- Mental Health
The Secret to Eternal Health: the Art of Balance
How do we find balance?
When everything is difficult, where do we look? Who will help us? How can we help ourselves?
Balance is the state of harmony we experience when we are not over-extending ourselves in one direction. Too much work will leave us out of balance. Similarly, too much play will do the same. But how do we find our own sense of balance? What are the clues?
In my own life, I can sense that I am out of balance when my thoughts start to race. Suddenly, I am not having fun. Everything is very serious! Maybe I snapped and yelled at someone who probably didn’t deserve it (as was the case today). Although it is difficult to accept, such an outburst can really be a helpful signpost.
If you pay attention to your body, your signs of distress will become apparent to you. Your body is a great teacher if you take the time to listen to it.
Checking in with yourself
Sometimes it takes freaking out at work (as was the case with me today) to make me realize that I need to check in with myself and have a bit of “me time.” Sometimes we need to get as far as we can from other people for a few minutes and collect our thoughts. That's what I did today.
After I calmed down, I apologized. But I’m not really sorry that I had my freak-out. After all, it was the freak-out that helped me realize I was out of balance. The mind plays tricks on us, and would have us believe we are fine when we are not. But flipping out helped me realize that I needed to take a few breaths and check in with myself.
Building healthy coping skills
Stress, even tiny stressors, accumulate over time. If stress is not processed in a healthy way, the body and mind become run down and dysfunctional.
As a social worker in training, I have become attuned to the usefulness of coping skills. Coping skills are healthy ways of dealing with stress. The classic example would be counting to ten (or counting your breaths to ten.) When I first started learning about coping skills, I thought, “wow, this will really help my clients!” But coping skills are a necessity for everyone, including me.
A healthy support group is also a key coping mechanism. Who can you talk to that will respect your feelings? Who will honor the fact that you’re upset without forcing advice down your throat? In other words, who will let you be upset, and just be there for you? When you find these people, cherish them. And call them when you’re upset!
There are other helpful coping mechanisms, such as taking a walk, listening to music, or playing sports. A good way to measure whether your coping mechanism is healthy is to ask yourself, “am I running away from my problem, or am I taking the time to process it?” Be patient and your answer will come.
Balancing helping other with helping yourself
Some people love to help others. This can be very rewarding. But if you are one of those people, you also need to be careful. If you only help others, you will become burned out. Taking care of other people is gratifying, but it’s also stressful. You need to make sure that you have an appropriate release for your stress, and that you allow yourself the proper amount of time to rest.
If you do not take care of yourself, you will not be able to take care of others for long. As good as your heart may be, you will eventually become resentful. You will think “I am spending all of my time taking care of everyone, and they take me for granted! Why doesn’t anyone take care of me?!” That’s why it’s so important that enjoy your own life! You may be surprised to see how much other people will enjoy being around you as you continue to cultivate your own joys.
Dance! Sing! Be goofy, draw a picture, take a nap, wander aimlessly, or cook yourself a nice meal. The key to being in balance is taking the time to take care of yourself. Take some deep breaths. And don’t forget to remember: the only moment is this moment.
Somewhat serious aricles by AdamGee
- How to Like Yourself: Building Confidence and Self-Esteem in a Crazy World
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- 7 Simple Steps to Fix Your Fear
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- The Day I Put My Toys Away
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- Dwight Freeney and the Value of Toughness
Should Dwight Freeney play in the Superbowl despite serious injury? What message is he sending? Why is toughness so important in our culture?
Not that serious articles by AdamGee
- 10 Awesome Things You Can Do with a Big Cardboard Box
A not-very-serious look at 10 awesome things you can do with a large cardboard box. I'm on a boat!
- Nine Reasons to Never Shave Your Chest. Ever.
Seriously, do not even think about shaving your chest. Here are nine reasons why.
- How to be rich, part 1: Building a house!
How will you live your life as an unimaginably wealthy person? Will you squander it, never knowing the joy of making others grovel for any tiny scrap of approval? Never tasting the sweet nectar of purchasing a squadron of army fighter jets and terror
- Top Fashion Trends for the Mentally Deranged
Are you sick of blue jeans, collared shirts, and all the traditional BLAH that fills your closet? Maybe its time to take a clue from the mentally ill. Here are some suggestions that will liven up your...
- To Live Forever? Vampires, Zombies, Cyborgs, Cryogenics and the Fountain of Youth
The media tells us there are so many ways to live forever. But which one is the best? A revealing look at the true logistics of immortality.
- Ten Reasons Why Dogs are Better than People or Things
Find out why dogs are far superior to humans and many objects. Also, funny videos.