We live in a fast-paced, stressful, and demanding world full of paradoxes, contradictions, and dilemmas. All these push and pull forces can keep us off balance making it hard to find inner peace. Yet when we meet someone balanced, we are naturally drawn to them. It is their confidence and contentment. They calmly glide through life regardless of what is being thrown at them with a sense of inner peace.
It doesn’t mean they live a problem-free existence without difficulties: we all have challenges and issues. We might face divorce or financial insecurity, miscarriages, or disease. Yet, when threatened, provoked or uncertain some can maintain composure and a positive outlook. They capability handle one crisis after another, always staying calm under pressure.
Furthermore, they can work harmoniously with everyone, even those they don’t prefer. Rather than second-guessing themselves they have fewer worries, fears, and anxieties. Things flow naturally for them, and they always seem to know the right time to act.
Benjamin Franklin, for instance, believed in taking small step-by-step movements and said that self-monitoring was the path to becoming noble. He advocated for thoughts and activities moving together in tandem- not using one without the other.
In Patanjali's Eight-Limbed Path of Yoga, it is one of the Niyamas called Svadhyaya, which is a Sanskrit term that means self-study, or the process of getting to know your inner self or soul.
There is a lesson here: small incremental movements with reflection and time for study, without wild extremes, keeps us balanced. (Think of the tightrope walker).
Some of the many benefits to balance are: increased energy, less drama, a better outlook, less concern about others’ opinions of you, more confidence in your decisions, more harmony in your life, less concern about material things and even a better sleep each night!
How to get there? It’s individual – what works for you may not work for others. It takes trial and error and it’s a process. But one thing I know for sure: inner peace starts with loving yourself.
When you love yourself, you practice self-care and that means looking after your physical, emotional, mental, and spiritual health. When you practice self-care, you feel good about yourself and you project this positive energy towards others. It improves your relationship with yourself as well as the people around you.
So, recharge during the day and systematically restore your physical, mental, emotional and spiritual energy to keep it balanced. Don’t lean too hard into anyone of these areas. There is no ‘either/or’ with inner peace. It comes from balancing your energy centers.
1. Physical Energy, you must give to get. Expend physical energy to get more back. We have to move our bodies. Some are energized by the efficiency of a gym, some the motivation of playing on a team, while others are stimulated by a sensuous sunset stroll or a centering Tai Chi class. As I said, it’s all individual. Some people think that if they don’t exercise for an hour, it’s not worth it but even 5 minutes of taking deep breaths while stretching can get you back in balance. There are documented physiological benefits to stretching the fascial lining of the body, moving our muscles, and increasing blood flow. Remember the value of small increments and give yourself grace in this process.
2. Mental Energy: visualize success and focus on positives. This doesn't mean always forcing yourself to be positive or happy even when you are not (let's face it that is just not realistic), but look for lessons in perceived failures and see the growth you’ve achieved from past mistakes rather than having regrets. Accept that mistakes are part of moving forward, and being human and accept that there will be more in the future. Let go of black-and-white thinking as it drains your energy. Instead of thinking “I am competent or incompetent, fair or unfair, good or bad”, it is much more helpful to expand your thinking by saying, “I can be wrong AND competent”. That’s the thoughts and activities moving together in tandem as described by Benjamin Franklin.
3. Emotional Energy: practice gratefulness and appreciation. Inner peace comes from loving what you have rather than complaining about what you believe is wrong or missing in your life. A grateful heart results in greater contentment. Happiness comes from looking for things to be happy about. I am a big believer in the value of humour to elevate my emotions. Remember we are all human and try to take yourself a bit less seriously. Laugh easily and laugh often. Also, look for the beauty in things. A gorgeous sunrise. The shape of the clouds or the smile on your dog's face. When you feel stress take hold of your body and your jaw clench or you hold your breath, take a moment to look for a beautiful object to admire and feel your body respond. Appreciate your friends and loved ones, and forgive their imperfections.
4. Spiritual Energy~ connect above yourself and beside yourself. To connect with something greater than myself I meditate. Because this is all very individual you might prefer yoga or listening to a guided meditation on an app or podcast. To connect with others, I practice thinking positive thoughts about those I work with, especially those who might be adversarial. Before speaking with someone about a problem I always silently bless them and that changes the energy between us. Spirituality at work is about being mindful of the highest good for all.
Restore your energy deliberately throughout the day (consider it like a vitamin pill). For example: Having lunch with a friend gives you emotional energy? Schedule it! For physical and emotional energy plan time in the park with the kids or dog after dinner. Read a book of poems or daily meditations before bed for spiritual energy. Practice affirmations or set an intention and repeat it.
Each of these activities not only keeps you balanced, it will create work/life balance as you get up from your computer to do things to systematically restore your energy centers. As you become balanced people will automatically be attracted to you, and you’ll confidently know the right thing to do in every situation. Inner peace will come and people will notice a shift in your energy.
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