Thursday, June 13, 2013

Balancing Act

I was balancing my checkbook this morning only to find that the numbers didn't match.  Frustrating.  So I scrutinized my online banking statement and compared it to what I had logged in my checkbook.  I found some addition and subtraction errors and finally balanced the numbers, but it took some effort and time.  My frustration melted away.  Ahhh...

Then I got to thinking about living a balanced life.  You know when you are living a balanced life because you enjoy every moment, you have coping skills in place when challenges arise, you are happy without any reason, and you are your authentic self.  There's nothing simpler than living a balanced life.

Some people may try to blame the world for the imbalances in their lives.  They feel overworked, fatigued, and stressed because of the demands of their careers, family obligations, and other responsibilities.  What these people fail to realize is that it's not the world that causes imbalance; they are the cause of the imbalance themselves because they were the ones who agreed to the demands in the first place, consciously or not.  

How does one restore balance?

Living a balanced life will take some work.  Balancing your life is like trying to balance a checkbook when your numbers are off.  It takes scrutiny.  Every area of your life, every nook and cranny, needs to be analyzed.  Once you find where you can make changes, you'll find yourself in the flow and you'll discover ways to steer your life in your desired direction.  You will feel empowered.  

Here are some essentials to help you live a more balanced life:

1.  Admit that your life is imbalanced and realize where you need to make changes.  Take inventory of our life.  Where do you feel the most pressure happening?  Become aware of those stressors so that you can begin a plan of action to take care of yourself.

2.  Cultivate awareness and mindfulness.  This is the key to balanced living.  You begin to appreciate every moment of your life.  Being mindful means being in the present moment; it does not mean living in the past or the future, even though it's important to plan for the future and to learn from the past. Remaining calm in the moment keeps you from making decisions you may regret in the future.

3.  Set boundaries.  Learn to say no.  Don't take on more responsibilities than you already have.  Your goal is to lighten the load you've been carrying.  Being everything to everybody will leave nothing for yourself.  You'll be of no help to anyone, not even yourself, if you do not take care of your needs.  

4.  Pay attention to your body.  Your body will tell you when it needs to recharge.  Your body is a gift.  Take care of it.  Eat proper nutrition.  Get plenty of exercise.  Rest when you need to rest.  Balanced living is not possible without a balanced body.  

5.  Simplify.  If your work schedule is a major contributor of stress, you may need to delegate some of your responsibilities.  If that doesn't work, have a heart-to-heart with your employer to help you make the much-needed changes. You may have to change jobs if there is no other solution.  If certain relationships are stressful, you may have to end them and begin connecting with people of positive influence.  Reduce your social media exposure if you find yourself spending too much time online.  

6.  Turn on your creativity. Challenges are a part of life. Put your creativity to use when solving problems. Use your creativity to turn your dreams into reality.  Balanced people are in touch with their creativity.  

7.  Be patient with yourself.  Some things take time.  Track your progress along the way and reward yourself when you reach your goals.  Patience will help you to keep things in perspective.  A patient mind is a mindful one, and mindfulness leads to balance.  

Living a balanced life may take some time and effort, but the pay-off in the end is a life of happiness, joy, and peace.  It begins with choice.  If you truly desire a balanced life, you will do what is necessary, but it begins with you and no one else.  

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