Achieving a Balanced Life
Those people who are able to balance their lives are most likely to succeed at their jobs and be involved in meaningful relationships. A balanced life is one in which stress is managed and not allowed to take over on a daily basis. Finding balance is a great challenge. Maintaining it, once you’ve found it, is even more difficult. However, to maintain robust health, a positive attitude about life and meaningful relationships, you must balance all aspects of your life.
Stress is a condition found in all areas of our lives. Stress is what you experience when you believe you can’t cope effectively with a threatening situation. There are many circumstances that lead to feeling stressed. These stressful situations are mostly job related and relationship specific. In other words, events surrounding our jobs and our family and friends cause the greatest stress in our lives. There are many lists that identify the top stressors. Here’s a compilation of twelve of the top stressors in our lives.
Life Events That Lead to Stress
- Death of a spouse
- Worries about your children
- Worries about your parents
- Death of close family member
- Personal injury or illness
- Conflicts about your marriage
- Loss of job / financial worries
- Concerns related to career
- Change in financial status
- Death of a close friend
Of course, the more stressors in your life, the higher the level of stress.Constant stress may lead to illness, depression, poor job performance and major life changes.Many of the major life stressors are beyond our control.However, there are many stressors that we can control and try to bring into balance on a daily basis.The first step is to identify what the current stressors are in your life. Once you’ve identified them, you can begin to work on shifting them.What are the benefits to achieving balance in your life?
Benefits to a Balanced Life:
- Good Health
- Effective Relationships
- Personal Fulfillment
- Improved Quality of Life
- Abundance in all Aspects of Life
- Personal & Professional Productivity
These would all seem to be desirable outcomes when our life is balanced. How do you create balance? Where do you start? There are four major areas of our lives in which we want to try to reach and maintain a balanced state as often as possible. These four areas are the Physical, Mental, Social/Emotional and Spiritual. When these four areas are balanced, we are better able to handle stress. Balance in these areas actually prevents stress from playing such a big role in our lives. Make a chart or copy the one below and use it for a week to monitor where your life is in or out of balance. After a week, the areas in which you’ll need to work should be obvious. The four main areas listed below provide you with ideas about how to create balance in each area – e.g. under the Physical, you should exercise to maintain balance. Use this chart to monitor yourself and shift to a more proactive response in those areas where you aren’t achieving balance. You won’t necessarily take each of these actions every day but you should do a few in each section on a daily basis.
You’ve kept track of your activities for a few weeks and now you are keeping stress at a manageable level due to your proactive approach.In order to remain in balance, you must take action. You are responsible for your life.At any given time, you have the possibility to shift what is happening and create a harmonious situation.You must care for yourself.There are eight proactive steps to follow to ensure that you are taking care of yourself and reducing your levels of stress. When you implement these steps, you are on the way toward maintaining a balanced state.
Steps in Caring for Self
1. Set and Maintain Boundaries – It is up to you to set the boundaries you need to support a balanced life. If you need eight hours of sleep each night, don’t stay out late partying. Setting boundaries is one of the most powerful ways to control stress. We usually need to set boundaries with the people in our lives, which can be challenging. Therefore, many of us don’t set boundaries because we don’t want possible strife to arise. Don’t let people walk all over you. Be bold!
2. Eliminate Fear – Speak the Truth – So often we’re afraid of something or someone and we don’t say anything in situations where we ought to speak up. When this silence happens, we get down on ourselves for not speaking up which puts us in a stressful place. We’re often afraid to speak the truth of a situation for fear of the consequences for doing so. Keep fear in the background. Let your voice be heard!
3. Do What You Love To Do – Many of us get stuck in a job that doesn’t fulfill us. We stay with it because we need a paycheck or we’re afraid we won’t find something else. Being stuck in a no-win situation is very difficult and produces constant stress. If you can’t do what you love for a job, try to do what you love as a hobby or free time activity. Start a small business on the side or find extra free time to fulfill the need to follow what brings you joy and feeds your passion. Find a way to joy!
4. Believe in Yourself – No Put Downs – We are often our own worst enemy. If someone else doesn’t criticize what I’m doing, I will. This is very destructive behavior. Believe in yourself and the talents, skills and abilities that you possess. Do you really know how good you are at something? Acknowledge that you are talented in some area/s. Try to develop and utilize your areas of excellence. The better you feel about yourself the lower your stress level will be. Be proud of your accomplishments!
5. Recognize and Develop Your Uniqueness – Sometimes the stress in our lives comes from feeling odd or different. Each one of us possesses some unique characteristics that we’re either proud of or that we try to hide. If we feel negatively about our unique abilities, we will be hard on ourselves, which throws us out of balance. Remember that your uniqueness means that there is no one else like you on the earth. That’s pretty amazing!
6. Create and Manifest Your Dreams – We all have a vision for what we want our life to look like. We’ve been developing dreams since we were children. Adulthood is the time to bring those dreams and visions into reality. We do that through our jobs, in our free time, in conjunction with others or by ourselves. Most of us feel happy when we’re working to manifest our dreams. We feel balanced and in “the flow.” Find what makes you happy and fulfilled. Bring your dreams more fully into your life!
7. Allow Mistakes and Failures – None of us goes through life without making mistakes and failing. We are often devastated when we fail. If we focus only upon the negative nature of failure, we experience stress and imbalance. It’s not always easy to learn from our mistakes but they almost always have a message waiting for us. If we can move out of the feeling of failure and figure out the message, we’re on the road to feeling good about ourselves. Be brave
8. Empower Yourself in the Physical, Mental, Spiritual and Social/Emotional Areas- Take a serious look at how balanced or imbalanced your life is right now. If you are out of balance, commit to changing from that state to one of balance and harmony. Chart your activity for the next few weeks. Do you work at being balanced or do you just hope for the best? You are responsible for your own well being as well as how you handle stress in your life. Live a balanced life. Be proactive!
The human body and psyche constantly seek balance. Human beings are happier and their relationships are richer and more supportive when in a balanced state. People are most likely to successfully reach their goals when they live in balance. There are fewer conflicts in relationships. Physical and mental health achieves a peak level when in harmony. Our work is more productive and fulfilling and our quality of life is greatly improved when we are able to maintain a balanced state. We live longer when we are healthy, happy, fulfilled, involved in caring relationships and doing work for which we have a great passion. Balance is a good thing!