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Balanced Living: How to Stay on Track

“Continuous effort—not strength or intelligence—is the key to unlocking our potential.” ~Winston Churchill

I declared myself a mess a long time ago. I lived in a constant, dull state of fear and anxiety. My emotions were more volatile than hurricane season, and not even I could predict how any given situation would affect me.

I may not have known it at the time, but I was miserable. I was trying to be someone I wasn’t and fit into a fast-paced life that I just wasn’t made for.

I was constantly overwhelmed by just about everything—being stuck in traffic, waiting in lines, driving long distances, folding the laundry, working a full day, even doing my hair.

It seemed like life was a struggle and a whole lot of effort that didn’t really get me anywhere.

Apparently over time, I had conditioned myself to react to the activity and obligations of my life with worry, anxiety, and exponential stress.

I didn’t crave the life I was living. I craved balance. And I lacked passion. Something had to give.

It did, almost by mistake. I found myself poking around Tiny Buddha about a year ago, and the rest was history. Over time I discovered newfound energy by changing my internal perspective on daily living.

I challenged my toxic thoughts and actions and found peace in the present moment.  I uncovered new ways to look at emotions, relationships, and situations in my life.

Instead of continuing to fight it, I made a decision to accept and flow with the monotony, bustle, and pressure of life. I made a list of what was truly important to me instead of living by someone else’s rules. Also, I stopped sabotaging my body with distorted eating habits.

I realized that I was okay, that I was enough, and it was actually pretty cool to be me.

As a result, I feel more settled. I also feel more direction and balance than ever before in my life. I still get wound up, but my lows are nowhere near as low as before.

Clearly my drive to find balance came directly from an overwhelming and painful mental imbalance.

Does this sound familiar? Have you also started to find more balance in your life?

Maybe you had destructive ways of dealing with stress, but you’ve learned new ways to release it. Maybe you were drowning in a pool of debt, but you’ve started getting a hold of that. Or perhaps you finally made a big change in your life that you’ve been meaning to for years.

If you have made major improvements for your well-being, congratulations! Finding balance amid all the pressures in life and making a dedicated attempt to change can be a struggle, and more work that many of us are willing to bear.

It must feel incredible and empowering to regain your life and focus some time on you.

The question is: what now? How can we continue this positive momentum now that we’ve found it?

Fortunately, there are a number of ways to find a deeper sense of balance, promote well-being, and keep re-gaining your life.

1. Get better.

There are always new and different ways we can improve our way of living. Life is just one long progression, right? The key is to keep progressing positively.

Do some digging and research fresh ways to enhance your life. Bookmark or RSS all of your favorite sites, and make time each week to read the latest on living well.

A quick and easy change you can make right now is to focus on living moderately. Practice planning ahead in all areas of your day-to-day life. Pack a full water bottle before going out for three hours. Get better at pre-planning for future expenses.

When we avoid unnecessary extremes and learn to anticipate what the situation or our bodies will call for, that’s a huge part of balanced living.

2. Explore what makes you passionate.

If you’re reading this, chances are you have a passion, maybe many.

It’s easy to forget that lots and lots of people walk around without any sense of purpose or direction in their lives. And they probably believe that they just weren’t meant to find one.

The reality is that anything can be a passion. Pets. Gardening. Watching planes come in at the airport. Finding something that you love that feeds your true self can be incredibly freeing and refreshing.

If you’re just starting out, brainstorm. List everything and anything that interests you and then think about how you can develop one into a hobby. Even if it never turns into anything more than that, at least you have a new outlet to help you find balance when you’re off work.

3. Spread the word.

When you find ways to enrich or change your life, a natural extension of that is to share with others.

This was exactly my intention when starting my blog. I have yet to find anything more rewarding and motivating than knowing what I have to offer has helped someone. When you feel good about what you do, balance and fulfillment come so much more easily.

4. Go au-natural.

How can we feel balanced if we feel like crap?

Start to be mindful of the products you are putting in and on your body. You will be surprised how tolerant we become to harmful chemicals and ingredients, and even more surprised how much of an impact the constant accumulation of icky substances has on our well-being.

Start small, like avoiding foods with artificial sweeteners or replacing your face wash and body lotion with all-natural alternatives.

5. Find the balance that’s right for you.

Don’t try to be anyone else. Make a conscious decision each day to just be you, and to make no apologies for that.

Find comfort in the fact that it’s okay and even ideal to not fit into someone else’s idea of what’s right: the right work, the right work/life balance, the right feelings, the right way to live.

Focus your energy on determining what’s right for you. It can feel easy to simply go with the flow. But when you discover ways to live your life that fully align with what is in your heart, the reward of balance is unparalleled.

6. Create balance in your interactions with other people.

Do your part to maintain stable, positive relationships, instead of sweating the small stuff and creating drama.

Who wants to waste a day being irritated with something or someone? When you cast negativity onto the world, you will always feel bad inside.

If you aim to maintain balance around you, it will help you maintain balance within.

What helps you maintain a balanced life?

Photo by aeu04117

Avatar of Amanda Snow

About Amanda Snow

Amanda Snow is a marketing professional who has decided find more purpose and balance in life. She has recently started making her own all-natural protein bars, with only 9 ingredients or less! She resides just outside of Boston with her boyfriend and dog Lucy. Follow her on her journey at 36broadway.

Announcement: Wish you could change your past? Learn to let go and create a life you love with the Tiny Buddha course!
  • http://big-zen.blogspot.com/ Big Zen

    “When you cast negativity onto the world, you will always feel bad inside.” that’s a very powerful realisation. As Mother Teresa said, ‘never let anyone come to you without them leaving happier’. Thanks for sharing.

  • LRJR

    Nice piece. Thank you.

  • Guest

    This is my favorite post on here so far… it was like my brain secretly wrote a blog without me knowing about it – I feel the exact same way. I’m was recently in the same situation with an unbalanced life and decided to do something about it. Thank you so much for this.

  • Modernpixie

    Aw! I loved this post! Congratulations, Amanda, on finding a truer path for yourself. Our stories are very different but your post inspired me to stop being afraid to start my blog. It’s been waiting to go ‘live’ for months (but really, in my brain…for years!) Thank you :) 

  • http://www.facebook.com/people/Juliette-Mutzke-Felippelli/100001770388485 Juliette Mutzke-Felippelli

    Wonderful post, thank you :)

  • Cheryl Keit Ang

    This is incredible – this is by far my favourite post that I’ve read on here. It feels like reading all about myself, going through self-destruction, then suddenly coming across Tiny Buddha and doing a full 180 on how we perceive life. I’d like to share a quote from Elizabeth Gilbert’s Eat Pray Love that I read a while ago and has stuck with me ever since:

    “Happiness is the consequence of personal effort. You fight for it, strive for it, insist upon it, and sometimes even travel around the world looking for it. You have to participate relentlessly in the manifestations of your own blessings. And once you have achieved a state of happiness, you must never become lax about maintaining it. You must make a mighty effort to keep swimming upward into that happiness forever, to stay afloat on top of it.”

    Thank you so much for this post, it is beautiful. Love and light to everybody, and may everyone find the balance that they need!

  • Guest

    Thank you. This is one of those posts that really hit home for me on many levels today, but the line I’m going to copy to a sticky note and post where I’ll see it frequently is, “Make a conscious decision each day to just be you, and to make no apologies for that.”

  • M3djones

    It’s like I’m living your old life lol I can’t seem to even get my home organized! My lack of motivation is scary & sad. I know I have to change things, it’s one step at a time.

  • http://www.36broadway.com Amanda @ 36broadway

    I am so incredibly touched to hear that, thank you so much for the kind words and encouragement! Congrats on re-gaining balance in your life and I hope you find these tips helpful to keep going.

  • http://www.36broadway.com Amanda @ 36broadway

    You are welcome! It’s so important to celebrate all of the things that make each one of us unique instead of beating ourselves up over what’s not quite right. Acceptance is a huge component of balance!

  • http://www.36broadway.com Amanda @ 36broadway

     The advice I can give that has worked for me is first determine what you value in life (Friends and family? Work? Health? Simplified home?) and take teeny tiny baby steps until you align your life and home with what’s most important to you. Good luck and thank you for your thoughts.

  • http://www.36broadway.com Amanda @ 36broadway

    Thank you for pointing out Big Zen! I never used to be a believer in the idea of ‘what goes around, comes around’ until I actually gave it a shot. It is actually very satisfying to be kind and mindful instead of bitter and frantic!

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  • http://manifestconnection.blogspot.com/ Kari

    Great post. I like how you  mentioned Tiny Buddha in it. I wonder how many people have been uplifted by Tinny Buddha. I imagine lots.

    I think they are all great points, but I think that #5 ‘Find the balance that’s right for you.’ is especially important. It’s so easy to get caught in the trap of I’m not doing enough of this or that in my life, and when we start trying to conform to what other people think is right then we lose our own sense of balance.

  • http://ahimsamama.com Kelly Coyle DiNorcia

    This post really speaks to me.  I am struggling mightily from a severe case of imbalance, physically, emotionally, and spiritually, and you give some great advice here!

  • Tori

    I was just wondering how you went about starting to find balance in your life. I cannot seem to find the means to begin and need a push in the right direction. Many thanks and much appreciated.

    - Tori

  • Tori

    P.S. Thank you for the insightful blog, Amanda. You are helping many people who need it most and making an immense difference in this world. :)

  • Susie / Wise At Work

    Amanda, I really enjoyed this post and hearing your study as you’ve gained more purpose and balance in life. I love your statement of “make a conscious decision each day to just be you.”  

    It takes courage to listen to that tiny voice within us, the one that knows us well and will not forsake us. Thanks so much.

  • Sueslack Ss

    Great article, I am fighting my emotions at this very moment and need to focus on me. Or I will never be truly happy and life is too short.
    I am new to the site and hoping your articles will help me focus on the positives. I must stop thinking if only.

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  • http://www.36broadway.com Amanda @ 36broadway

    Hi Tori! I began my journey because I basically had no other option. I felt like I was so far down a path of toxic thinking, skewed priorities, drained energy and a negative self image that the only thing for me to do was get back to square one. Start over.

    I went to 1 session of therapy and decided it wasn’t for me, and turned to the web for help. My very first teeny baby step was when I printed out an article Lori wrote for Zen Habits and kept it by my bed, it’s actually still there. It spoke to me in so many ways and I felt a sense of calm every time I read it. I finally felt like I was getting to the root of my issues and starting to addressing them.

    Here’s the post: http://zenhabits.net/zen-attachment/

    After realizing I wasn’t alone, and found more inspiring messages and stories online and felt a lot better about myself and my life. I’m not where near perfect today, and my life looks a lot like it used to but it feels a whole lot different.

    I’d suggest doing the same to start the momentum – find articles on websites you can really relate to and save them or print them out. Begin a ‘balance archive’ and refer to them anytime you need some confidence.

    I still have this quote on the top of my calendar in Outlook every day from that first article that changed everything for me…
    ‘You have the power to choose from moment to moment how you experience things you enjoy: with a sense of ownership, anxiety, and fear, or with a sense of freedom, peace and love.’

    Good luck in your journey! I’d love if you stayed in touch on 36broadway.
    (And a big big hug and thanks to Lori!)

  • M White

    You are absolutely amazing Amanda, thank you for being you and sharing your inspirational story.  This post is truely inspiring, and all of your posts on 36broadway keep me motivated and wanting more from life.  Keep doing what you do best. 

  • http://www.36broadway.com Amanda @ 36broadway

    Thanks for the kind reply! Good luck with your site, it took me a while and a very big brain child to start mine too.

  • http://pulse.yahoo.com/_NHTXIIPR7NF5DT6NJGBY3JN4GA AllisonRenee

    “Sound familiar”? YES… distorted eating habits and all.
    Ever since I had signed up for Tiny Buddha, it is as if each email has been specifically tailored to me.

    Thank you :}

  • MELANIE RENO

    I really enjoy this! Great insight. I need to keep learning, so thank you! As a recovering people pleaser, one of the most powerful things I’ve heard was, “Try to disappoint someone today!” ;) 

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  • Guest

    Thank you for this article.   But it really makes me question why our culture has allowed to become so toxic.  I have no doubt that fixing this is a key to our survival.  Humans are social beings – we cannot survive alone.  I totally agree that the place to start is inside each of us personally.  But it cannot stop there. 

  • http://www.thenakeddish.com/blog Sirena Bernal

    Hi Amanda,

    Great post, and thank you for sharing your insights. You mention in one of your comments below that you tried therapy for one session and realized it wasn’t for you. And I have to say that I was comforted in knowing that you felt this way, because I experienced something quite similar.

    When I was going through a very arduous period in my life a couple of years ago, and what seemed like hell at the time, one of my closest friends recommended therapy. I heard what she was saying, but just knew in my heart, deep in my being, that it just wasn’t for me.

    She was so adamant that I go, that when I decided to let the wave pass and work on healing myself through my own hodgepodge of spiritual practices, she threatened to end our friendship….which in the end, is precisely what happened.

    I’m not saying that therapy does not work, as I’ve seen its benefits with several of my friends, I’m saying it just wasn’t for ME. 

    And I’m glad I decided that because I know have a greater understanding of who I am, and feel a sense of pride knowing that I did all the digging myself.

    One of the things in my life that helps me maintain balance, is practicing intermittent bouts of solitude. To me, this means temporarily detaching myself from social settings in order to better hear myself. I’ll shut my phone and computer off for the day, and enjoy silence to myself. Whether that’s spending time in a park reading, or just cooking alone in my house. I find that this reprieve in aloneness is just thing to re-charge my body, mind and soul, thus meaning more balance in my typical day to day life.

    Looking forward to connecting more!

    Best,

    Sirena

  • http://the100percentyou.com/ John Sherry

    How very true, Amanda, that balance is what we need yet it’s something very few ever give any consideration. From a balanced diet to a balanced outlook on life, if we want to avoid the highs and lows of life to ensure it’s more even and calm, we need to keep ourselves balanced from mind to body to feelings and actions. But most are living super paced, their whole system caught up in a frenzy of  activity and mental marathon running – we truly are the human race, rushing here and there. If we wish life to be more calm it starts with us to be that source. Time we should be checking out chilling out!

  • http://www.36broadway.com Amanda @ 36broadway

    Thank you for the powerful quote Cheryl!

  • http://www.36broadway.com Amanda @ 36broadway

    John – thank you for sharing your thoughts!

    ‘…if we want to avoid the highs and lows of life to ensure it’s more even
    and calm, we need to keep ourselves balanced from mind to body to
    feelings and actions.’

    It’s much easier in our hectic lifestyles to get caught up in the race to get more done, at the expense of our balance and well-being. Avoiding extremes is something that’s very important to me at this point in my life, although I don’t always succeed, it’s always on my mind.

  • http://www.36broadway.com Amanda @ 36broadway

    Thank you for your thoughts! I agree, we are also a control-driven society when in reality the only thoughts and actions we can control are our own. Balance and peace starts from within!

  • http://www.36broadway.com Amanda @ 36broadway

    You’re very welcome Allison! All of the Tiny Buddha articles speak to me as well.

  • http://twitter.com/AlannahRose Alannah Rose

    Wow, Sirena, that’s awful that you lost a friendship just because you didn’t give in when she tried to force you to try therapy!  It’s definitely not for everyone.  Good for you for staying true to yourself… it’s too bad your friend wasn’t more understanding about that.

  • http://www.36broadway.com Amanda @ 36broadway

    Thanks, Sirena. Just as important as figuring out what works for us as individuals is clearing our life of toxic people, situations, etc. I’m sure that was hard for you to lose a friend and hurtful to be so judged but I know that opened up your life to more people who are accepting, supportive, and loving.

    Looking forward to connecting too! I just read about your whiteboard approach and I can’t wait to learn more about it. I’m thinking of where I can hang one in my apartment!

  • http://www.36broadway.com Amanda @ 36broadway

    You’re very welcome, Melanie. Thank you for the kind words!

  • http://www.36broadway.com Amanda @ 36broadway

    Thank you! I’m not sure if there is anything else in this world that would give me as much inspiration and confidence to follow my dreams than these kind words :)

  • http://www.36broadway.com Amanda @ 36broadway

    I go through similar emotions, too. Especially around the time of a big life change. Thank you for sharing, you are certainly on the right site to find strength to move forward, gain focus, and identify the space and time for yourself that it sounds like you’re missing. Remember to be true to yourself always! You cannot go wrong or find happiness without that.

  • http://www.36broadway.com Amanda @ 36broadway

    Susie – thank you for reading and sharing your thoughts! Finding the courage to listen to our true selves is difficult, and to me a bit scary, especially when how I feel differs from those around me. Best wishes to you!

  • http://www.36broadway.com Amanda @ 36broadway

    You’re welcome! Thank you for visiting!

  • http://www.36broadway.com Amanda @ 36broadway

    Hi Kari – I imagine lots of people have made positive changes in their life based on Tiny Buddha as well!
    And #5 is one of my favorites, too. It takes a lot of strength and determination to focus on what our hearts and true selves are asking for, and push aside what others think. It’s certainly a journey and staying motivated is half of the battle. Thank you for pointing that out!

  • Michael

    This really helped me and makes a lot of sense. I have been struggling lately when nothing is even wrong. It’s nice to know that I TRULY don’t need to beat myself up on a daily basis. Thanks for the wonderful insight! 

  • Tara

    I read this post and it echoed in my heart.  I was in the same place, feeling the same emotions.  I realized my passion was being with my kids and writing.  In an uncharacteristic move for me, I quit my job to stay home with the kids and start writing.  I have never been happier in my life!  I also blog with my best friend!

  • Pat H

    I could happily wander around this wonderful website for days and days and days…maybe forever… Such amazing insight. I feel so good knowing that in spite of all the pain and suffering in the world, there is a vibrant, diverse community of like-minded, gentle spirits on this journey as well. Let’s keep putting the love out there. Love to you all. PatH

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  • Karma

    Wow…truly inspiring and very beneficial tips. Its really very silly how we often get caught up in the cirlces of our lives. Not knowing what else to do and so days become frusturating and simply our lifes become miserable. But hey Amanda, thanks for really sharing your insightful and meaningful life tips. Its simply helpful and I know it would benefit many people like me. Keep up your good deeds….once again thanks…:))

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  • LadyTamborine

    Amanda,

    CRUCIAL post!  Without balance life is a hot mess.

    I know sooo many people who don’t get this.  They wonder why their life is chaotic.  They are always putting out fires.  Unbelievable.
    Slow down people.. look at what you have on your plate and prioritize.
    Imagine a teeter totter.  By not applying the rules of balance…one is bound to get hurt.

  • Ren Waters

    I needed this.