10/18/2013 01:27 pm ET Updated Jan 23, 2014

Joan Moran: Take Center Stage: 5 Techniques to Reclaim Work/Life Balance

By Joan Moran

A healthy balance in all facets of life--physically, emotionally, intellectually and spiritually--is the key to maintaining optimal wellness. No matter how hard you work, your priority should be finding a healthy balance between your work and your personal life. Although this is a real challenge, creating a healthy lifestyle and reclaiming work/life balance will reduce stress and get rid of the least important activities in your life--the ones that are getting in the way of you reaching your full potential. As you take center stage in your life, the decisions you make will become much clearer and easier. The results: You'll work smarter and live happier.

The following are five super-techniques to find balance in life and work and bring your rock star persona to center stage.

Set boundaries.

You are the determiner of the whole of your life: your emotions, feeling, stress levels, work time/fun time, and body/mind connections. Learn to say no. "No" is a powerful word because it allows us to say "yes." Yes is for being mindful about wellness and taking care of you because your self-worth is tied up in how you feel and react to life's blessings and struggles. Say, "I'm sorry, but no..." and see how the boomerang yes gives you strength and confidence to make positive decisions that will help you achieve personal and professional success and a clear sense of your well-being.

Be mindful.

Mindfulness means living in the present, observing everything without wanting to change or influence anything. Mindfulness eliminates the thousands of daily messages coming from our culture so your mind is clear to make great choices instead of meet dead ends, so that you'll have opportunities instead of a stalled journey, so that you'll find balance in work and life. Practice mindfulness by breaking a habit, eliminating something superfluous in your life, or doing something that makes you feel insecure or is scary or strange. Or carry out an action with complete attention and intensity as if it were your last. Start today to live a life that reflects your values, needs, and desires.

Live your passions.

I'm a huge believer in living your passions. Passion is the outpouring of positive energy for the ideas and interests that make a difference in your life. Decide what adds value to your life, what makes you uniquely you, lights your fire, raises your temperature, and makes you come alive. If you can't get something out of your mind, if you feel blissful about a person, place, or thing and it won't go away, you have passion. It is then that a simple interest is elevated into a rarefied passion. That's what happened to me with yoga. Eleven years ago my interest blossomed into a passion and I became a yoga teacher. Recently, two of my friends decided to do the same thing. They are gloriously happy. They found their music; they found their bliss. What I know to be true is that life won't be any fun without finding and living your passion.

Lead with your heart.

The decisions I have made throughout my life come from knowing the truth about who I am, what talents and skills I have and what gifts I possess. As a yoga and meditation teacher, I've learned to listen to my heart--that is, recognize my emotions--because my heart keeps me on my path. During the day, you bounce from pillar to post without much thought or emotion. What if you stopped rushing and began to recognize how you are feeling? When your mind and body slow down, the mind becomes clear and you can mindfully recognize emotions--the feelings that come from your heart. Feelings enable us to act with consciousness, empathy, sympathy, and generosity of spirit. So stop rushing around mindlessly and pause, take time, and tune in to your feelings. Ask yourself: Is what I am doing really necessary, really productive, and really beneficial for me? Peace and joy will follow.

Give gratitude.

This last technique is the truly the first step to reducing stress and finding balance in every aspect of your life: give gratitude. Gratitude increases positive energy, provides clear perspective by clearing out the mental clutter, makes you appreciate your gifts and talents, and allows you to change your thoughts from being against things to being for things. Abundance will follow. Take a moment each day and say thank you for your life and breath. Our life is a gift and a privilege.

Changing old mindsets and old habits are challenging ideas. However, if you are serious about finding balance in your work and life, if you are serious about sustaining a healthy lifestyle, make an intention to practice one of these techniques each day for several weeks and notice how priorities begin to change. Integrating all five techniques throughout your day with intention will put you center stage in your life.

Joan Moran is a keynote speaker, commanding the stage with her delightful humor, raw energy, and wealth of life experiences. She is an expert on wellness and is passionate about addressing the problems of mental inertia. A yoga instructor, Moran is the author is "Sixty, Sex, & Tango, Confessions of a Beatnik Boomer." Visit her at