What does it really mean to find balance in your life? It is simply a feeling of balance across all disciplines of your life. It also means that you are not dedicating too much time, effort, or energy to one specific aspect of your life. For the most part, you feel motivated, calm, clear-headed, and grounded in all areas of life and within yourself.
All aspects of life that need to be balanced fall into one of the two classifications: external and internal. Each is critical to that balance, with all being equally important to pay attention to.
The Internal: Heart, Body, and Mind
- Emotional Health: This includes your mood, happiness, positivity, healthy processing of feelings, and avoiding things like depression and anxiety.
- Physical Health: Eat and drink mindfully. Exercise and work your body, but don’t forget to take adequate time for rest and treat yourself with foods that you truly love.
- Mental Health: Stimulate yourself intellectually and socially, but give your mind the opportunity to rest.
The External: Fun, Family, Social, and Work
- Leisure time: Take time to indulge in activities that you truly enjoy. Simply, do things you find relaxation or contentment in.
- Family: Maintain healthy boundaries and relationships, but ensure you make time for to be with yourself.
- Social: Indulge in social activities with friends; connecting with others is critical to being grounded and can also contribute to the other life aspects that need to be balanced
- Work: As you push yourself to chase your goals, continue to keep your eye on the big picture. Make time for yourself and ensure you don’t focus too hard on the work; burnout is a real problem.
Finding Life Balance
Most people are guilty of keenly focusing on one or two areas while neglecting other aspects of life. This creates an imbalance in your internal and external worlds.
You may be guilty of focusing on some external aspects, such as work, but neglect other external factors such as family and leisure time. You may indulge in all external aspects, but forget to take care of the internal factors (mental, physical, and emotional health).
Balance in all areas helps you to maintain a high level of wellness without your whole self. It is a constant process of evaluation and action, but it is possible to increase balance in certain areas, without compromising another.
Steps to Finding Balance Within and With Others
- Acknowledge: Review all parts of your life and self and ask yourself, “Are you neglecting any areas?” Do you feel worn down with work or exercise? Do you feel distant from your family and friends?
- Examine the internal and external: The key idea is to understand which aspect, external or internal, you are limiting.
- Create a specific list of goals: A specific list will help you identify what changes you want to make in your life to create balance. For example, if you miss family time because you are overworking, try and cut down your hours at the office. Another example is if you feel stressed and anxious, it is possible that you are neglecting internal factors. Balance is about paying attention to what we succeed at and what needs improvement.
- Plan: Create steps for the week and for the month on how you will achieve your goals
- Consider obstacles: Note any challenges you see coming your way and determine how to deal with them. Think about past successes and how you can apply those skills to reach a balance.
- Preparation: Prepare for any interference that keeps you from following your plan. If you can recognize unhelpful behaviors, like negative self-talk, or harmful habits, like isolation, you can prepare for any challenge in your way. Make a note on how you will overcome this challenge, whether that be support from friends, meditation and mindfulness, or help from a life coach/therapist.
- Get support and make connections: Find helpful connections that will allow you to stay on course with your plan. Whether it be a specific tactic or a helpful friend, recognize the tools that can help you succeed. This can include a friend joining you at the gym, your spouse encouraging you, or planning leisure time with a sibling.
- Stick with it: Just like anything, finding balance takes time. Because this process often involves breaking harmful behaviors or habits, it will involve deliberate actions to keep you on track; instilling new habits can be done through this process. Most importantly, do NOT give up. Balance is within reach. With this final step, recognize little and big victories throughout your journey. Note the sense of accomplishment and pride you ignited in yourself.
Maintaining yourself and your health is key to feeling balanced, motivated, and whole. The process of balancing the internal and external factors is one that constantly shifts with your needs, but it is worth working for. Once you attain your life balance, you will find that you are in tune with yourself and others. Without the struggle of imbalance, you can put more focus your life pursuing your dreams and desires.