It often happens without us noticing. We are going through life with seemingly ease and optimism until one day we realize that it has shifted and is out of balance. It’s a little like aging, we see ourselves day after day in the mirror until one day the reflection looks so much older that the youthful person we remember. So, is there a way to catch that imbalance before it hits the crisis mode? Fortunately the answer is yes.
As humans, we are the only species capable of “zooming out” and placing ideas in a bigger context. And yet, we are inclined to stay focused on things that are happening in the moment that are causing us distress or anxiety. Being able to step back or “zoom out” to see the bigger picture can help us gain a new perspective and focus on what really matters in our life. Over 2,000 years ago, the Greek philosopher Heraclitus said “change is the only constant”, but we aren’t always inclined to see the good in those words. Becoming aware of your response to change is the key. Raising your own self-awareness is a constant process of learning.
So, let’s look at a few ways we can start to recognize and address when we feel like life is slipping out of balance.
- Make a commitment with yourself to create time to practice listening to your inner processes and making the choices in how you respond to the change around you.
- Pay attention to the things that distract you and create imbalance. Avoid multi-tasking (science has shown it really is NOT productive). Intentionally disconnect when necessary. Tap into a skill or hobby that gives you a sense of balance. Learn mindfulness or to meditate.
- Connect with your physical body. It does a really good job of keeping tabs on how we are, but we need to be better listeners. Do a regular body scan to notice where you feel out of balance. Have a habit of physical exercise – a simple walk outside, connecting with nature can be very revealing and rewarding. (And, leave the cell phone at home if you can.)
- Connect with your mind. Did you know that it is estimated that we have over 40,000 unique thoughts each day? And, that almost 75% of those are negative? This is because our brain is hardwired to protect us so it is always on the lookout for things that might be threatening our well-being. Therefore, we have to be extra intentional to stay focused on what keeps us uplifted and fulfilled.
- And last, but certainly not least, is we need to stay connected to other people. The last year and a half have definitely thrown that out of balance! It is evident in a general lack of generosity towards others, and, sometimes we can just be down-right cranky. We are an interdependent species. We need each other. So pay attention to and care for your relationships.
Being committed to keeping our life in balance requires self-awareness and often courage. The courage to acknowledge our short-comings and create new habits. To develop compassion and tolerance for ourselves and others. It’s a balancing act, but so much easier if we hold hands.
Until next time…