Happiness is a Balancing Act ~ Find Your Balance
Remember learning about levers and fulcrums? A fulcrum is a support that a lever rests on. Balance is a state of equilibrium – an equal distribution of weight. When an equal amount of weight is placed on each end of the lever, it balances. But if the objects placed on the lever are of different weights, one end drops down and the other raises up precariously, causing both objects to fall off.
So what does balance have to do with happiness? Imagine you are the fulcrum and your life is the lever. The objects placed on the lever are different aspects of your life. The aspects need to be equally weighted in order for you to live a balanced life. Finding balance means that we exercise each essential aspect of our being on a daily basis. That means that every day we strive to use our spiritual, physical, mental, social and financial gifts. Too little of anything creates stress, and too much of anything creates stress. Achieving balance is a key to achieving happiness.
How do we exercise each aspect of our beings on a daily basis when we have so many people, so many things pulling us in different directions? This is not an easy task. But if you begin each day with a plan, you are more likely to achieve your goal than if you don’t have a plan. Here’s how.
- Begin each day with some quiet time. Ten minutes is all you need. Read something spiritual or inspirational, and then take a minute or two to pray and meditate. You will soon find you feel more at peace. When meditating, think about the day ahead of you. What do you need to do? Not just in the way of work, but in the way of living.
- Look for ways to exercise the various aspects of your life. With just a little creativity, you will find ways to do this — and the rewards will be great! Don’t have time for physical exercise? That’s okay. You don’t need to spend an hour at the gym to exercise. You can park your car at the far end of the parking lot instead of in the spot closest to the building. You can take the stairs instead of the elevator. Do you find yourself stuck on a problem at work? Get up from your desk and walk to the water fountain or walk outside for a few minutes. You may find yourself “unstuck” when you sit back down at your desk. When you get home at night, you can take the dog for a walk. It all counts. You will soon find that you feel better, you are able to think more clearly, and you have more energy.
- Next, find a way to exercise your mind. In this age of information technology, this is so much easier than it used to be. Have a few minutes of down time at work? Go on line and look up something you have always wanted to learn. Play Sudoku. When you get home at night, don’t turn on the television, pick up a book. Enroll in an adult education class, or join a book club. If you follow one of these last two suggestions, you will be expanding your social network as well as exercising your mind. Humans are social beings. We are pack animals. We need people. We need people to stimulate us socially. Having 500 friends on Facebook is okay, but it isn’t a substitute for human contact. We need to interact socially with other people daily, especially if we live alone. You don’t have to be a social butterfly, either. Just make it a priority to reach out and connect with two people each day. Call a neighbor, go to church, take dancing lessons, joint the PTA, volunteer somewhere. You will soon find your dance card full and your energy elevated. Focus on the social aspect of your life as you do others and you will feel more alive than you ever thought possible.
- Last but not least, take control of your finances. Live within your means. We make choices every day about money, often without considering the consequences. Think about the way you handle your money. Create a budget and live within it. You don’t have to be Scrooge to live within your budget; you just need to be realistic. Save a little, spend a little. In a very short time, you will find that if you live within your budget, and spend less than you make, you won’t be worried about money any more.
How do we achieve balance? We achieve balance by striving every day to use our spiritual, physical, mental, social and financial gifts. And achieving balance is essential to achieving happiness.