Rushing from one activity to the next, ten more to do’s on the list than you can get to today, needing to be in two places at once - where’s the time for you? Does this reflect your life at all? Over busy, overwhelmed and way over stressed have become the norm these days. What kind of ripple effect does this chaos have on our health, work, family and community?

Deep breathing exercises, yoga, meditation and all the other wonderful ways to relax and rejuvenate are barely making a dent in the effects of stress. We need all of these tools just to keep afloat. But what about those of us who want to swim gracefully through life feeling calm and energized every day? It’s time for real change. In order to transform our outer environment, we have to first shift our internal one; the place where we carry our needs, values, thoughts, beliefs and feelings. Here are four steps to creating long lasting change.

1. Determine what your ideal state of balance would be for you. Envision how your day would unfold, the activities you would be involved in, how your relationships would flow. See the outcome of this over several weeks, then several months. Notice the benefits you would experience in all areas of your life. Ask yourself, what boundaries would need to be set in order to achieve this? Before you say yes to anything, notice if it means saying no to something else that is more important.

2. Identify what your typical stress style is. The more awareness you have, the easier it is to change unhealthy patterns. Are you the type that overreacts, worries and makes situations worse than they actually are? Or are you someone who gets caught in the victim role and blames others for problems in your life? Do you take on more than your fair share of responsibility? Perhaps you avoid it all by being an ostrich. No matter what your style is, it’s not really who you are, just how you’ve learned to cope over the years. Only now, these behaviours are having a boomerang effect. Whenever you catch yourself in your typical reaction style, consciously choose another one; a healthier, calmer way to respond.

3. Uncover the motives and payoffs for your stress reaction style. Underneath every coping mechanism is a need we’re trying to meet. By being over responsible are you trying to get approval? Are you avoiding conflict by not setting a boundary? Does being the center of a drama give you the attention you crave? Once you know your underlying needs, brainstorm how you can meet these in healthier ways. Then take a deeper look and see if you have any core beliefs about worthiness or deservedness that may be limiting you. You have the power to change your beliefs into ones that will support you in creating balance.

4. Finally, discover your current core values; the ways you like to live and express yourself. Does being creative jazz you up? Do you need adventure in your life to feel alive? Being of service, learning, spirituality, and connection are just a sampling of the many values people resonate with. What are your top five values? Are you currently honouring them? If not, find ways to do that now and you will instantly feel more fulfilled.

By getting to know who we really are and what we really want, we can shift one pattern at a time until we’ve created our ideal balanced lifestyle. Imagine the ripple effect this will have on your health, work, family and community.

Author's Bio: 

Gini Grey is a Transformational Coach and Author of the book “From Chaos to Calm: How to Shift Unhealthy Stress Patterns and Create Your Ideal Balance in Life”and the CD "Create What You Want In Your Life. For more information or articles, visit