We tend to underestimate how much maintaining balance contributes to living life successfully and productively.
As a sports enthusiast, I appreciate how sports are a metaphor for, or a microcosm of, life so you will find me making many comparisons and analogies.
Take the example of an Olympic athlete.
To get optimum results he/she must train for the event in the most efficient and productive manner possible because the margin of error in a sporting event is miniscule.
You could win or lose in an Olympic event by a hair or one 1/100th of a second. Not a chance you would want to take.
When in training the athlete must have discipline and maintain a routine that includes the proper balance of sleep, good nutrition and exercise. He/she must also employ psychology to make sure that the necessary mindset or attitude is in place. Attitude and mindset are so important that they could make the difference between winning and losing.
If any one of these components is missing, or out of balance, the athlete will not perform well.
So it is with living life to the fullest. We don't have to adhere to the strict regimen an Olympic athlete would, but in order to function at our best, we definitely need to balance taking care of ourselves physically, mentally and spiritually. Focusing too much on any one facet catches up with us and leads to health problems in the neglected area.
For instance, if you were to exercise too much (hard to imagine) and not take time to rest and replenish, you would injure yourself. If you read, or do a disproportionate amount of mental work, your body would lack proper circulation and fitness level.
If you spend an emormous amount of time meditating, or relaxing, your brain waves slow down and you lack mental agility.
Whenever you overdo it in any aspect of your life, you lose perspective and balance. As Aristotle said: "Moderation in all things."
How do we maintain balance in our lives?
- Know yourself and how much rest, food and exercise you need to function at your best. There are many good books and websites that give great advice on diet and exercise. Decide what works best for you and implement it into your routine.
- Keep your mind alert and in shape. As mentioned in the 10 Positive Habits To Develop , try to learn a new piece of information each day, even if it's in conversation with your spouse and children at the dinner table.
- Stay connected with family and friends. At the end of the day share with your spouse and children how the day went for each of you. We lead busy lives, but we should never be too busy to connect with and make at least one phone call to a parent, sibling or friend during the day.
- Do something spontaneous. Our lives can be too regimented at times so it's a good idea to do something out of the ordinary every now and then. During your lunch one day go for a pedicure or massage. Take a drive in the countryside one afternoon. On the weekend go to a concert (rock, opera or symphony).
- Make time for yourself. Each evening take time to unwind. If that means leaving the dishes overnight, so be it. Take a nice bath, read from the book you started, or listen to some soothing music.
We can all learn from elite athletes who, by knowing how to balance their training routines, are able to function at optimum levels.
This article originally appeared on essentiallifeskills.net and was written by Z. Hereford.