Living in Balance
Living in Balance
There is an old saying...
The body heals with play, the mind heals with laughter, and the spirit heals with joy.
We are holistic beings and when we are out of balance in one aspect of our lives, it can impact everything. Right now, in our household, our daughter is preparing to take the SAT exam and she's stressed. Alice is a junior in high school and heading into that phase of life where preparing for college takes up a lot of mental space.
I often wonder why the adults of the world have created such a stressful environment for our youth. It seems we keep setting the bar higher and higher for our children. Whether it's the pressure to participate in year-round sports, achieve high grade point averages, spend hours dedicated to volunteering or a job (or both), and taking on adult-like leadership roles in order to be accepted at the ultimate top-ranked college, it really seems like our society is expecting more and more to just reach the bare minimum in life. Why have we done this?
So I guess you could say feeling the pressure of taking the SAT has knocked our daughter off balance a bit. I don't have the answer to why society has decided to create so much stress for our kids, but I'm looking forward to Saturday afternoon after she has taken the exam and it is behind her. In anticipation of this and in the timing only the universe could coordinate, we get to go meet some out of town friends for a fun excursion. This will certainly involve play for the body, laughter for the mind and joy for the spirit!
Paying attention to the needs of our body, mind and spirit and reorienting our activities towards play, laughter and joy whenever we are able, can shift the feelings of stress in our lives! Maybe take a break from complicated meditation rituals, or escapist activities and give yourself a chance to find the simple answer.
Maybe being in balance isn't about counting the number of hours you spend with your family, or how many days a week you work out, or whether you are "too" busy with work. Perhaps, instead, it's about how we take care of the basic needs of our holistic person. Do we have enough play? Do we have enough laughter? Do we have enough joy?
My undergraduate degree may be in psychology, but I am not professional psychologist. Over the years, however, I have learned to take a moment, give myself the 10,000 foot view, and intentionally create situations in my life that can help me tune into my wellbeing. Taking those small moments to check in can really make the difference
Sharing Balance with Others
Laughter is literally contagious. Knowing that laughter can shift someone's energy and lighten their day, wouldn't you want to spread it wherever you could? Here is a wonderful example of how play, laughter, and joy can be generated.
This video is only 1.45 minutes long and definitely worth the view.
What if one of the purposes of our our life is to help others experience joy? What if it really can be so simple as to laugh with strangers? What if, while standing in line at the coffee shop, we could share a smile or give a compliment instead of commiserating about how long the barista is taking? What if, while sitting in a traffic jam, we could sing out loud and risk looking goofy just to lighten the moment? When we take the focus off of ourselves, often we actually help ourselves.
It's early November and soon we will be preoccupied with Thanksgiving dinner, visiting family, decorating for the Holidays and our plans for winter break. This is often noted as the most stressful time of the year for people. That with daily news about a faltering economy can really get our minds going with worry and indeed knock us off balance.
So what if we add to our plans, time to care for our body, mind and spirit. This year, perhaps, we can shift into balance before we even get out of it.
I hope these tips are helpful to you. Share in the comments what you do to maintain balance in your life, especially during the holiday season!
Kristine Sperling is a wellness enthusiast and co-founder of Makes 3 Organics, an organic brand dedicated to providing consumers organic alternatives to conventional personal care products. She lives in Santa Barbara, California, with her co-founder husband, Dan, their teenager, Alice, and their blue Shih Tzu, King.