Many of us strive to achieve a balanced lifestyle. Many books are written about it, speakers try to motivate us to live it, and even body-lotion products are called “balance” to remind us of its importance on a daily basis. So the question is, if there is a lot of hype about this special word, why do people still struggle to find it in their lives, and what does it mean for each person? The dictionary definition of “balance” is “mental steadiness, or habit of calm behavior.” Here are a few tips for discovering its multiple meanings.
- Take care of yourself and your health first. So many women tell me they will start working out after their children are older, or when their work load settles down, or when the weather gets warmer. Well, guess what? If you are one of these excuse makers, it seems like this time never comes. These women tend to push off taking care of themselves (even though they complain about not feeling healthy or being in shape), especially during their most stressful times. Don’t be one of these women! Most women deal with stress successfully when they eat healthfully, are involved in a steady exercise program, and get plenty of rest.
- Learn how to say “no” to others without feeling guilty. Prioritize what is most important and cut out the junk that brings you down, whether it is difficult family members, other harmful relationships, or overextending your time to others. There are polite ways of turning down requests to do things. For suggestions and more information, check out the book, How to Say No Without Feeling Guilty: And Say Yes to More Time, More Joy and What Matters Most to You by Patti Breitman, Connie Hatch and Richard Carlson (February, 2001).
- Spend time with people that give you positive energy. Vampire stories are not just a myth. Stay away from real-life vampires who suck away your positive energy by always taking from you and not giving back! The more positive you feel about the people in your life, the more motivated you will be to take care of yourself and tackle life’s challenges.
- Live with optimism. Remember the book, Don’t Sweat the Small Stuff…And It’s All Small Stuff: Simple Ways to Keep the Little Things From Taking Over Your Life by Richard Carlson (March, 2007)? Let go of the little things in life that go wrong (like a flat tire). Appreciate what you have in life, and look at the world through the glass half full, not half empty. Challenge yourself to look at the bigger picture and remind yourself that there is always a solution to every problem. Material objects do not give you happiness; it is found through your mindset. Just take deep breaths to calm down, and tell yourself that problems pass. Another helpful resource to help you live by this value is Learned Optimism: How to Change Your Mind and Your Life by Martin Seligman (January, 2006).
- If you feel strong, you will be strong. The mind is very powerful and influences your actions. So tune your mindset to the right dial! Convince yourself that you have the ability to be successful in life. As a result, you will find that you can be assertive and you can do more than you had even imagined.