We hear the word “balance” a lot, whether it be health or development
industry and for good reason. For the most part, balance is an essential for
living a happy life.
Think about it for a moment
Exercise is a good thing, but not if you (literally) run yourself into the ground by over training and damaging your body. Drinking is seen as a bad thing, but there have been numerous scientific findings suggesting that in moderation it can actually have beneficial medical effects.
Just don’t over do it because you once read, that a glass or two of red wine can have positive medical effects and then presume that must mean two bottles must have even more health benefits.
Meditation is a very good thing, but not if you insist on doing it for 6 hours a day resulting in being fired from your job and having your partner walk out on you.
Fat, salt and carbohydrates can indeed be very damaging to your health if taken in large quantities and out of proportion with the rest of your dietary intake, but in moderation they are not only fine, but necessary for a healthy body.
Even self development can be bad for you if taken to ridiculous extremes.
I read an article that a life coach once wrote, that he knew two people who spent tens of thousands of dollars they couldn’t afford by trying to attend every self development seminar that ever crossed their path. One even ended up with a failed marriage because of it.
And I am sure you can think of many examples of your own where things in moderation can be enjoyable and healthy, but if taken to excess can be damaging to your physical and/or mental well-being.
Probably the main area I see clients who have balance issues is in the work place and I was once amongst them working ridiculous hours.
I can remember getting a phone call from a client 23:00 pm and insisting that I help her. This happened regularly and if I didn’t answer because for an unforsaken reason I was sleeping. I would know about it the next day. Working to 4:00 am in the mornings meeting regular deadlines. And that really wasn’t that unusual. It seemed that the belief was if you talked about balance enough, then the fact that it didn’t actually exist really didn’t matter.
Balance doesn’t start and end with how we look after our body, our work life and interactions with one another either because it’s important to have a balanced mind. And by that I mean one that is open to new experiences, new learnings and new ways of looking at things. Clinging on to old beliefs just because it’s easier is not helpful and is a huge barrier to successful self development.
Most people like to think they are open-minded, when in reality most people are not. A friend of mine recently told me that a wise person in the audience said the following:
“All people are OK with change. As long as they don’t have to change!”
You cannot be open-minded and adopt a victim mindset. You cannot be open-minded and dismiss proven methods of improving happiness like meditation and giving back because they don’t make sense to you.
And you cannot be open-minded and refuse to accept that you can change and improve the quality of your life when it has been scientifically proven otherwise.
One of the things that stops us from maintaining balance is the belief that we have to accept every request for assistance that comes our way.
That may be something as seemingly benign as always agreeing to taxi the children around even though you never get time for yourself to go walk on the promenade, see friends, or sit and read or going on a “connect” date (day or night) with your partner. Or it maybe something more substantial like taking on work projects that you simply don’t have the energy or time to do properly.
The thing is, you are the most important person in the world to you. It’s not your parents, or your spouse, or even your children; it’s you. And the reason I say that with such conviction is because your world only exists in one place – inside your head.
Everything you ever experience in your time on this planet happens exclusively inside your brain. Therefore, if you don’t look after yourself properly and take time to look after your own mental and physical health, then you cannot be the best person possible for your loved ones.
One of the best ways to establish balance is to start a regular meditation practice.
The evidence in support of meditation is coming so thick and so fast. I myself struggle to put it into practice. There are various ways to meditate (remember it is what works for YOU and not someone else).
My personal form of meditation is through prayer. There is no wrong or write here. Certain things in my prayer I always repeat and it’s in the beginning of my prayer where it helps me to quieten my mind, to focus and leave everything behind for those few minutes.
Meditation has been scientifically proven to do the following:
- Quieten your mind
- Reduce stress
- Lower depression
- Lower blood pressure
- Improve concentration
- Reduce absenteeism in schools when kids meditate
- Improve happiness levels
- Increase creativity
- Increase empathy, tolerance and understanding