Master Emotional Balance: 5 Tips From Dr. Caroline Leaf

7 minutes read -
Dr. Caroline Leaf on emotional balance

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Summary: Resilience and inner harmony depend on your emotional balance. Discover how you can master it with expert advice from neuroscientist Dr. Caroline Leaf.


In a world driven by emotions, it shouldn’t come as a surprise that finding balance is all the rage. After all, who wouldn’t want to surf the waves of emotions with the grace of a seasoned pro, instead of being tossed around like a volleyball at a beach party?

Emotional balance is the key to unlocking a more harmonious, happier life. And it definitely plays a crucial role in our mental health, relationships, and personal growth.

You cannot sit back and wait to be happy and healthy and have a great life,” says Dr. Caroline Leaf, a cognitive neuroscientist and trainer of Mindvalley’s Calm Mind A Scientific Method for Managing Anxiety and Depression Quest. You have to make the choice to make this happen.”

What Is Emotional Balance?

Life isn’t always calm waters; the ebb and flow often cause us to react emotionally. That’s where  emotional balance is important—it helps us manage our emotions and maintain stability in the face of life’s ups and downs. 

As an emotionally balanced individual, you’d be able to experience the full spectrum of emotions, from joy to sorrow, without losing your cool or feeling overwhelmed. You’d also know when it’s appropriate to express your emotions and when it’s best to hold back your emotional reactivity

However, don’t confuse emotional balance with emotional suppression—they’re as different as night and day. 

While emotional balance is about acknowledging, understanding, and managing those emotions in a healthy way, emotional suppression is like trying to stuff all your feelings into a tiny bottle until it bursts. It’s like the difference between learning to dance in the rain and hiding from a storm.

Emotional balance

Why Is It Important to Cultivate Emotional Balance?

As the famous saying goes, “Life is 10% what happens to you and 90% how you react to it.” Cultivating emotional balance empowers you to respond effectively to life’s challenges and make better decisions.

And even research supports the significance of emotional balance for overall well-being. A 2003 study found that individuals who practiced emotional regulation experienced more positive emotions and had better overall well-being. 

So, it turns out that mastering your emotions is not just a cool party trick—it’s essential for living your best life.

Here are a few more benefits to nurturing your emotional balance:

  • Stronger, more secure relationships
  • Higher levels of compassion
  • Extended ability to deal with confrontation
  • Developing resilience and grit
  • Experience lower levels of stress
  • Feeling in control of your decisions

As Dr. Leaf explains in her Quest, your body and brain follow your mind through every experience in your life. So in order to adapt your mind’s responses to your emotional world, you should have a set of practices and skills that will support you along the way.

How to Find Emotional Balance: 5 Tips From Dr. Caroline Leaf

Balancing emotions is not so much about knowing how to stand in the middle of a teeter-totter of your thoughts and feelings. It’s more about knowing how to direct your mind to influence toxic thoughts. 

That’s the basis of Dr. Leaf’s Nerocycle® process. It’s a five-step mind-management tool that’s been developed through long years of clinical research, foundational theory, and clinical application. 

And as she explains, the process creates real, lasting change if done for at least 63 days in a row. Moreover, besides re-establishing emotional harmony, it can also be used for healing and dismantling old, ingrained traumas or strong patterns.

Here are the five steps for you to try:

1. Gather awareness

This step is essential to creating space away from whatever emotional experience is occurring in the moment. So, you should start by becoming aware of your thoughts, emotions, and any body sensations associated with that particular experience.

Cultivating awareness increases your brain’s capacity to start the healing process of your toxic or anxious thoughts that have caused damage until now. Additionally, becoming more conscious of your thoughts and feelings encourages the process of rewiring the patterns you’re unconsciously responding to.

2. Reflect

During this step of the process, you can ask yourself:

  • Why do I feel this emotion? What triggered it?
  • Why do I think I feel this way?

Dr. Leaf explains that reflecting isn’t about finding out the exact answer to these questions, but rather about facilitating communication between the two brain hemispheres. And it’s important to remember that the brain is only changed and activated by what’s happening in the mind.

“So as you reflect,” says Dr. Leaf, “you force this very deep interaction in the middle of the brain, and that allows you to get deeper insight.”

3. Write down your Metacog®

The Metacog® is a way of structuring information on the page that mirrors how those thought connections are forming in your brain. You can still benefit from the process of simply journaling, but the Metacog® will be much more effective, according to Dr. Leaf.

All you have to do is write down in the center of your page the main emotional issue you’re dealing with. It may be a specific anxious thought or overwhelming emotion.

Then, around that central problem, write down any emotional warning signs, perspectives, physical manifestations, toxic issues, and behaviors associated with that main thought pattern. This step is where you start deconstructing and reconstructing those negative patterns that prevent you from achieving emotional balance.

4. Recheck

While rechecking what you’ve written down, you prepare your brain for new understandings of the issues you’re dealing with. Dr. Leaf points out that this part of the neurocycle promotes theta brain waves, which open up brain space for healing.

Through clinical observation of her patients, she noticed that when theta brain waves are activated, people experience a sense of calm and peace, problems seem more manageable, and new solutions may come up.

5. Active reach

The active reach state means a constructive statement that reinforces your new thoughts and neural networks. It’s basically a new positive thought that can make you feel better throughout the day. 

It could be a simple statement that will remind you of the work you’re doing to change. For example, for someone struggling with depression, an active reach statement can sound as simple as, “I am not depression, I’m just dealing with it.” 

And to enhance its effectiveness, you should reinforce the active reach statement at least seven times a day.

3 Ways to Help Your Loved Ones Find Emotional Balance

Once you start mastering your emotional states and finding your inner harmony, you can actually support others on their way, too. And even if you can’t do the inner work for someone else, no matter how loving the relationship is, you may inspire them to harness more peace within.

As a parent

Dr. Leaf designed a process specially tailored to children’s use, which is available on her Neurocyle® app. However, as she explains in the Quest, when it comes to supporting little children in learning how to regulate their emotional experiences, you always lead by example.

Think about a moment when you’re coming home from work, completely exhausted and overwhelmed. Instead of slamming the door and kicking toys out of the way, you can actually sit down and talk to your child. Tell them what you’re going through and what you’re going to do about it.

This way, they will understand the message that it’s not their fault for any emotion you’re feeling. As you find your own emotional balance, your kids will slowly learn and even unconsciously absorb the information on how to do the same.

As a partner

You can start by encouraging open, judgment-free conversations—because nothing says “I care” like lending a genuine ear. And if you’re already leading by example and have found your own emotional balance, creating a safe space for your partner to do the same might be the contribution they need.

Remember, it’s not always about fixing problems; sometimes, just being present is the best medicine for them to access their inner resources.

In fact, studies show that active listening positively influences both the speaker’s perception of the listener’s empathy and the listener’s ability to accurately comprehend the speaker’s message. The study suggests that active listening can lead to better communication in interpersonal relationships.

As a friend

When it comes to friendship, we may often act like our best friends’ personal cheerleaders and life coaches rolled up into one supportive package. 

And sometimes, the most effective way to set them up for success on their emotional balance journey is to engage together in specific activities that will support them along the way.

For example, if you’ve already mastered your Neurocycle® process, find a time and space to do it together with your best friend. Similarly, you can suggest any activities that may seem enjoyable for their particular taste, such as attending a workshop, going to a yoga class, or having a reading date in the park.

Emotional balance

Unlock Inner Freedom With Your Emotional Balance

Life is a rollercoaster as it is. Your emotions don’t have to be as well.

You can rewire the emotional patterns that have thrown you off balance before, as Dr. Leaf explains. And with a little guidance along the way, the process may go easier and smoother than you’ve ever thought possible.

Mindvalley’s Calm Mind: A Scientific Method for Managing Anxiety and Depression Quest with Dr. Caroline Leaf may be just the wisdom you need to achieve emotional freedom. You can find transformational, research-based techniques to regain your stability and control.

By claiming your free access, you can try out classes from this program and many others to get a taste of the change that it may bring into your life. And your most desired inner peace might arise unexpectedly when you’re engaging in this powerful work.

Welcome in.

Watch the First Lesson of the Quest

World-renowned cognitive neuroscientist, Dr. Caroline Leaf, teaches how to rise above anxiety and depression with the proven 5-step Neurocycle® process

A 20-minute-a-day program to reclaim your personal power, reignite your inner spark, and gain a newfound sense of freedom and happiness.Get started for free

Dr. Caroline Leaf

Dr. Caroline Leaf

Dr. Caroline Leaf is the trainer of Mindvalley's Calmness Quest, as well as a communication pathologist, cognitive neuroscientist, and best-selling author of "Emotional Agility," "Switch on Your Brain," and "Cleaning Up Your Mental Mess." She was one of the first in her field to study how the brain can change (neuroplasticity) with directed mind input.
Written by

Dr. Caroline Leaf

Dr. Caroline Leaf is the trainer of Mindvalley's Calmness Quest, as well as a communication pathologist, cognitive neuroscientist, and best-selling author of "Emotional Agility," "Switch on Your Brain," and "Cleaning Up Your Mental Mess." She was one of the first in her field to study how the brain can change (neuroplasticity) with directed mind input.

Alexandra Tudor

Alexandra Tudor is a former content writer for Mindvalley and a psychology enthusiast. From clinical experience working with both children and adults, she's now in the process of becoming a licensed psychotherapist, specializing in the IFS method and family constellation therapy.
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