Living a balanced life. To lose balance sometimes for love is part of living a balanced life. ~ Elizabeth Gilbert
Living a balanced life is essential for personal effectiveness, peace of mind and living well.
We have to realize that we can’t have everything and do everything at the same time. And the challenge is to balance what we must do with what we enjoy and choose to do.
In today’s society where most people spend more time at work or working than in any other context, it’s common to feel over-worked and off-balance. Everyone struggles to step away and find time for the people, activities and things that restore peace and balance in life.
“Happiness is not a matter of intensity but of balance, order, rhythm and harmony.” ~Thomas Merton
When our life seems out of control and we’ve got endless demands tugging at us from all directions, it’s easy to feel overwhelmed, fatigued, and just plain stressed!
Believe it or not, living a balanced life does not require massive changes. You don’t have to quit your job, abandon your family and escape to a remote retreat in order to feel peaceful and happy. In fact, true balance is something that starts WITHIN YOU first and foremost – no matter what else is happening in your outer life circumstances.
“The best and safest thing is to keep a balance in your life, acknowledge the great powers around us and in us. If you can do that, and live that way, you are really a wise man” ~ Euripides
Below you’ll find four simple ways to begin building a greater sense of inner peace, harmony and living a balanced life:
1) Quiet time.
One of the first things we tend to sacrifice when we’re busy is our personal time. Instead we devote all of our energy and attention to caring for others, multi-tasking, meeting responsibilities and “being productive.” Over time this depletes our energy and we begin to feel more and more burdened by our responsibilities.
To live a more balanced life, quiet time to yourself is CRUCIAL. You may believe that you don’t have any time available for yourself, but something amazing happens when you consistently MAKE time; you find yourself feeling happier and more energetic, your focus improves – and you still get plenty done! Just a few minutes spent sitting quietly in meditation or reading a book can do wonders in transforming stress into peace and happiness. “Quite the mind and the soul will speak”
Beyond making time for things you enjoy, there are other ways to nurture and love yourself on a daily basis. Getting a full eight hours of sleep (or as much as you personally need) is a great start, as well as eating nutritious food, exercising daily and speaking kindly to yourself.
Have you ever noticed that when you’re really tired or stressed, even the smallest problem can seem like a nightmare? On the other hand, when you’re feeling well-rested and centred, you’re much better able to handle upsets. Caring for yourself is one sure way to consistently replenish your energy, inner peace and joy – which means you’ll have the strength to handle whatever comes your way. “Taking good care of you means the people in your life will receive the best of you, rather than what is left of you”
Did you know that one of the biggest causes of stress is rigid expectations? We all do it from time to time; get a mental picture of how our lives “should be” – and get really annoyed when our outer circumstances don’t cooperate! One of the biggest gifts you can give yourself is a flexible state of mind. In other words, learn how to detach from unrealistic expectations and go with the flow.
When you have a flexible mind-set, you’re able to deal with crises and problems much more easily because you’re not working against a preconceived notion of how things “should be”. You’re able to tap into your creative problem-solving skills and move through challenges without all the drama and frustration. Be like the tree that bends with the breeze – and you’re much less likely to break!
These inner changes can make a dramatic difference in your state of well-being, but you may also want to examine your outer life circumstances and see if there are other small changes you can make to help support your inner work and living a balanced life.
For example, you might choose to let go of certain obligations that are no longer meaningful or enjoyable to you. Just because you agreed to host weekly meetings for a support group three years ago doesn’t mean you have to keep doing it forever – especially if it’s become a drain on your time and energy! “The mental flexibility of the wise man permits him to keep an open mind and enables him to readjust himself whenever it becomes necessary for a change” ~ Malcolm X
4) Attend to your spiritual needs.
It is important for you to feel connected to the universe and to find your purpose in life. Making time for spirituality allows you to direct your attention inward, leading to greater flexibility to life encounters and even a longer life. When we feel stressed; it may be that our mind is telling us to attend to our spiritual needs. Mind, body and spirit are inseparable, and the inspiration gained from spirituality is an essential part of the healing process.
We need to avoid confusing spirituality with religion; the two may or may not share some common area. If we are religious, this can include sharing same beliefs, values, liturgies and lifestyle of a faith community. Spirituality can also come from being a part of the larger community, in whatever form you enjoy. It can include volunteering with a special community service project or connecting with others in your neighbourhood. Other forms of spirituality may be meditation, journalising, prayer, or even doing yoga. “Spiritual opening is not a withdrawal to some imagined realm or safe cave. It is not a pulling away, but a touching of all the experience of life with wisdom and with a heart of kindness, without any separation” ~Jack Kornfield
Life is very much a balancing act. We always strive to move forward with our purpose, and to achieve our goals, while trying to keep in balance the various elements of our lives. By letting go of activities that no longer complement the lifestyle you desire, not only you are living a balanced life. but also you’ll create a space for greater fulfilment, joy and peace.
“Life is like riding a bicycle. To keep your balance, you must keep moving.” Albert Einstein