Mastering Balance

Life is about balance. Not just physical balance; although important, this barely scrapes the surface. In a sense, much of your life is spent working to maintain some sort of balance in some aspect of your reality. We all know what it feels like to be out of balance, since none of us have had a perfect life, if such a thing even exists. Life is constantly moving, in a constant flux, and we are in a constant need to keep adapting. When something’s wrong, we do something about it. When something’s missing or incomplete, we fill the gap. If we’re doing too much, we do a little less. There is a constant ebb and flow of maintaining balance. Even the laziest of people have done something to maintain some sort of equilibrium. It’s necessary for our survival, even more necessary if we wish to thrive.

Physical Balance
As an infant and into early childhood, we work to master the first most major form of balance, physical balance. This is how we learn to maneuver through the world, which is crucial. This eventually becomes second nature, and even taken for granted, up until old age, when physical balance again becomes a problem with the decline of our joint health and muscle strength, mainly our core and stabilizing muscles.

This is one reason why exercise and physical activity are important throughout life. Yoga, for example, is a great way to keep your physical balance strong and in check, even into your later years. Balancing poses work to keep your core muscles, which hold your body upright, while also keeping your leg’s stabilizing muscles strong and active. Balancing poses also require a certain degree of inward calm and stable focus, in turn heightening your brain’s capacity for concentration, which is never a bad thing.

Mental/Emotional Balance
We finally master our physical balance, are able to have some fun with it, until we’re spit out into the world of adulthood. This new world is filled with work, responsibility, shopping lists, home repairs, meetings, appointments, social media, relationships, and maybe kids. This is where most of us get our first real taste of imbalance, since too much of anything will eventually create stress and/or other issues, which we eventually, if we’re fortunate enough, come to realize this.

Stress has more than one face, whether it be physical, mental, and/or emotional. Stress is inevitable. Mental stress may come easier to white collar workers and desk jockeys than it will to a construction worker or landscaper, who may be more prone to experience physical stress. Physical stress may also be caused by poor eating and sleep habits, which will eventually cause mental/emotional stress if not balanced. A few things that we can do to balance out these detrimental effects are meditation, therapy, yoga, a walk in nature, a good night’s sleep, or just doing something (healthy) that you love. Listen to your body, it’s always telling you what it needs.

Work/Life Balance
Full time students may have to work a part time job while maintaining their grades in school. Full time workers may have to come home exhausted to take care of their kids. Extra hours at work might be needed to get through your stack of tasks, or to make sure your rent gets paid. Balance is needed for work and life, stress and rest, chaos and peace. In today’s nonstop, fast-paced society, we tend to lean more towards the work/stress side of the scale, since productivity is king and we’ll rest when we’re dead.

More work means more productivity right? Think again. Skimping on sleep to get more done in your day? Better sleep actually means better job performance. Working through your day with no break to get more done? Working with small break intervals every hour or so boosts total productivity. Spend more time with your family. Get that much needed alone time in. Spend some more time in nature. Balance your job and your life; your family needs you, the present you. There’s no room for work at home, and there’s no room for home at work.

Trying to Find a Balance

Mastery of anything doesn’t come easy, or else everybody would be a master of everything. The term itself implies the work needed to be done to gain it. To master something means you have gained very comprehensive knowledge and/or have gained control of that particular matter. To do so, time, energy, and attention must be allocated towards your goal, which are all very limited resources, some of which aren’t always used for what’s helpful or productive. While we can master being lazy or even destructive, which many of us have unfortunately, why not use that same amount of energy towards making your life more sustainable and bearable? Why not choose an endeavor that can and will benefit mostly every area in your life? Dedicate more time to finding more balance in your day-to-day, whatever that means to you in your special situation, and notice life starting to work a little more for you.

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