You can listen to our Find Your Balance podcast here or read the transcript below — but just to warn you, Jo frequently does impressions which you will be missing out on if you only read it!
Liz: Hello and welcome to the EqUa Approach Find Your Balance podcast. This is podcast one and I am Liz.
Jo: And I’m Jo.
Liz: We’re both from EqUa Coaching. We have taken all of our techniques and all the things we’ve learned over the years, be it hypnotherapy, NLP, timeline therapy, mindfulness, we’ve taken them all together and created our own approach, which we would like to explain now. The first podcast is going to be just about us explaining our approach and then as the podcast moves forward, we’ll actually be giving you different techniques, different ideas, different scenarios to deal with to find balance in your life.
Jo: The keyword really here is balance and the EqUa Approach, the EqUa stands for equanimity, and the definition of equanimity is a steadiness of mind under stress. The Dalai Lama has a quote…
Liz: Sorry, our good friend the Dalai Lama!
Jo: Okay, yes, this is high interaction with the Dalai Lama. With equanimity, you can deal with situations with calm and reason while keeping your inner happiness, and I think that’s something we all like to strive for. Certainly, when we’re working with clients, whether it’s one to ones or workshops, that’s something that we try to install and use as part of our approach. So, the EqUa approach is a way to help you get yourself into balance – balance of mind, balance of body, balance of life.
Liz: Absolutely, and these are the things that we will hopefully be teaching you over the next few months as we move forward.
Jo: Yeah, because many of us live our lives in what I like to call — a bit tilted. Sometimes you might look and when you become aware of how you’re living your life at any point in time and say well I’m working too much or I’m partying too much or I’m not spending enough time with family, or I’m not looking after myself well enough. So, we’re unbalanced, we’re tilted in one area of our lives, maybe too much or too little and that then affects everything else within our lives. So, it’s about being centred, it’s about being aware and being able to give equal measures to all the areas of our life. When we do that, we get a lot more back and we feel much more centred.
Liz: Yeah, absolutely. I think a lot of the times these things are happening to all of us all of the time. I know Jo and I have two different methods in how we do this, Jo has the EqUa chart which she will be posting in a video on our website which helps you find where your balance is out of kilter. I like to use my -, well I just use a level really, if I raise my hand high, so high, medium, and low and generally, we want to live our lives in the medium section which is where we’re okay.
If you are having a high experience, which is something that’s normally great but there are obviously bad versions of high, or we have a low experience where we’re at a lower ebb. Those things always happen to us, we are in and out of those things all the time, but the most important thing is coming back to the middle zone where you’re feeling in balance so you can cope with most things that go on with your life. Even if they’re stressful, you’re able to cope with them easily and without causing your body or mental state a strain.
Jo: Yeah. It’s very much about-, you can’t live your life flatlining, you can’t flatline, you have to have highs, you have to have lows, it’s how you deal with them.
Liz: It would be a bit boring if you did.
Jo: Yeah, and you’d be dead as well if you flatline.
Liz: That’s quite extreme, isn’t it?!
Jo: It’s about acknowledging that and understanding that that is part of life but when you are in one of those zones that you have the control and the awareness to be able to bring yourself back to that sort of middle ground, that centred ground, that okay ground where you are back in control again and you’re feeling more balanced. When you’re out of kilter and you’re out of balance and you’re tilted, sometimes when you come down from a high experience you come right down and equally when you’re trying to lift yourself out of a very low experience, it’s very, very difficult to do. So, with certain techniques and awareness raised, you can bring yourself back to centre, put yourself back in balance much, much quicker, and that’s what it’s about. It’s not trying to get rid of the highs and the lows, it’s being able to acknowledge them and bring yourself back to centre much quicker than you would have.
If any of you have come to some of our Stress Workshops that we’ve held in the past, balance is quite key with whether you react to something or whether you respond to something. When you react to something you’re generally reacting because you’re out of balance, because you’re tilted. When you respond to something it’s much more measured, it’s much more thought-out and that tends to mean that you are more centred and more balanced. So, we’re looking for people to respond more than they react because reacting is a much more emotional answer to things, whereas responding is a much more thought-out, calm and measured.
Liz: Ooh we said the same thing at the same time!
Jo: So, it’s January, January is traditionally quite a difficult month for many people.
Liz: It’s cold, it’s miserable and you have normally overindulged over Christmas a little bit and you’ve had the highs of Christmas and it feels grotty, you’re waiting to get paid, so it’s a difficult month, it can be a difficult month for many people.
Jo: Yeah. I have my birthday in January, and I know how difficult it is, “Hi, would you like to come out and celebrate my birthday?” No, it’s too cold. No, I’ve got no money. No, I’m doing dry January. No, I’m trying to lose weight. No, basically.
Liz: So, Jo celebrates every year alone.
Jo: But it’s also one of those things where many of us have resolutions that by now could well be broken or we’re struggling with.
Liz: Yeah, we’re not big on resolutions at Equacoaching, we prefer new year’s suggestions, new year’s experiences, it’s actually much nicer to come up with some ideas of things you might like to do this year, things you might like to try out for the first time. Give a go, rather than a resolution that’s always something you’re trying to resolve or trying to solve something with this one thing, you’re setting yourself up for failure.
Jo: Yeah, that’s another example of also putting yourself out of balance, if you fail a new year’s resolution or you don’t achieve what you wanted to, it can sometimes tilt you too far one way. After the excesses of Christmas and new year where quite often we’ve overindulged whether that be in eating, drinking, sleeping, partying, not spending enough time with certain people, spending too much time with certain people, whatever it might be, we can often feel it’s quite a key time where we feel tilted and very out of balance.
Liz: Often we then want something very extreme which we think is going to tilt us back the other way but generally most of the things that help tilt us back to balance are quite gentle and they bring us to the middle. What we do is we go for the high rather than finding that middle balanced ground, so I want to start training every day and lose all the weight and I want to be…
Jo: I’m going to start running, I’ve never run in my life but I’m going to run!
Liz: You’re going to run every day!
Liz: I’m not going to run like maybe come up with a plan where I can join a running club, or I can do it gently and take my time. I’m going to run every day straight away because I want to be Usain Bolt, by Wednesday.
Jo: Also, that’s another example of a reaction rather than a response, I’ve overindulged so I’m going to react to this by doing another extreme but the opposite end, by suddenly going out and running when I’ve never really run in my life. There’s nothing wrong with that, but it’s about doing it from a more responsive viewpoint and doing it much more measured because that way it lasts much longer, and the effects are much better.
Liz: Absolutely. It’s a panic to respond because we’re panicking because we’ve tilted the other way and we want to do something extreme to get us back into the scenario that we think is the perfect scenario.
Jo: Yeah. So, we use the word balance a lot as you’re probably aware of by now and we like to have used it as an acronym a sort of helpful acronym so that each letter of that word relates to something that people can use to help them find balance. To help centre themselves, to help them move forward in their lives but from a much better point, from a much better place where they feel more in control and less tilted. So, for example, the B of balance stands for belief and we are big on self-belief here at Equacoaching. For you as a person, it’s about understanding that you can do anything that you want to do. We as human beings naturally are very, very good at telling ourselves negative things, that we can’t do this, that this isn’t possible, that this will never happen as opposed to telling ourselves that anything is possible, that we can do this, why wouldn’t this happen – that becomes much more difficult for us.
So, self-belief is a really powerful tool once you start to really believe that anything is possible and that for you, you can do anything that you want to do. The world really does become your oyster and just by a few very simple techniques that you practice over and over and over again. A bit like if you were going out and start running, you’d have to gradually build up and the more you did it, the more it becomes a habit. It’s the same with your self-belief, the more that you practice certain techniques that we’ll be showing you and talking to you about, the easier it becomes to start believing in yourself more and then things around you become much easier, so B stands for belief.
Liz: Yes, about retraining your brain which we’ll go into more later on down the line in the podcast. A is for awareness, that is awareness of yourself, awareness of everything around, awareness of where you are, where you are in time, what you’re doing and how you’re doing it, how you’re thinking it. The more awareness you have the more capability you have to make changes.
Jo: Yeah, and again it goes back to as we spoke about earlier about responding and reacting, the more awareness you have of the decisions that you’re making, the thought processes, the things that are going on in your head, how you’re reacting or responding to situations or people. When you become more aware of that you can make changes much quicker which then create bigger changes throughout the rest of your life, it has that ripple effect.
Liz: Yeah, for example, I quite often ask clients to not complain for a week which is a brilliant tool for awareness.
Jo: Yeah and they are quite shocked.
Liz: You can find out you’re really whinging a lot.
Jo: Yeah, how many times you end up complaining without even noticing, it becomes almost like a default, so A stands for awareness. L stands for love, love for yourself, love for your surroundings, love for the people in your life, love for the choices that you make, love for the things that you do, love for the person that you are. If you can’t have love for yourself then you can’t really have love for anybody else really.
Liz: At the end of the day, love is important. We’re not talking about the wishy-washy, lovey-dovey, we’re just talking about self-love which is very important.
Jo: So, L stands for love.
Liz: A stands for alive, that we are.
Jo: You are alive, you’re not flatlining, you are alive. It comes on to the end that we’re going to talk about in a second but it’s about seizing the moment.
Liz: It’s about life is short really and at the end of the day, most of us want to live good quality lives. We want to live it and the whole point of the alive part of this is that a lot of us can coast through life without really living it properly.
Jo: Yeah. You want to be going to bed at the end of your day and saying, I’ve lived the best day that I can. That doesn’t mean that you’ve got to be out windsurfing or parachuting, it doesn’t mean that. It can be the simple things of just sitting down and having a nice cup of tea and really enjoying it or having a nice bath or spending time with people or whatever it might be. At the end of the day when you go to sleep, before you close your eyes you can say today was a good day because I lived it to the fullest.
Liz: Absolutely, and I think that there is a problem these days that people think living to the fullest means is high-octane living and actually we don’t need a lot in life to be happy, we don’t need a lot to feel alive. We’re looking sometimes in the wrong areas to try and find happiness and that feeling of a fulfilled life.
Jo: So, A stands for alive. N stands for now. There is no more important time than now, you can’t do anything about yesterday, you can’t really do anything about tomorrow or next week, you can’t do anything about last year. All you can do something about is right now and most people don’t really live in the ‘now’, they spend a lot of their time and energy worrying or thinking about what has happened or what might happen and you have no control over either of those things. The only control you ever have is of right now, right at this very moment and the choices that you make, the choices to whether you’re going to live the fullest day that you can live.
Liz: It goes back to what we were saying before about being alive, but now it’s very much about living in the moment. It’s what a lot of mindfulness is rooted in and it’s about enjoying everything that you’re doing even if it’s not necessarily what you consider to be the best thing at that moment. It’s about enjoying whatever it is you’re doing at that moment.
Jo: Yeah, even the washing up can be fun.
Liz: Let’s not go too far, Jo.
Jo: Well, if you really take time to wash a dish it, can give you a whole new lease on life!
Liz: Mindfulness washing up. Do you think it will catch on?!
Jo: Oh yeah. There is something there, definitely, without a shadow of a doubt, yeah.
Liz: Or maybe mindfulness golf.
Jo: No, I don’t like that.
Jo: No, I’m not a golfer.
Liz: I’m sure there are all sorts of mindfulness things we can do, probably more fun than washing up I have to say.
Jo: But now is the time, right now, not yeah, I’ll do it tomorrow, not oh, I should have done it yesterday, so because I didn’t do it yesterday there’s no point. ‘Now’, you have the control and the choice to make a change right now, so N stands for now.
Liz: Leading you very quickly and seamlessly into C, which is change. Obviously, if you’re not happy, if you’re feeling that your life is out of tilt then you have to change something. Most of us are absolutely terrified of change, we don’t want to change anything, but it’s guaranteed that it’s the only thing that definitely will happen in your life, everything changes as, Take That said!
Jo: They did, and nothing changed.
Liz: But you, sorry, but you.
Jo: Yes, that’s correct, if you’re going to say it correctly but nothing changes if you don’t make a change. So, you can sit around waiting for something to happen but ultimately, unless you get up and do it, it isn’t going to happen.
Liz: The change doesn’t have to be massive, does it?
Jo: No, it doesn’t, and people are afraid of it because they always think change will involve a huge, massive thing that happens in their life.
Liz: It’s quite a common thing actually, that we make it a big thing, we make that change a big thing in our heads, so almost to self-sabotage and prevent ourselves from doing it.
Jo: Yeah, one of the earliest things I often do with a lot of my clients or get people to do in workshops is to make very, very small changes. Like if you sit in a particular seat when you watch television to shift and move into a different seat or if you drink out of a particular cup when you have your tea, use a different cup. If you travel to work on a train or a bus and you sit in a particular carriage, move, sit somewhere else. It gives you a different perspective, it’s a tiny thing but it changes and shakes your world and just gives those subtle little ripples of change which wake you up and give you awareness and so they all link on, so change is a big thing but it’s very powerful.
Liz: Yeah, and it doesn’t have to be difficult as you say, if you can make it, you’re in control of how much you change and what you change but as you said earlier, if you don’t make a change, nothing changes.
Jo: So, C stands for change and E finally stands for equanimity, which means balance, steadiness, calmness.
Liz: EqUa in itself has many different versions, we’ve got equilibrium, equanimity, equality, many, many, except I can only think of three right at the moment
Jo: All of the things that we’ve spoken about, if we are aware of them, if we love ourselves, if we believe in ourselves, if we’re prepared to make changes right now, we can improve our balance, we can bring ourselves back to balance much, much quicker than we might be doing at the moment. That’s what it’s about, it’s not being able to get to a point where we live a life where everything is serene and wonderful for 24 hours of the day 365 days of the year, that’s just not how life is. It’s being able to be in control of it so that when it does fall out of tilt, when you are feeling unbalanced, you have the tools and the awareness and the understanding to bring yourself back to centre much, much quicker.
Liz: Yeah, absolutely and you know what, it is entirely possible to live your life in a pretty balanced way most of the time and that in itself means living a happy life.
Liz: So, we are coming to the end of our podcast, the next podcast I think will be about letting go. So, we’re beginning these podcasts with the same route that we would probably go down in one of our workshops and so stage-by-stage taking through some of the techniques and stories and examples that we would use in our stress or the five ways to kick-start change workshops. Which leads me nicely onto if you are interested in any of our workshops or one-to-one sessions, then please go to our website which is www.equacoaching.com. There are some exciting things coming soon like the books coming out and the new website has been launched and also our online coaching programs are coming soon. So, keep an eye out for them and if you would be interested at all then sign up to the newsletter.
Jo: Bye for now.
Liz: See you later.
PS we have a new book out! It’s available now on Amazon, Waterstones and all good independent book stores!
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