies moving, releases endorphins, and is found to relieve some symptoms of depression. So the next time you need a mood lift, lace up your sneakers and get walking.
Do something kind for someone else. Whether it is watching a neighbor’s child, preparing a meal for someone in need, or dropping in to visit an elderly family member, helping others actually opens us to intentionally investing in other’s lives and struggles. It gives us opportunities to give back some of what we have been given. Our healing is never complete unless it is given to others. Serving others allows us to see a world outside of ourselves. Serving empowers us to be Christ to the world in need. Serving yields a more compassionate connection with humanity.
We’ve all heard the saying, laughter is the best medicine. It seems that chuckling and giggling benefit our mental and physical health as well, especially when combined with exercise. Laughter can improve our overall quality of life, it releases the weights of stress and uncertainty, and frees us from taking ourselves and the world around us too seriously.
Drawing healthy boundaries is more than just a popular cliche. Proper boundaries empower us to understand where we end and others begin in our relationships. Never learning how to draw healthy boundaries increases not only our stress levels, but also increases our feelings of helplessness, exhaustion, and depression. Recognizing healthy boundaries frees us to own responsibility for that which is ours to own, while freeing others to own responsibility for that which is theirs to own. It creates safety, mutuality, openness and respect between ourselves and those with whom we are in relationship.
These days, it feels like everyone is glued to a phone, laptop, or both at the same time. Deliberately taking a break from social media, e-mail, games, and texts can help us recharge and gives our brain some much-needed downtime. We need down time. Our souls need uncluttered space to exhale. Quiet time to simply be still. Know. Breathe.
Although it’s nice to count our blessings on Thanksgiving, being thankful throughout the year could improve our sense of clarity, wisdom, and wellbeing. In fact, gratitude may be one of the most overlooked tools that we all have access to every day. Cultivating gratitude doesn’t cost any money and it certainly doesn’t take much time, but the benefits are enormous. Gratitude plants us in fertile soil where resilience and abundance can flourish. Gratitude opens the door to deeper, more courageous relationships.
Gratitude opens the door to deeper, more courageous relationships.Click To Tweet
These are my daily go-to strategies that help me minimize the chaos and maintain my balance so that I get the most meaning and satisfaction out of life. That brings me peace!
What are your strategies for dealing with the chaos of life? What activities help you stay balanced in the teeter-totter of life? Which of these might be helpful activities you could try to incorporate into your daily routine? I’d love to hear!
I am a Licensed Marriage and Family Therapist, author, coffee lover, and wife. My hope is to provide a compassionate place in the midst of the stresses and struggles of life. At heart, I am just a Southern girl who loves beautiful things, whether it is the beauty of words found in a deeply moving story, the beauty of a meal cooked with love, the beauty of a cup of coffee with a friend, or the beauty seen in far away landscapes and cultures. I have fallen passionately in love with the journey and believe it is among the most beautiful gifts to embrace and celebrate. While I grew up in the Florida sunshine, I now live just outside Nashville in Franklin, TN with my husband and Shih-tzu, Sophie.
About Peace for a Lifetime
In my new book, Peace for a Lifetime, I share the keys to cultivating a life that’s deeply rooted, overflowing, and abundant, the fruit of which is peace. Through personal and professional experience as a Licensed Marriage and Family Therapist, I have discovered how to take the broken pieces of life and find indestructible peace with myself, God and with others. Through my story and other’s stories you’ll realize that you can experience the life for which you long. You can experience abundance beyond anything you can imagine. You can experience peace, not just for today, not just for tomorrow. You can experience peace —for a lifetime!
Peace for a Lifetime is available on Amazon.com.
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Book Trailer: https://vimeo.com/155392891
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