Balance Yourself Back to Expert Status
Balance Yourself Back to Expert Status
Previously I introduced you to the 10 principles that I have identified as the pathways back to reclaiming your role as the expert of your life. The next 10 blogs will be dedicated to each one of these principles so that you may begin implementing them into your life NOW and start taking action steps towards living like an expert. This week I’ll talk about balance.
When I say Balance is one of the pathways back to your role as expert, I mean two things:
1) YOU must put the parts of your life into proper balance: physical, mental, emotional, spiritual, career, family, rest, play, work ….whatever it is you recognize as the parts of YOUR life, but they must attend to all aspects. If any of these words do not resonate with you: Change the words, but don’t neglect any dimension of your life. As a culture, we tend to ignore our spiritual lives, but we cannot continue to ignore this aspect of ourselves and still talk about whole person health and wellness. Spirituality does not have to be a dirty word. It simply means anything that connects you with the best parts of yourself and/or connects you with something beyond yourself. Spirituality could be racquetball for you. Does it make you lose yourself in the moment? Does it make you feel connected to something bigger than just yourself? Do you feel whole? If it does, then it’s spiritual.
I’m going to say this a lot because it will bear reminding: Remember this is YOUR life, not mine, not your mother’s, or your neighbors AND you are the expert of it, no one else. If you are going to start reclaiming your role as expert, you have to start taking charge. YOU assign the names to the key components that make up YOUR life and YOU make sure they are in balance; which leads us to part two.
2) Only you can decide what the proper balance is for you; that includes both the proper balance of all the components of your life, as well as the proper balance of the 10 principles that I am introducing to you. At times, you might find one of these principles weighing in heavier than another. That’s okay. Remember you are the expert, you decide where to focus your attention. You will know if you need to put your energy into establishing daily rituals or taking action steps or building community. YOU decide what Balance means to YOU and which pathways are more pressing for you at the time.
We are all individuals. So, while we all need work and play to stay balanced and healthy, what that balance looks like is going to be different for each of us based on our personalities, our biology, our preferences, our innate activity levels etc… What works for me may not work for you. My work/family life balance is mine and it may not be yours. You might be heavier on the need to work or heavier on the need for family. You need to figure this out as part of finding your balance in life.
Balance is often a major focus of my work with clients. Why? Because many of our disruptions in life are caused by an imbalance; whether it is mental, emotional, physical, spiritual or social, something has rocked the boat and now we are unsettled. We are seeking equilibrium, we are trying to regain our balance. Creating balance in our lives is a key pathway back to ourselves because our bodies, minds, and souls need to be in equilibrium in order for us to function at our best AND we are the only ones who know what the right balance is for us.
Here are some exercises to begin regaining balance in your life:
1. Begin to label the parts of your life that are prominent, dominant, and important to you. I think it is important that they also reflect your physical, mental, emotional, and spiritual health, but you don’t have to use those words. Sports could be a label for you that may reflect your physical health, but may also meet your spiritual needs as well. You get to define your life. The important thing is to recognize all aspects of your life that need tending to, so that you can evaluate if something needs your attention or if some part of your life is getting too much attention. I recommend taking a piece of paper and folding it into 4-6 squares and then labeling each as an important component of your life. I think more than 6 becomes too cumbersome to manage. You might then list all the things that fall into those categories or you might just contemplate where you stand for each category and how you are feeling. Are you feeling satisfied, rejuvenated, and fulfilled? If not, what needs to change? What is out of balance? Where do you need to focus your attention? Carry this sheet of paper with you and reflect on it from time to time. If you are feeling uncomfortable, agitated, or restless during the day, take a look at it and see if you can do something to restore your balance. Observe what is disrupting your equilibrium and see if you can make a shift.
2. Choose an image that serves as a metaphor for balance in your life. Perhaps it’s the iconic scales. Or perhaps it’s something more personal and meaningful. For me, it’s the image of a still body of water at sunrise. Create an image in your mind of balance. Now, replicate that image either by creating your own artwork or by finding a picture of it and keep it in a place that will remind you to make balance a focus in your life.
3. According to dictionary.com Balance can be defined as:
· A state of equilibrium
· Something used to produce equilibrium
· Mental steadiness or emotional stability; habit of calm behavior, judgment, etc.
Create your own personalized definition of balance: what it means to you and perhaps what it would look like in your life. Write it down and keep it with you. Make a habit to read it at the start of each day or at some other scheduled time that will remind you to focus on balance.
4. Observe your thoughts and challenge those that disrupt your equilibrium, your balance. Watch out for “all or nothing” thinking, “either/or” thoughts (see previous blog, The Power of AND), and “shoulds.” These types of thoughts tend to derail our balance by judging our actions, setting unrealistic expectations and ignoring the laws of nature: that everything exists in relation to its opposite.
5. When in doubt, listen to the words of my father, “Everything in moderation, including moderation.”
Pick one or two of these suggestions and give them a try for 30 days and see if you feel more balanced, experience increased equanimity, or feel more calm and steadfast. Feel free to let me know how you did.