Balance. The word is searched 40,500 per month in the U.S. according to one search engine tracker. It appears there are some folks out there feeling out of balance and wanting to find a way to achieve that seemingly elusive state of balance—which is purported to be so healthy. But why? Try to pause for a moment and think about what “balance” means. What comes to mind?
If you consider balancing on a surfboard, you might realize you only attain brief moments of balance. Yet, balance is exactly how one is able to ride the wave.
Or maybe finance came to mind and you thought of having a balanced checkbook. Or a balanced banking records. (I recognize the number of people that use checkbooks is dwindling.) Surely everyone can relate to understanding that more money has to come in than go out and that it causes significant problems if outgoing expenses exceed income.
Another image that may have come to mind is balancing scales. Like the image of the blindfolded Lady Justice statue holding balanced scales. The statue portrays that balance is fairness and justice.
With each of these three examples, no wonder people would like to attain balance in their lives. Somewhere deep within our cells, we know that balance equates with our best most healthy state of being—and that being out of balance can create chaos, depression and dis-ease.
So often I hear people describe their need for “work-life” balance. This makes me sad ascareer fields and human resource programs has mushroomed to focus on achieving work-life balance—which misses the point and only leads to more imbalance. We are so much more than work and life. It’s also not a 50-50 split between the two.
I have spent years researching and assessing a number of aspects (or ingredients to living) that create and inhibit balance in people’s lives. Moreover, my research revealed why certain problems were occurring in people’s lives based on an area that was “out of balance.” I found that people would compensate for the ‘drought’ in an undeveloped area of their life and would consistently present with the same chief complaints as other people with similar undeveloped areas. The consistencies were amazing and led to new and simpler solutions. I found clients’ presenting issues declined in a much faster way than the traditional therapies I used in the past. All because of a simple re-balancing of other areas in their lives.
Admittedly the assessment is a bit more complex than can be conveyed in a blog post. I can, however, share the twelve areas that need attention in your life. I can also tell you that if even one area is not tended to, it will show up in other areas of your life. It could be subtle at first like a small faucet drip that can grow to a complete plumbing disaster if not addressed right away. So look at these areas and consider if any are underdeveloped OR OVERDEVELOPED. Ultimately, you are your own best healer and somewhere inside you will ‘feel’ a nag or tug about what needs attention.
Twelve Essentials for Balance
1. Spirit – Spirit means “breath of life” and composes the more ethereal aspect of life. Some say God while other appeal to a Higher Power. Spirit is the connection with the Divine. With something bigger, even if like with math, the Greater Flow has some type of purpose and rhythm that you can trust.
2. Purpose—Purpose is the larger meaning to life that drives, inspires and motivates. It suggests and reinforces we have something to contribute and a reason to live, learn and share.
3. Love—Love is love for mankind, for family and friends, for a beloved partner, for animals, for life. It is not dissimilar from Spirit yet is more concrete in the material world and shows up as a love for the people in our life and all around us.
4. Environment—People thrive in certain environments. Are your immediate surroundings neglected or cared for? It makes a difference. Is the overall environment a place where you can thrive or do you feel its lacking like a plant in a closet?
5. Intimacy—Intimacy means closeness. Closeness to another individual where you can truly be your most authentic and vulnerable self. Such “true” intimate relationships are safe, loving and affirming of who you really are and, simultaneously you are also able to be safe, loving, accepting, and affirming of the other person for their real self (as opposed to image, status or ego projections). Some would call it Soul-to-Soul connection.
6. Body—Your body is your beloved vessel. How do you treat it? More important, do you listen to its needs and treat it responsibly as you would care for a growing baby? Your body is often your biggest communicator about how you feel in the world and with others and where to go and what to do, yet people often shut it up by numbing, gorging, belittling, abusing, and ignoring. Take time to listen and feel your body, especially any aches and pains. Then take care of it.
7. Mind—We were given brains to use, to exercise, and to learn. The use of our mind is essential for brain cell growth and renewal throughout our lifetime. What are you doing to exercise and grow your mind? Keep challenging your mind to learn new things. Read books, learn a language, take classes, learn about other cultures.
8. Social—Do you have a support group of healthy friends? Do you participate in groups? Beware of isolating and shutting off from the world. Cultivate connection with others and develop healthy social networks of friends (true friendships, business networking doesn’t count here).
9. Service—Service includes giving back to the world and others around you. Volunteer, help a neighbor, do something good for someone else each day. Smile at others and be willing to be of service wherever you go.
10. Nature—This is one of the most neglected aspects of many people’s lives. Get outside and commune with nature. Go on a hike or at least a walk. Feed the ducks (veggies, not bread as bread harms them). Go fishing. Tend to your garden. Get in nature every day for as long as you can. (Of course, don’t forget your sunscreen.)
11. Family—We have family of origins and families of creation. Basically, spend time with those you love. Don’t take them for granted. You can double up on some of these too by spending time in nature with your family (family hike, camping trip, picnics) or planting gardens for communities in need (volunteering with family) or taking a class with a loved one (Parlez-vous Francais?).
12. You—Know thyself. Listen to your Intuition and find what’s true for you—the Higher-Self part you (as opposed to the insecure ego-driven you). Learn to differentiate the voices inside and find the calm higher truth and then go live your truth.
Happy & Most Blessed Balance Wishes and Prayers Your Way!
For more information or to book Kimberly Key a Austin counselor & speaker, to speak at your event, click here.
About Kimberly Key
A sought after speaker, Kimberly has a genuine talent for connecting with audiences and translating complex research into tangible nuggets of insight. A board certified counselor and mediator, Kimberly is also a former environmental researcher and entrepreneur that has successfully launched products and businesses. She draws from these skills and experiences to help audiences grow in their own business and career pursuits.
Kimberly specializes in helping people evolve in today’s global marketplace. As president of the National Employment Counseling Association, she keeps her finger on the pulse of employment trends and global economic conditions. She utilizes her research to help audiences and clients get ahead of the curve. She provides real world solutions that fit today’s changing times.
Kimberly is author of “Ten Keys to Staying Empowered in a Power Struggle,” and Founder and Chief Empathy Officer of Encompass Work & Family, Keys to Evolution and InstantMotivator.com, where she focuses on unlocking barriers that block natural mental health. As an associate with the international firm, Human Research, she has collaborated on research aimed at helping people adapt to challenging economic times and career instability. She is a board certified counselor and mediator with her M.A. in marriage and family therapy (COAMFTE accred.) and counseling & educational psychology (CACREP accred.) and her post-graduate work focused on career impacts on mental health and family functioning. She is a frequent contributor to a number of blogs, including “Psychology Today” and has been featured in the LA Times and other Tribune papers along with a number of specialized business publications and online programs.