The Art and Science of Life Balance
The funny thing about balance is that people rarely consider it—until it eludes their grasp.
In both the physical sense and through how we live our lives, balance is often an afterthought. Let’s use standing upright as an example: Typically, the act of standing is so rehearsed, we do not notice how truly amazing this action is. If you watch a child learning to stand, however, or have ever experienced vertigo, you remember that performing this feat is only easy when you have balance.
The act of standing requires the ability to make small corrections, which give the appearance of being centered. When standing still, there is always movement happening; it is a process of give and take.
In physics, balance only occurs when two equal forces are applied in opposite directions. Standing requires movement, but the shifts are small. If you sway a bit to the right, you naturally counter-balance by shifting to the left. It’s these small corrections that keep you centered. Beingout of balance means the correction, or counter-balancing movement, was not effective.
The same is true with life balance. However, many of us fail to make the small corrections in time. Maybe you focus too much on work and now have relationship problems, or spend too much money and are now in debt. Maybe you let your physical fitness go and now face an illness. These big imbalances are very disruptive and can be avoided.
But first, let’s talk about life balance. What is it? Life balance can be identified by feelings such as joy, happiness, confidence, hopefulness, and ease. Life balance is a sense of well-being—and feeling well creates wellness in many ways, such as lowering blood pressure. Achieving balance even improves your ability to manage stress. Remember this if nothing else: Life balance starts with positive feelings. You need to believe you can have the things you want in life, first.
The art of life balance requires creativity. If you push too hard you will miss its subtle rewards. Navigating easily through life requires a sense of curiosity and playfulness, like that of a child. This doesn’t excuse you from taking life seriously, simply that you release the illusion that you can control everything. By exerting control over everything, you
may end up limiting yourself. The art of life balance requires dedicated time for having fun and observing the world around you. You may be surprised at what you find if you do.
Life balance comes from trust, faith, and fun counter-balanced by logic. The science of life balance can be thought of as your logical side. Typically we think of this as planning and scheduling, but it is much more. The science of balance has been studied for millennia. If you look at the Taoist teachings of yin and yang, for example, you will discover that each side of the familiar symbol includes a small circle of the opposite color at the center. Believing that nothing is totally black or white—right or wrong—can help you perceive circumstances in a new way.
Unsure where to start? Here’s an exercise you can do. Take a moment to write down these categories so you can rate them in a moment:
• Significant Other
• Family Life
• Physical Environment
• Other (list anything else that comes to mind)
Next, rate each area of your life according to your level of satisfaction. If you feel completely satisfied, give yourself a rating of 3. Somewhat satisfied, a 2. And not satisfied, a 1.
Look at the areas you rated as a 1. These are the areas that may be creating imbalance in your life. If you feel sad or overwhelmed, please stop for a moment and take a few full, gentle breaths.
The first step to life is creating awareness and the second is centering. You will not create good results in your life if you feel panicked. And remember, creating balance does not mean you have to change anything. Instead maybe take a moment to look at the 3s on your list and feel grateful.
If there are no 3s take a moment to feel grateful anyway. You are here reading this article, which means you are creating an important shift already. Let that be enough for now and enjoy. The important thing to remember is that life balance is a state of ease, so try to connect to these feelings whenever possible. Even if your life feels chaotic, your change begins from within. Close your eyes and visualize the changes you would like to see in your life. This allows you to tap into your creative side. Then open your eyes and start to write down your goals and dreams. When you are ready, come up with a plan to connect these with your logical side. Now that’s balance in action!
Jenny Gallagher is a certified life, wellness and business coach. She is also a registeredyoga teacher and author of Yen Path: Taking Steps Towards What You Want in Life (2011). For more information go to www.jennygallagher.com.