Clearly, the art of living in balance is not a simple thing, or else it wouldn’t take me two blog posts and 20 tips to share. It’s kind of like a buffet or store, where different tastes make for different choices—but the goal is to get what you want and need. So, here are 10 more tips to keep in your pocket.
1. Be nice. Niceness is not overrated. People who are not nice create lots of unnecessary misery for themselves and others. Niceness, on the other hand, creates tons of extra joy. In fact, right now, I am really looking forward to seeing the guys in my usual parking garage in NYC (haven’t seen them in a month). Because I’ve been nice to them, they are nice to me, and we start our days when we see each other with a jolt of joy.
2. Believe in karma. If someone is not nice to you or does something bad, let the universe dole out the punishment. It’s not your job, so don’t waste time on it. There is a peacefulness that comes from believing that the only actions you are responsible for are your own.
3. Be strong and courageous. Just because you are nice and believe in karma doesn’t mean you should let people push you around. Know what you want, believe in yourself, and have the courage to make it happen—or go get it. Don’t let fear stop you!
4. Reward yourself in good ways. My favorite ways to reward myself are a monthly massage (Yea! I made it through another month!), pretty jewelry that I can pass on to my daughters one day, and free time to do whatever I want…that’s my favorite of all, and also the hardest to come by.
5. Laugh a lot. This cannot be overdone. I can make almost anything seem funny if I think about it enough. I love to laugh, and I get even more joy from making others laugh…I think it comes from the fact that I used humor to diffuse tension in my childhood. But hey, it worked.
6. Stop reading or watching depressing or violent things. Really? Is that really necessary to your life happiness? I’m not talking about news. I’m talking about fiction. Entertainment. Find other ways to get a buzz, but stop getting it from other people’s pain and misery.
7. Examine yourself and your past deeply. If you are not happy, get therapy. If you are stumped about something, ask an expert. I just read two books by Alice Miller: The Drama of the Gifted Child and The Body Never Lies. Both books offer amazing insights into why things happen to us and how we should think about them.
8. Try new things. You actually get a hormonal boost whenever you try something new. So take a trip somewhere you’ve never been—even if it’s down a new street. Try a new activity, or take a class in something you’ve always thought about. Read a book or watch a show that teaches you something new. Try a new food. You may not like it, but you will like the new knowledge it has provided for you.
9. Allow yourself to feel desire. I have to admit, when I read stories about women who don’t feel desire, I think…is there something wrong with me? I think sexual desire is the creative life force that is the fuel for almost anything great. And yes, it is all in your head, so think about it. A lot. It’s free, it’s awesome and it’s good for you. Revel in it. If you need a jump-start, read a romance novel. Any religion or person who tries to deny or suppress desire almost invariably ends up in tragedy (I won’t list them all here). I believe that the God who created this universe created sexual desire as a very special gift. Use it appropriately.
10. Be grateful. Every night when I go to bed I thank the universe for all my blessings. I ask for guidance, too. But mostly I just feel thankful for my husband, my children, my family, and my home. After all, everything else has just a fraction of importance compared to those things. And maybe that’s what people are talking about when they wonder how I do it “all.” (I put that in quotes because I certainly have a GIANT list of things I haven’t done yet that I want to do). I know what’s truly important and what isn’t. And for that, too, I am grateful.
That’s what the art of living in balance is all about.
My thoughts exactly!!!!
I go to what I call “My Happy Place” when I feel down or depress. It is a happy thought or a happy memory that changes my mood to a lighter and of course a happy one. If someone is talking to me and is feeling a little down or stressed I just say “Go to your Happy place!” It has caught on. And it works!
I use the same parking garage in NYC, and I love those guys. When my arthritic knee is inflamed, they always give me a helpful hand, literally, so I can emerge from my low-slung car. There is real affection among us, and I love that!
My happy place: a pure, clean bright turquoise beach on Anguilla — and I’m on a boat or in a bed in the shade. Sigh.
Love, love, love the way your thoughts flow! I think the only thing I would add is finding a way to let your core people know you love and appreciate them every day. Even if it’s just with a cheesy one line email. I love hearing it from my husband and daughter, and I think it’s a mutual thing 🙂
When i feel down (especially from someone trying to control me i get away as quick as i can ).
Watching the birds a walk in the park somewhere new as Maria recomends .
Maria, Thank you for listing those. All of it is so true and makes sense but… the hardest part is to apply it in your life. Of course we want to be nice but strong, contamplative but courageous, assertive but understanding. I think it’s the application of it that has us stomped. I would love to hear stories how you actually handle the tough situations and choices. I often find that in the anectodes lies the wisdom. The nice part – you would have the topics for 10 more blogs!
You know what makes me unhappy? Having my dinner interrupted by an annoying unidentified noise pollution phone call during dinner from 610 967-7990. That’s YOUR number, Rodale Press.
Ugh! I hate when that happens 😉
put your name on the Direct Marketing Association Do Not Call list and it won’t happen again. (Although it takes a month or two to go into effect).
Maria, you are very gracious! Nicely done. : )
Everytime I start feeling like complaining and become a bit depressed, which doesn’t happen often, I just say “Donna, count your blessings. You have people in your life and things that others just dream about. I then remember all of the countries that I visited in the past, that were poor, and unbelievably destitute and I shut my mouth and turn my thoughts to happy things”. Then I try never to forget those images.