As a personal coach and a personal trainer, I see a similar theme that runs through most of my clients’ lives. That theme is a feeling of being unbalanced, a feeling of being overly stressed most of the time, a feeling of being pulled in too many directions and not having much control. It is a common belief that this is just how their lives are and there really is no choice. When I start working with people, many of them do not even recognize that they have the right stand up for themselves and their health. They don’t realize that they have the right to set boundaries with people and situations in order to protect themselves. Their needs always seem to be pushed to the bottom of the list, while they try to satisfy everyone else’s needs and desires. I don’t believe that this is healthy in the long run.

Each of us must recognize that you cannot live for other people, for your job, for anyone or anything else but yourself. The bottom line is that when you are happier, more content, and more balanced as an individual, you are then able to give the best of yourself to those important people and things in your life. When you are not taking care of yourself, you are not giving the best of yourself to anyone. This only short changes your loved ones, your job, and most importantly you are short changing yourself and your life. During this time, many people are probably feeling more unbalanced, unstable, and stressed than usual. The economy is not doing well, so you might worry about your job and finances.

The world seems to be unraveling. Your perception of security and safety because of the events of September 11th has been greatly altered. There is not much out there that seems controllable or for that matter even predictable. I know that I wake up everyday and think, “what will happen today”. When I see people gathered around television sets I automatically think, “what is going on now”. I realize and have accepted that I don’t know what is going to happen in the future. No one does. I have also realized that while living a balanced life was difficult before these events, they seem almost impossible now. However, in order to keep a rational perspective on the events going on around us, as well as to be able to enjoy our lives as much as possible, living a balanced life is even more important now.

Creating and living a more balanced life really includes three major steps. The first is learning and creating awareness around the fact that you are the most important person in your life. By this I do not mean that you should neglect your loved ones and those who depend on you. However, you must believe that you and your health should be your top priority in order to live your best life. If you do not take care of yourself, who will? If you do not schedule time for those activities that refuel you instead of drain you, who will? If you live with no reserves of time, energy, and love, it is like you are running on a treadmill and will never catch up. You are not ahead of anything and you definitely feel behind everything. This is not an enjoyable way to live. It is tiring and stressful. Ultimately, the effects that this has on your health are detrimental. You must take care of yourself, mentally, emotionally, physically, and spiritually, because no one else will. Without your health there is little else.

As you begin to recognize that you and your health should be the highest priority in your life, you must then learn to set boundaries and eliminate tolerations, which are those things that drain your energy. To live a balanced life you must learn what you need in order to be refueled, you then must have the courage to implement those things into your daily life. I believe that exercise is one thing that everyone must do in order to be healthy, mentally, emotionally, physically, and spiritually.

Most everyone is aware of all the many physical benefits of regular physical activity, but there are so many mental, emotional, and spiritual benefits as well. For example, physical activity burns off stress hormones, which can become toxic to the mind and the body if they are allowed to build up over a period of time. Physical activity has also been proven to relieve depression and anxiety because of the endorphins it releases in the brain. I believe that regular exercise also helps connect people’s minds to their bodies. For so long the mind and the body have been treated as two completely separate entities, when in actuality everything you do to your mind affects your physical body, and everything you do to your physical body affects your mind. You learn what your limits are; you also learn that your mind tells you to stop long before the body has too.

We are also a society that has been taught that we should be embarrassed about our bodies, especially women. If your body does not look like those in the magazines you begin to believe that your body is “bad and unattractive”. However, I say be proud and appreciate your body for what it can do and stop judging it so harshly on what it cannot do or how it looks. It is truly an amazing creation. Weight training is wonderful because as you grow stronger, you learn to appreciate your body and respect it You also learn how much control you really do have over your life because you can control changes that happen within yourself. Exercising regularly and participating in physical activity is about so much more than just losing weight.

I believe that it ultimately leads you to respect your body and your health more, which means you are less likely to engage in behaviors that are detrimental. You are also more likely to eat healthier and get adequate rest because you know the benefits of feeling good and being healthy. As you learn to respect and appreciate your body and your health more, you are also less likely to allow others to take advantage of you. You are more likely to stand up for yourself and set boundaries. You will create time each day for you and your health. You will eliminate those things and people from your life that drain you and do not refuel you. Each person is just as important as the next person, but only you have the power to control and set boundaries in order protect yourself and your health. But you first must believe that you are important enough to do so.

The final step is learning how to live in the moment. When you learn the importance of focusing on what you are doing, when you are doing it, you will realize how much you have been missing. How many times have you eaten a meal while doing a million other things and barely taste your food? How often do you drive to work or run errands while thinking about a million things and don’t even remember how you got to your destination? How often are you really present with the people you spend time with? How often do you accept and love them for who they are in that moment, instead of judging them based on your values and standards? How many sunrises and sunsets have you missed lately? Or how often do you see the beautifully colored trees in the fall, or the new growth in the spring? These are all amazing things and most of us take many, if not all of them, for granted.

So you must learn to live in the moment and to become aware of everything you do, everything you are involved in, and everything you feel. This also helps to decrease anxiety and stress because you are not creating problems for yourself in your head. While you are living in the moment, and dealing with what is going on in the present, you begin to see that you can handle what is given to you. There is no need to create more problems for yourself by worrying about what you believe “might” happen. Just focus on what you have to deal with right now. All you really have is this moment anyway, right? So why not live in it.

Things right now seem very unsettled, and they very well may feel this way from this point forward. However, we will adapt to our new environment as well as to our new feelings of insecurity. We will learn that it is possible to live our lives with a balance, and we will slowly learn how to do this. As individuals we each must decide what is important to us in our lives, and then create our lives with that intention or purpose in mind. This is the only way we will live our best lives. We may not always be able to control the things that are happening around us and even to us, but we are always able to control how we respond. We have the choice to respond by feeling stressed all the time, being pulled in a million different directions, allowing others to lead our lives where they want them to go. Or we can respond by saying that this is my life, and while I may not know what will be happening tomorrow, I am going to choose to live my best life today.

Author's Bio: 

Kim Eickhoff,
I help people end the struggle with losing weight and improve their
health and well-being. Email: kim@workingitoutwithin.com; Website:
www.workingitoutwithin.com