How to Keep Your Life in Balance

In this article you will learn How to Keep Your Life in Balance by being able to identify the areas of your life that are out of balance and then seeing what adjustments you need to make.

In life, we spend time in different areas of activity. We set goals and we achieve them. We might even grow as an individual. The list below shows you different areas of activity that you may spend time in during your life.

  • Personal
  • Professional
  • Contribution
  • Health and fitness
  • Fun time
  • Spiritual life
  • Relationships
  • Financial

One area is our personal life. It could be a personal project or maybe learning a language.

Another area is our professional life, setting career goals, working towards them and achieving. Shorter term goals could include work projects.

Contribution is another area. This may be donating to a charity, or it might be mentoring somebody in work or in the community, such as volunteering or helping others in a meaningful way.

Health and Fitness – it’s very important being aware of our diet and taking regular exercise. The old saying comes to mind, “A healthy body and a healthy mind!”

Fun time – pleasurable activities either pursued alone or in the company of others.

Our spiritual lives – millions of people practice a religion. For others, it might be taking time to meditate, or enjoying experiences of nature. Indeed, it could be all three.

Relationships – spending time with people who are important to us. Time with family, time with friends, time with acquaintances that we have gathered along the way.

Our financial life allows us to focus on understanding how the financial system works and investing so that our savings can grow and look after us in later life. Many people will consult a financial advisor, a professional who knows their client and can help select the right solution for them.

These areas of activity are not mutually exclusive. For example we may be engaged in a personal project which is also contributing to benefit others, and it might also be fun to do.

If we spend an excessive amount of time in one particular area, it reduces the time available for us to function in other areas. In fact, some people might become obsessed with the area of life that they’re focused on. For example, it might be becoming focused on something, like a work project, and then staying on that task to the exclusion of everything else in your life. When this occurs, and life is out of balance, problems can arise. It can lead to a decrease in rational thinking; whenever that happens, we can’t find a solution to the problem. When it’s prolonged, there is a sense of not having control – demands exceed resources. Stress can take hold whenever that occurs.

When stressed, we have a survival response of, fight flight or freeze. Accompanying this there are negative thoughts, uncomfortable emotions, and uncomfortable physical sensations. When we’re in survival mode, it has a knock on effect on our ability to interact with people who are important to us. It affects our relationships, and yet social support is so important as a buffer against life stress.

So, how do you know then if your life is in balance or out of balance? You can assess it!

Keep your life in balance assessment

In the diagram above you can see a number of concentric circles. These are split into eight different segments. Each segment represents an area of activity that we would spend time in during our lives. As mentioned earlier, our personal life would be one, professional life is another. We also spend time in Contribution, Health and Fitness, Fun Time, Spiritual, Relationships, and time in Financial.

Looking at the diagram, the idea is to place X in each segment to show the amount of our time spent in in that area. You then draw a line to join them up. After that, evaluate any imbalance and adjust your lifestyle accordingly.

Somebody having imbalance in their life could, might respond in the way shown in the example below.

Life out of balance

We can see straight away from the joined up Xs, that there is a lot of time spent in Professional life. Absolutely none is spent in Contribution and a minimal amount in Health and Fitness. There is a lot of Fun Time, perhaps ‘Work Hard Play Hard’! No time is spent in Spiritual, minimal in Relationships, but a lot of time in Financial. This clearly has a cost to Personal life where very little time is spent.

It’s very clear from the response here that there is an imbalance. The important thing would be adjusted accordingly so that the areas are more in balance. How would you respond? Feel free to draw the diagram and assess yourself on your life balance.

In summary, we need to spend time in the areas where we need to be. It may be more time in one particular area and less time in another. We also need to remember to keep our lives in balance.

We can use methods of self-soothing to reduce the impact of the stress response, because there will be demands upon us. Methods could include: diaphragmatic breathing, body mindfulness, or perhaps using the light stream, a meditative technique where you visualise a coloured healing light progressing through your body. I’ve placed videos on my YouTube channel for body mindfulness and the light stream.

Post by: Dr Michael Paterson OBE

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