Since the “Information Age” began in the late 1970’s, we have been struggling to keep up with changes in technology and 24/7 streaming information. Consider the 1980’s and 1990’s when the information explosion included: fax machines, cell phones, personal computers, and the internet (world wide web-www.) In today’s world, we often feel that we are falling behind if we do not check our e-mail, text messages, facebook-twitter-myspace (etc) accounts, and have our cell phones turned on ALL THE TIME! There are many people who have no idea how to control their “connectedness” and will text while driving, at dinner, in their counseling appointments (I am NOT kidding,) in the bathroom, or even in other important meetings-classes-dates, etc. Maybe ADDICTION to this connectedness is the issue. Technology has driven us to rethink what Life Balance really looks like.
The concept of Life Balance has been around along time however, the challenge of how to achieve or maintain Life Balance has become a difficult dilemma. There are some major areas in most people lives that are necessary to maintain balance in life. Though we are focused on financial survival, focus only on our finances and our careers is not enough to sustain the highest qualities of life. Often we are trapped into thinking that if we made more money, had a bigger bank account, or had moved to the “better” job, we would be happy and healthy. For most of us, this is a false assumption. Besides money and a decent job, we need to be well-rounded in other important areas of our lives including: our family relationships, our world of friendships, continuing our educational pursuits, our health, participating in aesthetic or creative pursuits, and honoring our spirit. If any of these areas of our lives are not celebrated, with at least brief regular attention, we can suffer from “burnout” and a reduced quality of life. We may lack emotional well-being if we do find make time and put energy into these areas of our lives.
“Healthy” relationships with family and friends are more than just social outlets. It is life sustaining to develop and participate in positive connections with other people. Babies who do not have positive human connection do NOT thrive and can die even when they are provided with food and shelter. Most people need to connect and in our desperation to connect, we often settle for relationships with unhealthy people. This has been a problem that affects quality of life. We must guard against negativity in the people we must interact with and prevent ourselves from being drawn into other people’s “drama.” This is easier said than done…
Our psychological, emotional, and physical health requires regular work and attention. Many people take their health for granted. Many people put other people’s needs before themselves and eventually whither or burnout. Every one of us requires a different pattern of prevention to maintain our health and well-being, so you have to learn what your specific requirements are and do not fall into the trap of doing things that other people say you “should” do, when actually your requirements may be very different.
We must continue to learn and to grow. Life long learning keeps us going and interested in life. Waiting for TV to entertain us is usually not enough. We need to reach out and stimulate our brains with new and challenging situations.
Participating in aesthetically pleasing or creative endeavors is also required for the highest qualities of life. This may be appreciating works of art or going for a walk in nature. It may take the form of hobbies or crafts. It may be time spent creating or appreciating music. It is often shared with other people and aids in positive connections. It is a celebration of life and your own unique creativity. You do not have to be a great artist to celebrate the art that you encounter. And, this leads us to the celebration of our spirit.
Spiritual development is a necessary life sustaining activity. It is not a religious pursuit. It is a pursuit of higher connection to an aesthetic belief or activity. Honoring that positive exposure to nature or art through conscious meditation will help lead to a satisfying quest for your spirit. If we do not pursue understanding and celebration of our spirits, we can lack the depth which helps us to achieve the highest quality of life. To be clear, spiritual development does not require the practice of religion. The spirit does not dwell within a specific religious philosophy or the practice of ritual, for all people.
An additional life requirement for your consideration is the need in life to play or to have fun. A life is best lived when we find time for positive entertaining and joyful experiences. We can often overlook the need to have fun because other challenges are so pressing but people thrive when there is time and energy spent pursuing situations that can bring laughter or, at least, smiles to our daily existence. Please remember to play.
Balance in life requires a commitment to yourself. This commitment includes scheduling time and allocating energy to the various specific areas of your life. A well rounded and balanced life makes time for positive relationships, health practices, and the pursuit of creativity to feed the spirit. What are your requirements? What do you need to add to your life to be whole and complete? Can you be a positive role model for the the people who share your life?
If you require coaching to achieve life balance consider the coaching opportunities available through the Stress Education Center by contacting our website at www.dstress.com.