Live a balanced life

Imagine a tightrope walker in a circus. He is on a rope suspended a few feet above the straw covered floor. His purpose is to walk the rope from one end to other. He holds a long bar in his hands to help him maintain his balance. But he must do more than simply walk. On his shoulders he balances a chair. And in that chair sits a young woman who is balancing a rod on her forehead, and on top of that rod is a plate.

If at any time one of the items should start to drift off balance, he must stop until he can get all of them in perfect alignment again—for the tightrope artist doesn’t begin until all the elements above him are aligned. Only then does he move forward, carefully, slowly, across the rope.

Life is very much a balancing act, and we are always just a step away from a fall. We are constantly trying to move forward with our purpose, to achieve our goals, all the while trying to keep in balance the various elements of our lives.

If any aspect of our life draws a disproportionate amount of energy, we have to shortchange the other aspects. That throws us off—and we are unable to move forward on life’s tightrope until a balance can be reestablished. We have to deal with any areas that are taking too much energy and put them in perspective, align them, so that we have energy available for all areas.

It’s important to understand that others cannot do this for us. No one can think, breathe, feel, see, experience, love or die for us. It’s up to us to balance all the different aspects of our lives. We just have to decide to do it.

How? What’s the first step? To stop and assess how we’re doing. To look at all the various aspects of our lives that we are constantly juggling, constantly trying to keep in balance—marriage and family, money, health, social circles, spiritual development, mental growth.

Are we able to devote ample energy to all areas? Or are we tipped to one side, unbalanced in one direction? Here’s how to balance it all out:

1. Assess your life as it is now.

Looking at ourselves as we really are is the first step in restructuring our lives. Do you feel physically exhausted, mentally stagnant or find yourself without close relationships? Would you call yourself a workaholic? Do you feel a lack of spiritual alignment? If you answer yes to any of these questions, your life is probably out of balance.

2. Make a conscious decision to become balanced.

Choosing reality as our basis of decision is the second step to becoming balanced. Achieving balance allows us to reach our goals and our purpose in life while creating less stress to do so. A conscious decision to change is now in order.

3. And make that decision on a minute-to-minute schedule.

We are all instant forgetters. Remember all those resolutions you made way back in January? Renewing our decisions on a daily, minute-to-minute basis allows us to ease into change, instead of expecting things to change overnight.

4. Set goals in every area of your life.

Set realistic goals in all areas of your life to assist yourself in remembering that your ultimate goal is balance. Your goals should cover:

• Your relationships
• Your physical being
• Your spiritual alignment
• Your mental development
• Your job
• Your finances

5. Be willing to take the risk.

Being willing to assess ourselves and take the risk to change will not only enhance our lives, but you will feel more energy and an expanded awareness of what life is all about. Acknowledging that balance is essential and recreating your life to encompass your decision is worth all the risk.

6. Make time to reassess yourself on a daily basis.

None of us can really know how well we are doing with change in our lives unless we are willing to reassess our position. Don’t feel that your decisions are made in concrete; if something feels that it isn’t working, be willing to look at a new decision. Make time for yourself every day, in a quiet meditative state, to relax and “check yourself out.”

Mark Victor Hansen is an author, TV personality and co-founder of the Chicken Soup for the Soul Series.

Five Ways to Prevent Burnout and Live a Balanced Life

I’m back! I hope you had a lovely Thanksgiving. My invited research presentation in England went super well and I had a great trip to Italy—amazing places. Today we’re going to talk about five ways to prevent burnout. Four of them have to do with living a balanced life.

Sharpen the Saw: Live a Balanced Life

Physical Health

Our normal work does not require much in the way of physical requirements, in fact, we’re pretty sedentary. In Publish and Prosper, I point out that “Putting off adequate physical exercise will catch up to you both in the short term and in the long run. In the short term, physical exercise is always worth the time that it takes because it helps relieve stress (for a review, see Salmon, 2001) and helps your mind to more effectively process information. In the long run, keeping your body in shape will extend your life and the time you have to pursue your career goals” (p. 67). Here are some ideas for fitting exercise into a busy schedule:

2. Use university health facilities. Chances are that you are paying for these amazing gyms, why not use them. You could bring a book or article to read as you do a cardio workout.

3. Get enough sleep. If you are sleep deprived, you probably aren’t working to your capacity. Doctors recommend 7-8 hours.

4. Pack a lunch. You will be amazed at how much money you can save and how much healthier you will eat if you regularly pack a lunch to work. Make sure to include some fruit and veggies in your lunch.

Intellectual Stimulation

You are probably already doing a lot to work your mind. However, don’t limit yourself to just your area of research focus or even your particular field of study. You’ll be a much more interesting conversation partner and will keep your mind sharp with new ideas through audio books or podcasts. You can keep up on current events and burn through several books that will help you improve yourself and your perspective all while exercising, commuting, cleaning, or doing other mundane tasks that you needed to do anyway. Your public library will be an excellent resource and you can also download books that are in the public domain for free through sources such as LibriVox. Keep reading both within and outside your discipline.

Self-Introspection

According to Socrates “The unexamined life is not worth living.” Take some time each week for reflection and self-introspection. This could include journaling, going out in nature, meditating, praying or reading religious texts (if you are religious), or doing some other activity that will help you engage in self-introspection. Looking at the broader picture of your life will keep you going and pay huge dividends.

Social Interaction

Research can be very isolating at times and we all need to recharge our batteries by regular interactions with people who care about us. You may consider joining a volunteer organization to both broaden your social network and provide you with a meaningful way to serve other human beings. Consider building your talents and gifts while interacting with others by joining a public speaking club (www.Toastmasters.com), a sports teams, or a choir, taking art or music classes, etc. These types of opportunities can enrich you both personally and socially. Finally, remember that close friends and family members spell love T-I-M-E. Just as a garden will wither and die without water and attention, your most important relationships will not last without your time and attention. Nobody on their deathbed ever wished that they’d spent more time at the office.

Keeping up with your physical, mental, self-introspective, and social needs will be worth the time you invest and will refresh you and keep you going on your career path!

Celebrate Your Victories

Sometimes we are so focused on the next goal that we fail to adequately celebrate the great milestones of achievement we have made. In Publish and Prosper I write, “When you celebrate your achievements, it is like waving a large carrot in front of your subconscious, which can then help push you on to even greater heights of accomplishment” (p. 73). Conversely, when we fail to celebrate our accomplishments we can often lose our drive and get burned out. Make it an extremely pleasant experience next time to reach your next milestone and you’ll find yourself motivated to continue to strive for more.

Space is limited in a blog, but in my book I go into a lot more detail on each of these points and also discuss how attending academic conferences can do a lot to prevent burnout for three key reasons. On Thursday I will discuss the power both in being mentored and being a good mentor and how you can excel in both roles.

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Having balance in life is very important. Working too much and always being on the go can be detrimental for you. Likewise, being lazy and ignoring responsibility can make it hard to achieve your goals. In this article on living a balanced lifestyle, you’ll learn about 8 tips you can apply to live a balanced life and how to find the right balance in life.

Becoming better as a person, or becoming better in a certain interest can be overwhelming. Balancing new information, past experiences, and the rest of your life can be difficult.

Balance is something I think about most these days when looking to live a fulfilling life.

Being balanced in life can help solve so many problems.

I ask myself, “am I in balance or do I need to reassess where I’m at in my life? Do I need to take a break, or should I push through?”

How to live a balanced life and how to find the right balance in life is hard, but can be done with the right guidance and patience.

What I’ve learned is balance is incredibly important in life, and in this post, I’ll be sharing with you why balance is so important, how to find the right balance in life, and 8 tips you can use to create more balance in your life.

Finding The Right Balance is Very Important for Success

Balance is one of the most important things to create in your life. This may be obvious, but having the right balance is very hard to do in practice.

For example, too much work will result in becoming burnt out.

Too much play will result in no work getting done.

Spending too much time with friends could lead to a lack of identity.

Spending too much time alone could lead to loneliness and one way of thought.

Too much sleep can lead to a number of health issues.

Too little sleep and your energy and work will suffer from lack of clarity and focus.

Doing too much exercise will lead to overuse injuries, and sitting on the couch all day will lead to small muscles and droopy skin.

You probably know the saying, too much of a good thing can be a bad thing? Well that’s what we are talking about here 🙂

Balance is key and important in life because with many things, being extreme is typically a detriment to living our lives the right way.

Many of these things we know, but don’t take action to find the right balance.

The Many Areas Where Balance Can Be Ruined

While it might be impossible to be completely balanced in life, there are many areas, some of which we’ve touched on earlier, where balance could be ruined.

Being completely balanced in life is almost impossible, but these areas can give us a better picture of what to focus on if we want to find balance in life.

The areas where you need to focus on balance the most are the following:

  • Being Out of Balance at Work
    • Getting yelled at by your boss, working 80 hour weeks, or not having work at all might not be the best for your long term well being.
    • Balance at work is having time for development, some busy times, some fun times, and opportunities to do what you want with your time (as ultimately, you spend more hours at your job than you probably do anything else other than sleep!)
  • Being Out of Balance in Our Sleep
    • Always being tired, because you go to bed too late, or sleeping in every day might not be optimal. Over time, over and under sleeping can take a toll on your body and mind.
    • While on the weekends, it is nice to sleep in once and a while, doing so every day can affect your focus and productivity.
    • Likewise, too little sleep, and you really will be dragging!
  • Being Out of Balance in Our Health and Exercise
    • This might be an obvious one: sit on the couch all day, and you’ll quickly find yourself out of shape. Work out all day, and you may get injured from overuse.
    • A balance between activity and rest will lead to a healthy lifestyle.
  • Being Out of Balance in Our Eating Habits
    • Another seemingly obvious one: eat only junk food, and you’ll get a stomach ache. Eat too much, and you’ll start to put on pounds. Eat too little, and you’ll lose muscle. What about too healthy? Eating too healthy… well, some things can be good in moderation!
  • Being Out of Balance in Our Relationships
    • Sometimes it’s great to see your friends, and sometimes to great to be alone.
    • If you are with your friends all the time, work and responsibility will be put aside.
    • If you spend a lot of time alone, sometimes that will keep you narrow minded and not in touch with reality. There’s a lot of world to see out there people!

Like I said above, there are many things in life we need to balance, and this is just the start to finding the right balance for a great life.

Finding balance is an exercise in self-awareness and knowing where you are in life.

I’m going to share with you where I am in my life with my thoughts and actions, and then will talk about the tips for you to find balance in life.

Finding Balance and Trying to Live a Balanced Life

Over the past few years, I’ve been trying to find balance in my life in my work, my play, my exercise, my diet, my sleep, and my hustles.

Recently, I’ve been thinking a lot about balance in my work and play, and also in my sleep.

I’m pretty busy, with a few side hustles, and a day job.

During this past winter, I got into a habit of going to bed between 11:30 and 1, and getting up at 8 am, right before scrambling off to work. With the usual winter morning darkness, I struggled to wake up at any time earlier than 7 (even if I went to bed early), and decided that it would be better for me to stay up later and sleep in.

Now, I’m finding that with the sun coming in at 5 am, I’m able to wake up if I need to, and also sleep in if I please.

Some days, if I’m really busy, I’ll get up at 5 am. Other days, if I’m tired, I’ll sleep in and get up around 7:30 or 8. I’ve found a balance between more sleep and less sleep.

Similarly, I’ve found a balance in my diet and exercise, where I eat well most of the time, and exercise a few times a week. With this, I’ve stayed relatively in shape, and am still able to play pick-up sports and not be too tired.

I’m sure you have some of the same thoughts about activities in your life.

You want to become a Rich? Drop the 9 to 5 and Start Working 95

About a year ago, I came across an interesting article talking about Grant Cardone, a super salesman, entrepreneur, and millionaire. In the article, he says, “Most people work 9 to 5. I work 95 hours (per week). If you ever want to be a millionaire, you need to stop doing the 9 to 5 and start doing 95.”

This quote has stuck with me ever since, if wealth accumulation is my goal, then it’s crucial for me to start putting in more and more hours to get to this goal.

I want to become financially independent. At the end of the day, ultimate failure to me is not being able to support myself and my family.

If I could have 1 thing in life, the ability to provide for my family is the only thing I could ever ask for.

As my wealth and abilities grow, my tune has started to change. I feel very confident I can become rich without sacrificing as much in the short term.

I can sleep 8 hours, exercise, see friends, and still reach my goals.

My mindset towards grinding has changed through reflection and reading.

My friend Matt, the founder of Optimize Your Life, talks a lot about finding balance in life. Matt says,

“If we want both success and happiness, we need to make sure to give attention to all of the different areas of our lives. We cannot ignore our marriage to further our career success. We cannot ignore our health to have more time for our relationships. Ignoring our finances to further our friendships will not lead to success.”

I’m trying to find balance in my life right now. I have my goals and my purpose. There’s so much I want to experience, to learn, and to do.

At the same time though, I need to be cognizant of what is also important to me: my relationships, my health, and my finances.

Now, I want to discuss an interesting topic: the pressure of expectations.

How to Deal with Expectations When Trying to Find Balance

In a number of conversations I’ve been having with friends about their thoughts on their goals, I’ve been bringing up balance and trying to discuss the expectations around the situation.

When I set out to do something, a lot of it is from within and what I want to do with my life. Maybe I’m a little bit of a rebel, but these days I try to stay grounded and not influenced by outside opinions or expectations.

I stand up for what I believe in, and stand down for things I need more information on.

With some of the struggles of balance I’ve been learning about with others around me, I try to understand a little more and ask if the struggles are coming from the inside or outside.

Are you driven from within to go and accomplish your goals, OR are you driven to accomplish your goals because you are trying to impress others and make other people happy?

I’ve found that rarely will looking to impress others leads to a happy and fulfilling life.

At the same time though, at work, there are tasks I have to get done for others and I’ll do those happily because my paycheck helps me achieve my financial goals.

After figuring out if the pressure is internal or external, you can start to go down the question rabbit hole.

If the pressures are external, is there anything you can change about the situation to reduce this pressure? Could you change jobs? Change scenery? Is the community you are surrounding yourself with the right community?

If the pressures are internal, why are you expecting so much out of yourself? Could you do more? Are your priorities in the right place? Are there things you could be doing which would allow you to work smarter, not harder?

Starting with this question can help with the question of how to balance your life to better align your actions with a less stressful and more fulfilling experience.

Now, let’s get into the tips for creating balance and living a balanced life.

8 Ways You Can Find Balance in your Work and Leisure

Are you looking for more balance in your life? Are you looking for the right balance for happiness and success in your life?

Here are 8 steps you can take to live a more balanced life and to find balance in your life:

  1. Breathe and relax
  2. Figure out what’s important to you
  3. Take actions to reduce noise in your life
  4. Become more self-aware and understand yourself
  5. Understand the purpose of setting goals
  6. Let things go
  7. Understand progress takes time and it’s okay to take breaks
  8. Live life at your own pace and adjust over time

Let’s dive into each of these 8 balanced living tips below.

1. Take a deep breath

First, take a deep breath and collect yourself. Everyone gets stressed out from time to time, and that’s okay.

Breathing allows you to slow down, get your bearings, and relax.

Your brain needs air to think and process information! Give your brain what it needs! 🙂

By relaxing, breathing and slowing down, you can then start to think rationally and game plan to achieve the balance in your life that you want.

2. Figure out what’s important to you

Next, it’s important to figure out what matters to you, and to assess where you are in your life right now.

What’s causing the imbalance in your life right now? What would your life look like if you were in balance? How would you feel?

Figuring out what is important to you and aligning your actions with your goals and wants is something I think is a necessary ingredient to happiness and fulfillment.

3. Take Actions to Reduce Noise in Your Life

Many times when we get out of balance, it’s because we have taken on too many things with work, at home, or with friends.

Reducing noise can help you focus and allow you to not be distracted or overwhelmed with negativity and stress.

For me, I’ve removed noise by not watching the news or TV, by unsubscribing to marketing emails, and through spending time only on things I want to do.

What makes you happiest? How are you spending your time? Is your time being spent in a way which brings you happiness, or is it being blocked by other things in your life?

By reducing noise, you can start to do more of the things you like, and spend less time on the things you don’t like.

4. Become More Self Aware will Lead to What You Want in Life

After you’ve taken a deep breath, reduced noise, and came up with a thought for what you want in life, now it’s time to make some adjustments.

Self awareness, maturity, emotional intelligence – all of these things develop over time and have been a constant struggle for me.

There are times where I get wrapped up in a conversation and all of a sudden, I lose focus for a second and get annoyed by some minor comment or action. I’m sure there have been times where you’ve had a similar experience.

It’s tough to always be on and present in the moment but can be worked on.

Similarly, I’ve had experiences where I’m so focused on getting my work done and I lose track of time. All of a sudden, an hour later, I notice I’ve been sitting for a few hours straight – something not good for my health.

Or if I’m exhausted and keep pushing. It’s okay to take a break and sometimes very necessary! There’s no point in pushing through exhaustion if it will lead to a cold or the flu.

If the people around you can’t handle you taking a break when necessary, then maybe it’s time to surround yourself with other people (people with demanding and unrelenting bosses, I’m looking at you 😉 )

My point with this post is to focus again on that it’s okay to relax and have a break from the grind. Of course, action is important, but again, balance is what will lead to great success.

5. Understand the Purpose of Goals

I want success in my career and finances at a relatively younger age, and through these overarching thought, I’m someone with a lot of goals and ambition.

Some of my goals are a little over the top, and if I don’t hit one, sometimes I feel down.

That being said, here’s the thing: life happens. It’s okay if I miss a goal, or a sub-goal.

Goals are so incredibly essential for someone who wants success.

One of my main mantras and principles which I live my life by is “simple daily actions and disciplines WILL result in massive success over time”.

Do some sort of exercise each day and I’ll be fit.

Read each day and I’ll grow my knowledge base.

With this philosophy in hand, ideas become actions. Actions become habits. Habits become my or your life.

At the same time, it’s okay to take a break if you need it.

Going 100 miles an hour to get to some arbitrary mark or goal might not be the most beneficial or sustainable if it’s going to rob you of your energy, time, health, relationships, or focus.

It’s okay to take a break. It’s okay to not always be on with your A game.

6. Let The Little Things Go

Speaking a little more generally here, it’s okay to not always be on in terms of personality, exercise, relationships, money or work.

One of the keys to my success has been the ability to let things go and move on to other things that matter.

Some people might call this apathy, but the ability to simply shrug things off is a great ability to have.

There are so many triggers out there waiting to get you… social media notifications, controversial news headlines, an accidental bump by a passing stranger…

The other week after work, I was walking to my bus. To my left, there was the patio of a bar downtown and to the right, the tall office building.

Up ahead, I saw a guy walking and talking on his phone. The interesting part here was he was talking on his phone and walking backwards on a busy sidewalk.

As we got closer, I was minding my own business just going to my bus. We ended up bumping shoulders a little bit because the sidewalk was tight.

After a few seconds, I was crossing the street with a bunch of other downtown walkers and I hear, “Hey! Watch where you are f***ing going you b****!”

I could have turned around and yelled back. Maybe I should’ve said something first.

I just kept walking and didn’t let it bother me. It was after work, I just wanted to get home safe, and if someone bumps into me on accident, I’m not going to get worked up over it.

While obviously that guy should’ve been watching where he was going, accidents happen. Recognizing accidents or random meaningless things are happening to you and being able to move on is a great skill to have.

There are many things we can’t control in life, but also many things we can control.

7. Understand Progress and Finding Balance Takes Time

Nobody is an overnight success.

Things take time to develop and take shape.

Working through the struggle and working towards balance will take time, but it definitely will be worth it 🙂

As I’ve looked to simplify my life a little more, I had a thought which I’m going to share with you now: you can take a break if you need one.

There’s a quote I’m sure you know: Rome wasn’t built in a day.

Your six-pack and dream body is not going to get created from 100 push-ups done 1 day.

You probably aren’t going to become a millionaire in the next month.

Just by mindset, you might not be able to overcome your fear of public speaking.

However, do 100 push-ups for 30 days in a row, and you’ll see progress. Save and invest $500 a month for 20 years, and you’ll be close to a million dollars. Practicing your public speaking over time will lead to more confidence.

Things take time, and being patient will lead to you feeling good about your progress.

8. Live Life at Your Own Pace

Finally, it’s important to live life at your own pace if you want a balanced life.

When looking out into the world, it seems that everyone is going one million miles an hour and you need to do the same.

Even though I’m someone who prefers taking action and getting out into the world, first, it’s important to start by asking and understanding what YOU love doing and what will bring YOU joy.

You and I only have one life (as cliche as that is, it’s true).

The key to balance is living life at your own pace.

Figuring out that pace might be a little bit rough at first, but it will be worth it for living a fulfilling life.

There is absolutely NO reason why this should make you feel like you should live at a faster pace (if that’s what you want).

If you want to take it easy on a weekend, do it! Splurge on that ice cream shop down the street! Do what’s necessary to keep you sane and happy!

At the same time, if you are goal driven and want to live intentionally, then it’s important to get back to work after you’ve had your fun.

Balance is so critical in life for leading a fulfilling and happy life. Balance in all areas (relationships, work, money, stress, etc.) can be managed, but will require you to turn inward and seek the truth from within your powerful mind and spirit.

What’s important? What isn’t important? What makes you happiest?

Balance has been on my mind and will continue to be on my mind. I’ll figure it out and I hope you will too.

While you can be successful without balance, it will be very tough to sustain that success as a large wind can blow you off the balance beam at any time.

Figure out what’s important to you and look to find balance between work and play, friends and alone time, creation and consumption, healthy food, exercise, and junk food.

Find Balance in Life and Live a Fulfilling and Great Life

Now, it’s time to take actions to figure out what’s important to you and how you can reduce the noise of what’s bothering you to let the signal come through.

Take a deep breath and collect yourself. Everyone gets stressed out in life from time to time (and that’s okay).

What’s causing the imbalance in your life right now? What would your life look like if you were in balance? How would you feel?

Many times when we get out of balance, it’s because we have taken on too many things with work, at home, or with friends.

Out of these things, what’s important? Is there anything you could remove to get back your time and energy for what matters?

After reducing the noise in your life, think back to what what’s most important to you and your life. Focus in on what makes you happiest, and you’ll start getting back into balance.

Unfortunately, this process may take a few weeks.

Rarely will things happen overnight.

Maturity and patience is required here as things take time to develop and take shape. Working through the struggle will be worth it though 🙂

Readers: how do you keep balance in your life? How do you decompress? Do you find there needs to be a balance between work and play, friends time and alone time, and creation vs. consumption?

Erik

About the Author

Balance. It can be a tricky thing to find. On the one hand, it can seem liberating—making sure to fit more personal and family time into the week or indulging in a great meal here or there sounds great. For some, it can feel limiting. Sacrificing a cheeseburger for a salad doesn’t always sound like the most fun thing to do.

Internist Simran Grover, MD, of UCHealth Longs Peak Hospital shared some tips on how to strike a balance, not only on our plates but in our lives as well.

You may wonder, what does “balance” mean in practice? Not surprisingly, a balanced life looks different for everyone. But the repercussions of not balancing your life look similar for most people: stress.

Studies show that moderate stress is healthy for you. This type of stress is called eustress. When your stress levels tip over from eustress to distress, it can jeopardize your health. Too much stress in your life can lead to heart disease, respiratory problems, accidental injuries and even suicide. In other words, living a balanced life is integral to optimal health.

Dr. Grover describes the concept of balance as an octopus. “You put you in the center. Then you have all these tentacles that would include work life, family life, friends and a support system, hobbies, medical problems, and then exercise, sleep and meals. A balanced life cannot be successful or healthy if any one of these aspects is off,” she says.

The Practice of Balance

Practice is a good word when it comes to living a balanced life because it takes time and practice to get there. You don’t have to address all parts of your life at once. Grover says the first step to creating a balanced life is to reflect on the important things and take note of which aspects need attention. Is it that you’re not getting enough sleep? Has it been a while since you’ve seen a doctor? The next steps toward creating a balanced life include:

Set manageable goals.

For example, if you need to get more sleep, try turning off the TV or your electronic device a half hour early so you can go to sleep and get up earlier. Getting up earlier can give you more time in the day to tackle more things, which can free up time for self-care.

Set boundaries between work life and family life.

“A big problem with lots of people is that work consumes them, and they don’t have time for these other things,” explains Grover. Scheduling a date night with your spouse to check out a new restaurant or taking your family to a film festival can help make sure your family life gets equal billing with your work life.

See your doctor.

Health is an important part of creating a happy, balanced life. Make sure to schedule regular doctor visits for yourself, and not just your children or other people in your family. Seeing your primary care doctor regularly can help prevent health problems from developing or getting worse.

Take care of yourself.

You can’t take care of your family or focus on your work if you’re burnt out and rundown. Do something just for you if not daily then several times a week whether it’s taking a yoga class, going for a walk or just sleeping in.

Indulge, in moderation.

If binge-watching your favorite TV show gives you pleasure, then indulge for a day — or two. But balance that indulgence with reading, visiting a friend or exercise. Watching TV for hours every day is not a balanced way of consuming media and may leave you with little time to address other important parts of your life. If you love cheesecake, for example, by all means, have a slice now and then, but try to go for a walk after your meal or indulge your sweet tooth next time with berries.

So, whether you’re heading out to enjoy something delicious at Longmont Restaurant Week or finding yourself knee-deep in a big project at work, remember to find your own balance. Don’t guilt yourself over the delicious plate in front of you. Remember to take breaks during your work sessions.

Find your balance, and you’ll find yourself happier and healthier, no matter what you’re doing.

Life’s a Journey….Strive for Balance

At it’s core, The Balanced Life is a Health and Wellness company looking to inspire and support transformational life change. As a practicing physician, Dr. Rosas is taking his experience in the Medical Field and journey in life and is looking to inspire and encourage change for people to become the best version of themselves.

Dr. Rosas is board certified in Family Medicine and is currently a practicing physician in the Emergency Room. His journey in medicine has taken him from medical school, residency and an MBA in Healthcare Leadership in Kansas City, Missouri, to Hawaii to complete a Geriatric Fellowship, and then back in Missouri to practice for a few years and now in sunny Scottsdale, Arizona. Through this varied and unique experience, years of training, and tens of thousands of patient encounters he has helped heal, treat, and touch many lives. Even though he has found great satisfaction in this he is looking to circle back to his original mission of wanting to help others; not just when they are sick and ill and end up in his Emergency Room but when they want to become healthier and move toward thriving versus just surviving.

He is expanding into coaching and the Health and Wellness space to further connect with people outside of the exam and emergency room and empower others to make lasting conscious change.

Human Potential Coaching facilitates this change as it puts the client in the driver seat to take control of his or her life and upgrade their mind, body, and energy.

Human Potential Coaching encompasses:

  • Life Coaching
  • Health Coaching
  • Personal Development Coaching
  • Performance Coaching

The Balanced Life encourages this change through 5 main areas

Live a Balanced Life: Mental Health

Live a Balanced Life: Mental Health

To complete my series on living a balanced life this year, I hope that you have could find some simple, helpful information to improve areas of your life that you may have previously ignored. While I believe that choosing the right areas to improve is relative, your personal happiness relies on two things: your choice to live a happy life, and keeping your life balanced physically, emotionally, mentally, and socially.

To live mentally balanced often involves doing several of the things we have already discussed among the other areas of your life that need nurturing. Sleeping enough (but not too much), eating well, and exercise are all things we are encouraged to do for our physical health, but it greatly impacts our mental health as well. Developing healthy relationships, having stimulating conversations, and communicating your boundaries are socially healthy habits that also impact our mental health. Almost anything you can do for yourself emotionally also impacts your mental health.

So here are some suggestions for maintaining your mental health specifically this year.

Practice Mindfulness

We’ve talked about mindfulness before, but I want to reiterate the importance of this habit as a way to improve your mental health. When you are eating dinner, taking a shower, or talking to a friend, practice mindfulness. Be completely in the moment just eating dinner, just showering, just talking to your friend (or just listening is even better!) This practice trains your brain to be able to focus on one thing at a time instead of constantly thinking about what you are doing next. You will become more productive and improve your memory. Some added benefits will be that you will learn to pay more attention to your surroundings and how your body is reacting to triggers, helping you to redirect and retrain those situations to no longer act as triggers. Mindfulness is a way to reconnect to what is going on right now. It is becoming a very common practice and you will likely benefit in many ways from it. Simply google “mindfulness” and I don’t doubt that you will be able to find the right explanation that will fit your ability and situations.

Make a Plan to Learn Something New

Learning new things is one of the best (and most fun!) ways to strengthen your mental health. Use sites like coursera.com or khanacademy.com where you can choose from hundreds of courses from established universities for free. I have personally taken classes on child nutrition and the science of immunizations just because I was curious and I was very happy with how interesting the courses were as well as the quality of what I learned. If you aren’t much of an online learner, look into courses offered by your community or parks and recreation centers. These options can provide you with a myriad of classes that you can also use to connect with other people in your community. If you aren’t able or willing to spend money, you can also consider book clubs or sometimes even courses offered by your local library that are free. If taking a class doesn’t seem interesting but you want to learn a new skill, there are thousands of do-it-yourself videos on Youtube.com. Your possibilities are endless.

Disconnect Everyday

Exclusive of taking an online class, take some time every day to disconnect from your phones or computers to walk in nature or just spend some time alone to reflect or meditate. Some research has shown that children who spend too much time every day watching TV or playing on phones or tablets tend to have difficulty regulating their emotions and exhibit higher likelihoods of developing ADD or ADHD. If that occurs in children, I imagine that the same goes for adults. While I don’t believe in completely doing away with screens, I do think that regulating your time is one way to live a healthy and balanced life.

Lifeline Connections is dedicated to helping you this year by providing outstanding inpatient and outpatient services to aid you in your full recovery. We offer services for co-occurring disorders, as well as inpatient services such as pet therapy and an exercise room. If you live in the Vancouver, WA or Portland, OR areas and you or a loved one are struggling with drug use, please contact us at or 360-397-8246 ext 7465. We are here to discuss our options and dedication to helping you live a clean and fulfilling life.

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What is a balanced life?

When you are living with balance in your life, you are living with peace and harmony every day. Balance comes in physical forms, emotional forms, and a spiritual form. Being in balance may mean something different to each individual. For me, having a balanced life means creating time for the things I have to do, as well as the things I like to do. We must all eat and sleep each day. Many of us must also work. Some go to school. It is up to each of us to create harmony between our life responsibilities while finding time daily, or weekly, to participate in activities that bring us pleasure, personal fulfillment, and rejuvenation. Eating healthy and finding time to do some form of physical exercise on a routine basis creates physical balance in our bodies. Adequate rest and sleep are also necessary for our bodies to rejuvenate and feel refreshed so we are able to take on other activities in our lives.
Balance also means making time for friends and family. This is part of our emotional balance. Having a support system is important and makes us feel cared for and loved, knowing there is someone else that cares about our wellbeing. It is also a good feeling to be supportive for another person that you love and care for. It becomes an equal relationship of giving and receiving, offering equal emotional balance. When a relationship is in balance, the circle of giving and receiving is complete. When this happens you know you have been blessed with a loving and caring person in your life that also recognizes the need for balance. Cherish and appreciate this person always.
It is also important to find quiet and down time as well as fun and playful time. Quiet or down time allows us to rejuvenate and refocus. This becomes our spiritual balance. Your body, mind, and spirit need time to refuel. Take some down time each day to reflect on the things that are important to you. Refuel your soul. This can be done in the form of yoga, meditation, or by simply just being quiet while listening to relaxing music. Use this time to reconnect with your inner spirit. Connect with your self-love and your appreciation for all that you have. You could also use this time to visualize your desires. This will create peace for you within your day and remind you who you really are and what is important.

How To Lead a Well-Balanced Life

Everyone longs to be healthy and happy. After all, what’s the point in working hard toward a long and healthy life if you can’t enjoy it? While focusing on a healthy lifestyle by exercising and eating right is great for your body, balanced living means protecting your mental and emotional health, too. And stress reduction needs to be at the top of your to-do list.

Balanced Living: Making the Commitment

Balanced living means considering all aspects of your life: relationships, work, fitness and health, and emotional well-being.

We all get bogged down with work and family responsibilities from time to time, but making time for yourself is necessary so that you can keep up with all your responsibilities. All batteries get run down, even yours. So recharge your body physically and mentally and make the commitment to enjoy some “you time” every day.

Balanced Living: Boosting Happiness and Creativity

Being happy gives you a better outlook on life, so you’re more prepared to tackle your tasks. Stress, on the other hand, can keep you from enjoying life and can have a negative impact on your health. Research also has shown that stress can stifle creativity.

Make time to take care of yourself and indulge in creative outlets you enjoy to help with stress reduction:

  • Schedule time each week to allow yourself to de-stress, and spend a few minutes on relaxation each day.
  • Get up a few minutes early in the morning to savor a cup of coffee and some quiet time before everyone else wakes up.
  • Make daily activities more fun — try a new ethnic recipe for dinner, take a long aromatherapy soak instead of a quick shower, or listen to new music or learn a new language while you commute to work.
  • Devote time each week to a hobby you love or to learning a new one you’ve always wanted to try; art classes in particular are stimulating and rewarding.
  • Instead of just sitting at your desk and gobbling down lunch while you keep working, spend your lunch hour doing things you enjoy, like going for a walk, taking an exercise break, or reading a book.
  • Don’t forget to laugh. It’s great for your health and can help:
    • Alleviate stress
    • Fight off infections
    • Boost brain health
    • Lower blood pressure
    • Improve your mood

Balanced Living: Enjoying Exercise for Good Health

Exercise isn’t something you should force yourself to do, or you won’t be likely to stick with. Do something that you like and look forward to doing, instead of another chore that you’ll be tempted to skip. Remember that exercise plays a huge role in stress reduction, so make time and motivate yourself for exercise by:

  • Making a good long workout part of your weekend plans. Hit the gym or plan a fun activity — go for a hike, bike ride, or play a game of golf or tennis.
  • Sneaking in some exercise on your lunch hour at work, or get up earlier and work out before you start your day.
  • Scheduling appointments for exercise just like you do other important tasks; commit the plan to paper so you’ll be more motivated to stick with it.

Balanced Living: Making Time to Eat Right

The right diet will keep your body healthy, give you energy, and boost your spirits. Healthy food can be delicious, and it’s fun learning new recipes and healthy combinations. Also, healthy cooking doesn’t have to be time-consuming:

  • Scour the Internet for heart-healthy recipes, or buy a cookbook focused on quick and tasty cuisine.
  • Buy fresh, ready-to-eat fruits and vegetables so that you can grab them on the go.
  • Plan your healthy menu for the week ahead and buy all the groceries that you’ll need; having a system will help you resist the temptation to call the pizza delivery guy.

Everything in moderation is a phrase you hear often, and with good reason. Everything in moderation means that there’s a healthy balance to your life, so laugh, love, live, and be healthy.

Learn more about balance.

What does it mean to lead a balanced life?

Lifestyle balance is critical in preventing relapses. Individuals whose lives are full of unenjoyable activities are likely to relapse back to addiction (which may provide intense, although temporary, satisfaction). We may not enjoy our daily activities if we are too focused on what we “should” do and not enough on what we “want” to do. For example, a person who places too much money into retirement funds ends up having their daily budget tighten, and risks a “binge” of spending that could threaten their savings. If they balanced their budget, rather than putting all their funds in retirement, they would find a better balance.

Lifestyle balance can be considered from a number of perspectives. Below is a list (taken from the book, Sex, Drugs, Gambling & Chocolate, page 191) that you might use to consider how balanced you are:

  • Work and relaxation
  • Activity and contemplation (self-assessment)
  • Duties and fun
  • Long-term projects and momentary pleasure
  • Alone time and social time
  • Routine household chores and new projects
  • “Shoulds” and “wants”
  • Making money and spending money
  • Spiritual time and secular time
  • Giving and receiving
  • Being physically distant and being physically close
  • Exercise and rest
  • Personal maintenance and productivity
  • Going fast and going slow
  • Learning from others and learning independently

For each item on the list above, we need to consider to what extent we have achieved a balance between the two poles on the list. Having achieved some basic balance in life, the next step can be looking more deeply at what our enduring satisfactions truly are. It is this looking that connects the fourth point of the 4-Point Program back to the first point (to “enhance and maintain motivation to abstain”). Motivation to abstain is ultimately based on a sense that there is a better life to live than an addicted one. If you believe that there can be more to life than what addiction provides, the challenge is to achieve that.

What is most important in life has been a focus for everyone at times, but perhaps not enough of the time. Freud suggested that a combination of love (relationships) and work (productive activity) is most important. If only this simple suggestion (“to love and work”), or other suggestions, were enough to provide clear guidance for all of us! Here are a few basic questions to consider:

  • What are my most important relationships?
  • How could I pay more attention to these relationships?
  • What activities am I good at?
  • Given what I am good at, or could learn, what do I most like doing?
  • What satisfactions did I have before addiction?
  • At what moments in life did I feel a clear sense of direction (and what was that direction)?
  • How much time do I speak with others, and think about, my direction in life?

For most of us, being out of balance is about focusing too much on short-term (momentary) concerns, and not enough on long-term (enduring) concerns. Although there are some individuals who put too much money into retirement, the typical problem is not putting in enough. Striking a balance is key to maintaining motivation to abstain and to leading a good life.

Dr. Tom Horvath has been president of SMART Recovery for 18 of its 20 years, and is an internationally recognized expert on addiction treatment. He is a past president (1990-91) of the Society of Addiction Psychology, the world’s largest organization of addiction psychologists, and is also the author of Sex, Drugs, Gambling & Chocolate: A Workbook for Overcoming Addictions.

This post is a reprint from the June 21, 2001 edition of the SMART blog.

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