It feels good to realize that – with a tweak here and an adjustment there – you can increase self-efficiency and live a more joyful and balanced life.
Strangely, the best part about using our time more efficiently isn’t that it increases our “output” and our external accomplishments.
Instead, the best parts of becoming more productive are the positive things we learn about ourselves along the way.
You can create equipoise in your daily life – the almost perfect balance of interests and forces.
An epiphany is a sudden moment of increased awareness or insight. What revelations have you had about your balanced life? Or, does your life sometimes feel imbalanced?
What is a Balanced Lifestyle?
Today, more than ever, many of us live unbalanced lives.
For some of us, our careers feel like all-or-nothing.
We believe, correctly, that we must bring our A-game to our work in order to become increasingly successful, but we mistakingly think that “A-game” means a 60+ hour workweek and being physically tired and emotionally drained much of the time.
For others of us, we’re so busy taking care of other people and attending to the details of their lives, that we forget to take of our own health.
We think that taking care of others is generous, but we forget that the most generous thing you can do is to model for others what good self-care looks like.
Living a balanced life means saying “no” a lot because you have to be fiercely protective of your time and physical energy, but saying “no” isn’t selfish.
In fact, living a balanced life is one of the most spiritual, giving things you can do, because when you engage solutions for realizing your full potential and become prosperous and physically healthy, it unconsciously gives other people permission to do the same. It’s inspiring!
Recently, I interview two highly regarded medical doctors – healthy-aging specialists Dr. Edison de Mello and Dr. Myles Spar – so they could share with us the latest science behind balanced-living:
Why Stress and Aging Are the Same Thing
“Anti-aging” has a desperate, fear-based sound to it – as if all aging is bad and must be halted.
Healthy aging is more nuanced. Just as when your eyesight becomes blurry, you get glasses to see better, healthy aging is a means to slow (or remove) the more unnecessary, negative events that can occur as we mature.
Healthy aging also includes celebrating and emphasizing the more positive aspects of getting older.
After all, emotional aging is a natural part of the life experience. Each human life has its seasons (I mean, you couldn’t pay me to be 23 again). Healthy aging is the art of living more fully – a journey into increased authenticity and purpose.
But healthy aging is more than just an art; it’s a science.
Scientific research is growing rapidly, proving new ways and creating new solutions for living healthy – lengthening life expectancy and improving daily quality of life (even some people under the age of 40 are getting a jump on their healthy-aging protocols and living the longevity lifestyle).
The longevity lifestyle is a system of living that optimizes your thinking, feeling, and habits so that you can live the longest, happiest life possible. The essential idea is that wellness is true wealth, and that when you have optimal wellness, anything is possible – your present, and future, are wide open.
One recent and significant aspect science has contributed to our understanding of the longevity lifestyle, concerns the overall impact of relentless low-level stress.
In the short video above, the doctors reveal how stress and aging are really the same thing and they share ideas about how to negotiate with stress in order live more effectively.
Action Step: Today, I invite you to take 3 minutes to breath consciously:
- notice how you feel in this moment; rate that feeling on a scale of 1-to-10
- sit in a quiet place
- close your eyes
- inhale slowly for a count of 4, expanding your diaphragm (lower lungs)
- hold for a count of 4
- exhale slowly for a count of 4 (squeeze that last drop of air out of your lower lungs)
- hold for a count of 4
- repeat for next 3 minutes
- after 3 minutes, open your eyes; notice again how you feel, rate from 1-to-10
- compare your pre-breathing number with your post-breathing number.
Each of us has a different answer to the question, “what is success?” But no matter how your answer sounds specifically, it probably includes within it a phrase such as “being happy” or “have inner peace.”
Inner peace is that sweet stillness and abiding calm that each of us has at our soul’s center, and accessing that relaxed sense of satisfied stillness is easier when our lives aren’t weighted too heavily in one particular area. The formula for perfect balance is different according to the unique needs of each person’s life purpose, but it’s safe to say that a full circle of wellness will at least include:
- quality connection with other human beings (this doesn’t happen on its own, you have to tend to your relationships consistently)
- work that you’re good at (it’s important that you always work on improving your relationship with money)
- a hobby that you love
- goals! (you need to have a dream that you’re in the process of achieving)
- self-care and health protocols (delight in the miracle of your own physical body and enjoy discovering what helps it operate optimally)
Epiphanies to Expect During Your Journey toward Excellence
Here are 5 realizations that many people have as they gradually increase their success and experiment with living a life that is more balanced. I believe these realizations reveal how to achieve excellence.
Being mindful of these dynamics as they occur during your own journey of self-improvement can make the process more meaningful and – frankly – also help you to achieve your goals more quickly:
1. Wanting to Feel Better or Do Better
The journey often begins as we become irritated with our own habits, and feel a “sneaking awareness” that we’re not realizing our full potential. There’s some inner voice – conscious, or otherwise – that whispers, “I know I can do better.”
…what we celebrate and focus on, we get more of”
2. Understanding that Doing Better Means Changing
As irritation moves to frustration, there tends to be a bit of negative self-talk: “Come on, now, stop slackin’ off! Get your act together!”
We know our lives are cluttered, and we know we’d like to streamline. But even the word “clutter” fills us with a bit of dread. We immediately think of the things we should be doing if only we were “better” — like cleaning the boxes out of the garage, or sorting through that pile of receipts on our desk. Still, at this point, we begin sensing, on some level, that our daily habits need fine-tuning.
…by recognizing when you arrive at milestones, you’ll achieve your goals even more quickly”
3. Becoming Aware that Some Thoughts Create More Anxiety than is Necessary
Surprise, surprise – for most us, guilt and shame are not sustainable motivators, and so nothing changes, or the changes that we do make, don’t stick.
The fact is, that goal-setting and organizing are optional. We don’t have to do it, and we’re still good people if we don’t. The ability and willingness to re-frame our challenges as something positive, is key.
The big secret here is to work on being solution-oriented.
Yes, you need to identify problems, but only briefly. Your mindset should be always toward identifying solutions.
Choose to believe that for every problem, there is a solution, and the “fun game” is to find it (if you don’t believe that right now, pretend that you do, because the universe has a peculiar way of sending solutions to those people who delight in finding solutions; orient your mind toward solutions)!
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4. Choosing to Metabolize Life’s Daily Anxieties in Healthier Ways
At this point in the journey, we encounter a sort of psychological fork in the road: “Being hard on myself isn’t working that great, so… what if I turned it into a game?”
This is a big moment (a choice, really) and from here we can embark in a new direction with a positive attitude and a light heart – and a sense of humor, play, and discovery.
The fact is that many people in our modern era manage their anxiety by repressing and self-medicating (sugar, beer, television – whatever the “drug” of choice is; anything can be used addictively).
Organizing, on the other hand, is a healthy way to move forward into change. It’s a great self-soothing technique!
5. Recognizing When It’s Working
The way that life often operates is, that what we celebrate and focus on, we get more of – and that includes our accomplishments. As we move into a higher state of productivity and excellence, it’s essential that we recognize and celebrate our successes – large or small.
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As you cycle through these realizations, you will continue to improve the balance you experience within your daily life. Your stress will decrease, your level of contentment will raise, and you will be preventing accelerated aging within your own body.
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