Adults aren’t the only ones who have trouble creating a balanced life. Teens can also end up leading lives that are out of whack and that’s not a good thing. Balance is one of those concepts that you’ve probably heard about a lot but do you really understand it? And if you don’t understand it, how can you use it to improve your life?
Balance provides a solid foundation.
Imagine a chair with only one leg. It’s certainly not going to stand upright on it’s own – at least not the way it’s supposed to! Now imagine a chair with two legs. It doesn’t matter which two legs it has! It’s not going to stay upright and it won’t be something you can sit on comfortably.
Now imagine that chair is your life. When we concentrate too much time and attention on only one or two aspects of our lives, we become like those chairs. It might seem like almost everything is there. But without a solid foundation – without the right number of legs – everything will eventually topple over.
Balance requires at least three legs.
The number of “legs” a person needs depends on many things but, just like a piece of furniture, it’s safe to say that everyone needs at least three: body, mind and spirit. We need to focus on our physical well-being, our brains, and our faith life. These three general areas work together to amplify our personal growth and improvement.
When we take care of our bodies, our minds are clearer and sharper. We also appreciate more the gifts that God has given us. When we do things to improve our minds, we more easily improve at physical activities and feel at ease learning and growing in our faith. When we make time to focus on our faith and spirituality, we gain the calmness and perspective needed to excel in both our physical and mental pursuits.
Balance helps us face difficulties.
It really just makes sense that balance helps us face difficulties in our lives because most problems will hit only one or two areas. If we’re strong in multiple areas, we’ll weather any storm better. And if a problem hits us in all three areas, we have three other strong areas that support us.
It’s clear that balance is critical to creating a happy and healthy life!
Journaling is an easy way to maintain balance!
Maintaining a balanced life is certainly an individual thing but there are some general things that anyone can do. First, you need to be able to recognize when you’re life is not in balance. Second, you should have a few simple things ready to help bring your life back into balance. And third, you must understand when it’s appropriate to be off balance in order to accomplish your goals and objectives.
The simplest way to keep an eye on your life’s balance is to journal. Even if you only spend 10 minutes one night each week, it can bring the clarity you need. Every Sunday night, spend a few minutes writing what you did during the past week in each area: body, mind and spirit. Next, spend a few minutes writing about what you’re planning to do in the coming weak and see how it lines up with the three areas. Is there one you’re missing? Is one much heavier than the other two? If so, these are indicators that your life may be getting out of balance.
Have a plan to get your life back into balance.
If you think you might be losing balance, then plan at least one activity in the area or areas you’re ignoring. Here are a couple ideas:
Body – Go for a run, hike or bike ride. Do a workout or yoga. Play a physical game like basketball.
Mind – Read something just for fun. Watch a documentary on Netflix.
Spirit – Pray the Lord’s Prayer every night before bed. Meditate or do deep breathing. Read the Bible and reflect on what you’ve read.
Have these ideas handy – or create a list of your own – and add them into your plans for the coming week in order to get your life back into balance.
Finally, it’s important to understand that there are times when being out of balance in the short term is appropriate in order to maintain ultimate balance. There may be times when you have to focus almost all of your energy in a specific area in order to complete something that moves you closer to your goals. This is fine! But knowing when being temporarily out of balance is appropriate is more art than science. If you journal for a few minutes every week, you’ll start seeing trends and will be able to judge for yourself whether you need to work hard to restore balance right away or continue with a narrower focus for a while.
Balance is not Motionless
Balance is a shifting, moving target. It’s not about keeping everything in perfect order, perfectly weighted in all areas of your life. That’s a recipe for even more stress because you can’t really achieve it. Imagine walking or running. In order to move forward, you have to be constantly shifting your balance from side to side. We do it so well that we appear perfectly balanced but some might say that you’re almost always off balance and in the process of correcting it.
If life is a journey, then we need to keep moving forward. And in order to move forward, we need to understand that we’ll be constantly shifting and changing and adjusting things to maintain balance. That’s to be expected so it’s definitely okay. Do the things describe above and keep your heart open to the Holy Spirit, and you’ll be able to maintain a well-balanced, joyful and productive life!