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Tips For Finding Balance & Living With Intent

by Laura Beans
Tips for Finding Balance

Mallika Chopra, pictured with her father, Deepak, shares her life’s journey on how to find balance

As the daughter of world-renowned, best-selling author and famed spiritual leader Deepak Chopra, Mallika Chopra is a name in its own right. But she hasn’t always felt secure in her roles. Pressure to be the perfect daughter, CEO, wife and mother weighed heavily on her well into adulthood—and sometimes still does.

In her latest book, Living with Intent (Harmony Books), Chopra chronicles concerns felt by most of us—self-doubt, guilt, uncertainty—and offers practical advice, simple exercises, and, maybe most importantly, reassurance that questioning the human experience is part of our collective consciousness.

Chopra takes readers on a relatable journey, as she seeks to find balance in a life filled with chaos and stress. Part memoir, part self-help, Living with Intent expounds upon the idea of Chopra’s popular website, Intent.com, that set intentions are powerful means for generating action and change.

Tips for Finding Balance

“‘Who am I? What do I want? How can I serve?’ are questions my father had my brother and I ask daily as kids.”

OSM: What was it like growing up with such a famous father? What are a few lessons he taught you that still hold true for you today?

MC: My father did not become well-known until I was older, in my late teens. I think he went on The Oprah Winfrey Show when I was in college, and that skyrocketed his fame to another level. So, my memories of childhood are of my young immigrant parents trying to create a life for our family in the U.S. My dad worked most of the time and my mom was a stay-at-home mom. They sheltered us from many of their personal stresses.

However, I clearly remember when my parents began meditating. I was nine years old, and I learned at that time, as well. Meditation brought more calm, happiness and togetherness into our family. And, it was the gateway into my father’s exposure to the mind/body connection and writing his books. In the beginning, my father would dictate his books to me or my brother and we would type them. We would go to bookstores and be so thrilled when we saw one on the shelves. My father was also attacked frequently for his ideas—labeled as an East Asian witch doctor who sold snake oil. This was long before yoga, meditation and mindfulness were in vogue.

So rather than fame, the impact of my parents’ journey for me and my brother was working hard and staying true to what you believe in. Hopefully, these are the lessons that I will pass on to my children as well.

For your latest book, Living with Intent, you spoke with a lot of big-name experts. Who are some of your personal mentors?

I grew up with many of the well-known self-help authors around. They were close friends of my parents and pioneers in the field of self-development. That said, it was not my world and I did not interact much with these individuals. But I admired some of these people tremendously. Wayne Dyer, who recently passed away, was a close friend of my father’s, as was David Simon and Debbie Ford. I always thought, and still think, that Marianne Williamson was one of the smartest, most passionate people that we met. But my mentors were really my father and mother, and my grandparents.

When I decided to write Living with Intent, I began reading the books of so many of these esteemed writers I had grown up with. I was amazed and inspired by their knowledge and deep thinking. I feel incredibly grateful that I was able to interview some of them. My time with Eckhart Tolle was special and a big shift for me personally, and speaking with Marianne Williamson, Andrew Weil, Dr. Dan Siegel and Caryl Stern, the President & CEO of the U.S. Fund for UNICEF, was truly an honor.

If someone was just beginning a journey to a more mindful life, what are your top tips for living with intent?

Finding a meditation practice that helps you settle your thoughts and feel anchored and connected is important. It may be a walk in nature, yoga, dance. But find the silence in those moments. And then listen and trust what will make you happier, healthier, more connected and more purposeful. I also think that sleep, a good diet and movement are critical. Last but not least, a lesson my father taught my brother and me was to not take ourselves too seriously.

Why do you think “mindfulness” and the like are so trendy right now?

I think it’s wonderful that mindfulness is so fashionable these days, and I hope it stays in vogue! When I grew up it was very different.

Globally I see that people are overwhelmed with too much stimuli and too much to do. People are balancing work and life priorities, financial and relationship commitments, and many don’t have the luxury to even think about what that balance means. Even our kids are overscheduled and often don’t know how to sit still. Social media is a great way to connect, but it can also be an escape or a tool to live externally, rather than ask ourselves deeper questions. “Who am I? What do I want? How can I serve?” are questions that my father had my brother and I ask daily as kids.

Many of us are seeking something to help us feel more rested and anchored and in control. Mindfulness and meditation practices give people a taste of peace and connection. They help slow down the constant chatter in our mind, and that makes you feel better. It works, experientially. And, with the science backing it up, it’s great that more and more people are exploring these practices.

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