21 Ways to Find Balance in Stressful Times

By Jane Barthelemy. 
Can you train your mind to relax and let go of thoughts that block your happiness? Yes you can. No matter what your background or persuasion, most of us might agree these are turbulent times, and we’re moving in an unknown direction. How does that make you feel? Well, here are a few tips and tricks to help you balance your strength and harmony, which helps everyone around you. This won’t be my most popular post – some of these methods are non-traditional. Ha ha! Here goes:Don’t try all these tips – you’ll be stark raving mad. Choose just three and do them every day for 3 weeks. 

  1. Enjoy THESE Foods that Balance and Nourish the Nervous System:
    Enjoy coconut oil, Wild fish, green veggies, avocados, bone broth, broccoli, beets, celery, fermented foods, nuts, and plenty of berries.
  2. Avoid Foods that De-stabilize the Nervous System:
    Foods that are uppers, downers, addictive, or toxic are difficult for the nervous system, because there’s always a come-uppance at the end of the cycle. Avoid all sugars, coffee, caffeinated beverages, sodas, processed foods, alcohol, refined flours, GMO foods, pesticides, and herbicides. Question dairy.
  3. Eat some 100% chocolate. Ha Ha!
    Pure chocolate uplifts and calms the nervous system. It reduces blood pressure and elevates your mood. Chocolate helps alleviate depression and reduces inflammation, meaning it is good for brain function. Forget dark chocolate, and go for the 100%. If chocolate contains sugar, its healthy qualities are offset in your body by the toxic effects of sugar. So ditch the dark chocolate and go for the pure 100%. Here’s an amazingly easy sugar-free recipe: Paleo Dark Chocolate Truffles.
  4. Go out for a walk in nature.
    Studies show that going for a walk in nature re-sets the nervous system, activating calming, pleasant feelings. But a walk in the city does not. Why is that? How far would you have to go to walk in Nature for 30 minutes? Is there a park, a farm, a forest, a riverbed, or a quiet spot that invites you? Try it, and notice the difference.
  5. Sign up for a yoga class.
    Making a commitment to improve your life has a big effect on your whole outlook. Then carrying it out faithfully also lifts your inner self-love and respect.
  6. Do Qigong Shakingqigong-shaking
    Qigong works strongly on all body fluids: the blood, lymph, synovial and cerebrospinal fluids. Unlike aerobics, Qigong does not dramatically increase the heart rate during exercise. The object of Qigong is not to make the heart pump more strongly, but to increase the communication between the various body systems and increase the vascular elasticity and meridian flow. Qigong Shaking is one of the most basic movements in most Qigong lineages. Shaking releases tension by relaxing the muscles, organs, bones, and joints. It opens the joints, gently bounces the organs, and detoxifies every cell.
    Here’s How to Shake:
    Stand up straight with your feet shoulder-width apart. Begin shaking with a gentle up-and down-motion as you breathe freely and fully. The arms can be either hung loose or actively shake them too. Every minute you shake loosens and frees congestion, aids the synovial fluid, and helps the lymph do its job of carrying away toxins in your body. Optimum time to shake is 20 minutes. More than 35 minutes brings you little benefit. But even a little shaking brings great benefit. While you shake, visualize the organs cleaning, the bones and joints freeing, and your body filling with light.
  7. Notice what triggers you. Practice compassionate forgiveness.
    This is a tough exercise, however it’s worth the effort. The harder it is for you, the more benefit you receive. Example, if your partner or the current leader in power bugs you, make it your internal practice to bless, permit, and feel compassion and forgiveness for that person. Say inside to yourself:“Whoops! Sorry, I’m now giving this person the benefit of the doubt – filling my heart and body with love, compassion and respect for that person.”
  8. Mindful Meditation on a Lotus
    An ancient Tibetan “Bon” Meditation uses the breath, while visualizing a lotus in each energy gate. Draw the Qi or Prana up your back from your perineum to the top of your head, over and down the front through the third eye, throat, heart, and lower dantien. In each gate or chakra, visualize a beautiful lotus that has its center deeply rooting into the stamen, the base of the flower, and down to the stalk and into the roots. A flower is pure infinite love inside. Feel the deep beauty of the lotus in each center. This meditation fills your body with joy and harmony.
  9. Do Nothing
    It turns out this is harder than I thought. I sat on the couch and did nothing. No thinking. No ideas. Relax the mind. Relax the body. Your to-do list vanishes. Nothing. 20 minutes was my limit, but I finished much happier. Try it! How long can you do it?
  10. Take a bathroom break.
    This is an easy one. Go into the bathroom, close the door and pee. Practice your most important personal balancing exercise. Or just take 3 deep breaths. No one will begrudge you 5 minutes in the bathroom every so often. This is my secret to sanity in public places.
  11. Meditation, it’s not what you think
    Practice meditation twice a day. Focus on your breathing and relaxing your body. Some meditations are Mindfulness Meditations i.e. thinking pure and pleasant thoughts, observing your breath, focusing on positive concepts and harmonious ways of being. This is good. Or you can also practice Mindlessness Meditations. These are more silent, just listening without doing. Relax the body and breath, release all thoughts and become completely still. In this stillness something utterly indescribable happens, which over time will leave you a changed and better person.
  12. Alternative Reading before Bed.
    A radical approach to world peace could mean we study sacred texts of a religion other than our own. If you’re a Muslim, read the Tao Te Ching. If you’re a Christian, read the Quran or the Rigveda texts. If you’re Chinese, read the Tibetan Book of the Dead. If you have no religion, read the Mystical Poetry of Jelaluddin Rumi. If you’re Egyptian, read the Septuagint Bible, the earliest version written centuries before Roman and King James’ translations. If you’re Roman Catholic, read the Emerald Tablets by Hermes. If you’re a Native American woman, read the sacred poetry of Hildegard of Bingen. If you’re a celibate monk check out the Kama Sutra on sacred sex. If you’re black, read the Egyptian Book of Enoch. If you believe humanity is in a downward cycle, read The Spiritual Science by Sri Yukteswar, Yogananda’s guru, which explains the Vedic astrological cycles of civilization. If you feel downtrodden, alone, and unappreciated, read Where the Wild Things Are by Maurice Sendak. 
  13. Observe others outside your normal circles. 
    Go outside your normal circle to observe humans. Children and young people are wonderful to watch. Go observe a kindergarten class, elementary school, or a high school class. Attend a city council meeting. Go to a service in another religion. Take a jaunt through a shopping center you’ve never stepped into. Observe the energy you feel, how people exchange with each other. Do they speak to each other with respect? What motivates them? Are they rigidly holding to their opinions? If you’re a teacher, trade classes with another teacher – if that’s allowed.
  14. Become a Laughing Buddha!
    Make it your priority to laugh a REAL belly laugh three times today. It doesn’t work if you force it. It’s gotta be real.

    Pu-Tai, the Laughing Buddha is based on an eccentric Chinese monk who lived over a thousand years ago. Pu-Tai is a “Cloth Sack” he carried everywhere with him. Pu-Tai was a very kind, and generous Buddhist master, whose full, gregarious smile earned him the nickname “Laughing Buddha.”
  15. Love the Infinite Oneness. Release all thoughts, concepts, forms, and mental activity.
    Think of all the things you know to be true, and release them into the oneness. Then think of all the things you don’t know, and be filled with wonder and humility. This is harder than you might think, as it means letting go of all your emotions, thoughts and concepts. This empties you and leaves you free, rested, rejuvenated, inspired to live simply.
  16. Accept the Moment as Perfect
    Make it your mantra to say: “I love what is real in this and every moment, especially if it is an unexpected surprise.” Your joy may be somewhat forced at first. OK, you may need practice. This practice helps you observe your own reactions, and take responsibility for what’s coming into your life. After a few days, it becomes a fun and deeply rewarding inner game.
  17. Take a bath before bed.
    A warm bath before bed calms the nervous system. There’s nothing like a warm relaxing, refreshing bath for peaceful sleep. Add your favorite music and non-toxic candles. Try my Sweet Rose Hibiscus Honey Bath.
  18. Release an opinion by opposing it.
    If you feel an opinion, release it immediately by negating it. This is a subtle internal exercise. Let’s say you have an opinion that your neighbor is a jerk. It doesn’t matter if your opinion is true or not. When that thought arises in your mind, say out loud if possible, “Whoops, my neighbor is a perfect human being, deserving of my love and respect.” I’m not saying you were wrong in your opinion. I’m just suggesting that if you’re attached to that opinion, then it becomes a rigid brick in your wall of self-defense. Every time you feel an opinion trigger you in any way, take it down immediately with the opposite statement, and mean every word you say. When you take the wall down brick by brick, then you’re free.
  19. Flood Your Body with Joy
    Do something that floods your whole body with joy. Hmmmm…. what could that be? Maybe it’s listening to music. OK turn it up REAL LOUD. Maybe it’s eating your favorite ice cream. Maybe it’s petting the cat. Or dancing. Maybe it’s having an orgasm. Book a therapeutic massage. Go for a soak at a spa, or better yet at the beach. Are you feeling joy or fear? These two things can’t occupy the same space. Relax and feel that joy surging through your body, while it washes away negative feelings.
  20. Your Personal Mantra? Is it Love or Fear?
    We all carry deep hidden beliefs, which are like our secret mantra. These subconscious beliefs are tendencies that magnetize certain kinds of experiences and emotions into our lives. What’s your mantra? What if you could change that today? Here are two of the most common negative mantras, and the phrases to change them:
    a) “I’m not lovable.”
    To change, say: “I love myself deeply exactly as I am. I am lovable just as I am. I am deeply deserving and worthy of love right now exactly as I am.”

    b) “I’m not safe.”
    To change, say: “Trust that, when you are not holding yourself together so tightly, you will not fall apart. Trust that it is more important to fulfill your authentic desires than listen to your fears. Trust that your intuition is leading you somewhere. Trust that the flow of life contains you, is bigger than you, and will take care of you—if you let it.” ~by Vironika Tugaleva

    Another effective antidote to fear is to say the 23rd Psalm. I am not a practicing Christian, yet I have found this prayer to be extremely powerful for people of all religions to feel safe and to dispel fear.

21. Wild Card
This is something for YOU to choose. What have you been procrastinating? Something you know beyond a doubt will benefit you enormously. Aha! Maybe you have a deep desire to study string theory, or ballroom dancing. How about pottery, leave your job, or call a friend you haven’t seen for years. Maybe you wish for a new kitty from a shelter. If that’s your top choice, do it now!

If this is YOUR wild card, do it today!

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