Zen Garden
Creative Commons License photo credit: euart

Haider Al-Mosawi from Personal Growth Map recently wrote a guest post over at Zen Habits. He first explains why you need to have balance in your life and then shares how a personal growth map can help you achieve your life balance goals.

Why Do You Need Balance In Your Life?

Here is what I’m taking away from Haider Al-Mosawi’s case for practicing the art of life balance…

  • All areas of your life are important and none of them should be neglected.

Haider Al-Mosawi’ writes: “Imagine neglecting your health for one year while you focus on your work.”

  • Each of us lives a holistic integrated life. Your body, mind, and spirit are connected. Different areas in your life are intertwined and neglecting one area can disable other areas in your life.

Haider Al-Mosawi’ writes: “You can advance your career by having good social connections and you can enhance your family life by having good health and vitality.”

Your family life can also suffer if you are neglecting your health and live in a state of exhaustion.

  • If you are not paying attention to certain areas in your life, you will feel out of control. This happens to me all of the time. If I lose sight of eating healthy, chips and ice cream are somehow consumed. If I’m not focusing on my fitness goals, I sit on the couch instead of moving my body. If I’m not making an effort to spend time with friends and family, I don’t get out and socialize.

Haider Al-Mosawi’ writes: “One of the main reasons why we experience stress in life is because we feel we don’t have control over our lives.

  • Practicing the art of life balance can bring more happiness into your life. It is not about reaching some end of the rainbow state of balance, it is about experiencing the life balance journey.

Haider Al-Mosawi’ writes: “No matter how minor the activity is, as long as you are advancing each life area, you are making progress and experiencing a degree of balance in your life.”

Although there are many components to focus on (body, mind, spirit, social, etc) I think there is one component of the life balance journey that we cannot afford to forget.

And that is…

STILLNESS.

Le printemps au château de Chamarande, Chamrande, France 2008 (HDR)
Creative Commons License photo credit: Baloulumix


Share your thoughts in the comments section….

Why do you need balance in your life and what action steps are you taking to advance in different areas of your life?

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Showing 34 comments
  • Jeremie

    In the past year and a half I have moved, changed jobs, had a son, starting my coach training, and started a blog. I need balance in my life to keep it all going until some of my plans take effect and I successfully reorganize my life into the new image I have created for it.

    Some of my action steps:
    1. Coach training at ICA: this actually has a bunch of smaller action steps built in, but the purpose is to create a new career that allows me to spend more time with my famiily.
    2. Hire a babysitter: my wife and I both love to mountain bike, but with our 18 month old son we haven’t been able to bike together. Now we have a babysitter come in once a week to look after our son so we can spend couple time together.
    3. Writing blog posts: Right now I post three times a week: one content post, my weekly action list, and my accountability for my weekly actions at the end of the week.
    4. Read half an hour of fiction each night: I was getting way to absorbed in reading non-fiction for my classes, so I now set aside some time to read for myself as well.
    5. Stop typing on the internet: my son just handed me a book to read to him, so out of the blue a new action step for balance: end this comment and read a book with my son.

    Great post!

    Jeremie

    Jeremie´s last blog post..Sunday Night Success Evolves

  • Balance is very important and your blogs always remind me of that. I like this short story about why balance is important.

    The story of filling the jar with golf balls first (the “big stuff” important things in your life), so you have room for the pebbles (slightly less important), and the sand (minor stuff). If you fill your jar with sand first, you have no room for the pebbles or the golf balls. DO not neglect what is important to you and always make room for the balls! 🙂

    Julie – Inspired to Write´s last blog post..Who is your folk hero?

  • Vered - MomGrind

    I completely agree about stillness. But I have to admit hell is likely to freeze over before I can sit still for more than a couple of minutes. 🙂

    Vered – MomGrind´s last blog post..Happy Mother’s Day To The Moms Who Blog

  • Positively Present

    I think balance is so important — in every aspect of life. No matter what you are talking about in life, balance is usually the answer. It’s not always easy for me to find and I have a hard time being still. This afternoon I was in a meeting and was SO anxious. I have trouble just being. I have to admit that looking at the photo above made me feel very at peace. Great choice! I’m still working on finding balance in my life, but I do agree that it’s SO, SO important. I’ll be coming back to this post to remind myself of this often!

    Positively Present´s last blog post..break the chains of adversity in 7 (sort of) easy steps

  • Mindful Mimi

    Stacey,
    I know balance is important and I try to find it whenever I can. And I often manager pretty well. But sometimes, even if I get enough ME time, stillness, creative outpour etc I still feel unbalanced. And I try to find out why. I believe it’s an ongoing journey which changes its course and you have to keep looking for it, or creating it.

    Mindful Mimi´s last blog post..The creative process is a process of surrender, not control — Julia Cameron

  • J.D. Meier

    I’m a fan of balance and cycles.

    Sometimes, it’s OK for the cycle you’re in to be out of balance. For example, when I bootstrap a project, my life is out of balance, but then I correct course later in the cycle. It’s the ebb and flow of life.

    To stay in balance, I focus on my hot spots: mind, body, emotions, career, financial, relationships, and fun. As long as I invest in those, the rest of life takes care of itself.

    J.D. Meier´s last blog post..3 Stories Leaders Need to Tell

  • Teri Lynne

    I agree that balance is vital to a contented, peaceful life. And it is the pursuit that eludes so many of us. I do think, though, that there are times when we must lay aside “good” things to focus on “best” things … for example, there are seasons when I am less focused on one area of my life because there is another area that needs more attention. Part of balance is being willing to continually adjust priorities and reset goals. Every season of life (and sometimes it seems every week!) brings new challenges and living in balance in a world that is moving at such a hectic pace around us requires that we be continually re-evaluating priorities, activities, and time considerations to keep that much-desired balance. I often encourage those I mentor to set goals for just one or two areas of their lives at a time. For example, if one is trying to develop a healthy lifestyle, I would encourage her to set a small goal of say walking thirty mintues, three times a week. And work toward attaining that before adding another level to reaching the goal. I think balance is found in understanding our own limits – and learning to say no! It is hard to say no to the many “good” things in life … but living in balance allows us to experience only the very best things. What a great way to live! Excellent post! I love your blog!!

    Teri Lynne´s last blog post..Looking for a great Bible study for older youth or younger adults? Check this out!!

  • Suzie Cheel

    Stillnes is so important and yesterday I discovered for me I need more self care so enjoyed treating myself to a bath and sat in stillness and asked and received
    One area of my life that was out of balance

    Suzie Cheel´s last blog post..Super Abundant Bloggers # 9

  • Audra Krell

    Being out of control/balance has more than a trickle down affect on my family. It’s like a tidal wave that rushes over them and then their lives are out of control. It inspires me to think about getting my life in order when I know that it will change my children’s, husband’s and other family members lives. I started yoga a few days ago, and it’s a big step for me. The whole class is full of skinny people that look wonderful in their outfits. The room is kept between 102 and 105 degrees, heat and I don’t mix well. But after just a few classes, I feel like a new person, physically and emotionally, so I’m not giving up. I know I’m going to be better for others and I feel really good when I put others first.

    Audra Krell´s last blog post..Abandoned Inside

  • kip de Moll

    For 20 years, my life was very out of balance, I was doing all the right things (ie work, family, play), but for many of the wrong reasons. It was all messed up and unproductive, until I took a big step back and looked at what I really wanted iin my life. Having repressed the negative for so many years, the energy came out in wierd compulsive behaviors.

    Now finally writing and playiing music, expressing my heart fully and openly, the behaviors have vanished and life feels very much in balance.

  • Jeremie – Five live changing events in 18 months is never an easy task. I want to acknowledge you for knowing what you need to experience a sense of balance in your life. Finding a babysitter is high on my priority list this year.

    Julie – Thanks for sharing your short story. Focusing on the larger golf balls first seems to be the key to success.

    Vered – Never say never. 🙂

    Positively Present – Thanks for recently being positively present on my blog. Being still is a challenge for me too. I’m very close to starting my meditation practice and although I know the benefits I recognize that I am anxious to start my daily practice of being still.

    Mimi – Me too. Sometimes (like today) I’m just not balanced. I try to use this time to gather lessons learned…but I’ll be the first to admit that I don’t like feeling off balance.

    J.D. – Thanks for talking about being out of balance. I’m out of balance right now and recognize it is all part of a natural cycle. It’s not fun, but it is natural.

    Teri
    – Yes! The pursuit does elude most of us, but in reality, it is ALL about the pursuit. I like what you said about having to “continually adjust priorities and reset goals”. Life management is an important aspect of life balance.

    Suzie – Yeah for Suzie! I’m excited and anxious to start my new meditation (stillness) practice.

    Audra
    – Thank you for sharing your story. You are exhibiting pure beauty just by showing up for class!

    Kip – You are always such an inspiration. May we all live our authentic lives to the fullest.

  • Giovanna Garcia

    Hi~
    I like you post on balance and think that is essential that we all balance all areas of your life. As you stated, they are all equally important and none of them should be neglected.
    🙂
    Giovanna Garcia
    Imperfect Action is better than no Action

  • lisa

    It’s so easy to surrender your life to all the “should do’s”. The one thing I do religiously is plan an outing every weekend with the kids, to some community event or attraction. This gets us away from the endless home chores so that we can truly enjoy ourselves as a family.

    lisa´s last blog post..The Vancouver Children’s Festival

  • Lance

    Hi Stacey,
    I crave stillness. To the point that I probably fall out of balance in the area of sleep – so that I can have that stillness in the early morning hours. As I type this, I wonder how this all affects my own personal balance – giving up one thing (sleep) to get another (stillness). I’m not sure what the answer is, or if there is some medium ground to look at. What I do know is that this time is important to me.

    And I have also noticed that what I focus on gets my attention. I’m beginning to put more focus back on exercise right now, as that’s another area that has fallen out of balance.

    I think that your last bullet point, about this being a journey, is an important tihng to keep in mind when thinking about life balance. Some days will be better than others, and in the end, we remember that the end is not what it was all about…

    Lance´s last blog post..As Close To Eden As You’ll Get

  • Giovanna – I hear you. It’s about self love, not self neglect.

    Lisa – I say thumbs down to “should dos” – although I do recognize they are part of my life. I love getting out of the house far far away from my regular routines.

    Lance – I crave stillness too. I’m noticing, however, that I am also avoiding stillness. There is SO much I want to accomplish in my life that my ego loudly tells me that there is no time for stillness. But in my heart my authentic voice is telling me that in stillness lies the answers for which I have been searching. P.S. > Sleep is very very important. 🙂

  • Tess The Bold Life

    Thanks for sharing parts of this very powerful article. I missed it. Being stressed because we don’t have control makes so much sense. My husband lost his job 2 weeks ago and I’m freakin out. Of course he is very calm and trusting. I do take time for stillness and gratitude daily so that always helps:)

    Tess The Bold Life´s last blog post..Monday Magic Freebie Cheryl Richardson’s New Book

  • Tess – I hear meditation (stillness) calms the soul in the midst of chaos. Wishing you the best during this stressful time.

  • Gavin

    I love the closing thought and image…STILLNESS. Beautiful picture and important concept. Can we expect an expanded post on STILLNESS any time soon? (My first time here so I’ll search the site, but I didn’t see anything right off.)

    Nice job,
    Gavin

  • Daphne @ Joyful Days

    Stacey,

    I like the way you wrote STILLNESS in large bold letters. Like Vered, I have great problems sitting still for even two minutes. Yet over the years I have felt myself becoming more still.

    Balance for me often works like a pendulum. I used to work too much and have no time for myself, so I worked consciously to change that. Now the pendulum has swung the other way and I crave more work because I have enough personal time. I’m not sure if the perfect balance will ever be found. I suspect the pendulum will swing all my life, the only difference being maybe I can control the timing and magnitude of the swings.

  • Jannie Funster

    I think I need balance in my life becuase it’s a pysiologically inherited componet of humanity.

    What steps am I taking? Well, I should set my kitchen timer to allow 30 minute blocks of house-work, bill sorting / pay, song work, personal snailmail corespondence, exercise, blogging. But so far today it seems blogging is taking front seat. I’ll get to the “shoulds” later.

    No, wait, I did load the dishwasher earlier, even put in soap and pushed the button to start it!

    Jannie Funster´s last blog post..Ordering The Funsterment

  • Tess The Bold Life

    Stacey,
    funny you should mention meditation. I’m doing that as well. now if I would have been doing that before this happened I’d probably be a lot calmer! better late than never eh?

    Tess The Bold Life´s last blog post..Monday Magic Freebie Cheryl Richardson’s New Book

  • MGL in Mo.

    I find that to be balanced i have to meditate eat and exercise regularly.

  • Gavin – Yes. You can expect to read more about stillness on my blog!

    Daphne – I am also stillness-challenged, but I’m committed to starting my meditation practice very soon (this time I mean it).

    Jannie – I know, there is so much to do in 24 short hours a day.

    Tess
    – Yes! Better late than never.

    MGL – I have not started my regular meditation practice yet, but I must eat healthy and exercise on a regular basis to feel balanced.

  • Stacey Shipman

    I agree that stress is often about feeling out of control whether it’s related to career, relationships, finances, or health for example. I think the lack of balance is in our thinking too much (mind) about things instead of doing something about it (body or action).

    And I don’t know where I’d be without stillness. And it took me several years to find it. Stillness us a chance to seek truth, which is what makes it so challenging.

    Stacey Shipman´s last blog post..Podcast Wednesday: Interview with Karl Staib of Work Happy Now

  • Balance is so important. It’s really easy to see this truth if you look at it from the other side of the coin – imbalance. Imbalance creates negative energy somewhere in your life, it’s inevitable. Focus too much on work and stress develops. Focus on others completely and you lose track of yourself. With the pace at which most people live today, stillness can be the ultimate counterweight.

    Thanks Stacey!
    Jake

    Jake | Revive Your Life´s last blog post..Identifying and Overcoming Career Burnout

  • Stacey Shipman – You inspire me to be still. I can hear the importance of stillness through many of your posts and podcasts.

    Jake – Thank you for your comment. When anyone questions the importance of balance turning it upside down is a great place to continue the conversation. I don’t think anyone wants to feel the sense of imbalance.

  • Ananga

    Thanks for a thought provoking post. I like your point “different areas in your life are intertwined and neglecting one area can disable other areas in your life”. Something that we easily overlook I think, especially when we are out of balance!

    Stillness is definitely the key. My spiritual master once told me “If you want to know what God wants, sit down and listen. You can’t hear Him when you’re rushing around.”

    Ananga´s last blog post..Stress Relief Techniques: 5 Things I Learned from Spying on Calm People

  • Davina

    Balance is boring! Falling down is fun 🙂 Ok, all kidding aside, in a perfect world I aspire towards balance. But… realistically, believe me… it’s tough to live a balanced life these days. I wonder if balance really exists?

    Davina´s last blog post..Positively Breathing — Not According to Plan

  • Ananga – I can’t hear anything when I’m running around. That is why my official meditation practice started yesterday.

    Davina – Balance is not boring. In fact, there is lots of room to fall down when practicing the art of life balance. 🙂

  • Barbara Swafford

    Hi Stacey,

    Stillness to me is very important, however, I know I don’t get enough of it. Just looking at the beautiful photo you shared was a great reminder to make it a priority.

    Barbara Swafford´s last blog post..Turn It Upside Down

  • Barbara – I continue to return to that beautiful photo and am wondering if I can create a room in my house that somehow represents the stillness of that photo.

  • This is great — right after I leave this comment, I’m going to go read the full article at Zen Habits. My blog is centered around becoming the best version of ME, and I use the Lifestyle Map to (try to) maintain balance. Each month, I choose goals in each of the Lifestyle Categories — it helps me see if there’s a part of me that I’m neglecting. For example, I know that I’ve been very “bad” about seeing friends in a social realm. I need to make a point to go for a walk or get coffee with a girlfriend.

    kirwin @ Graceful Creative´s last blog post..Edit, Add, Appreciate – May 17

  • Kirwin – Thank you for sharing your life balance process. It sounds similar to mine. I’m heading over to your blog right now.

  • SpinDiva

    This is a great post. So much truth. I have a list of things I want to do to create more balance in my life, along side a list of things I am doing.

    1. blogging on both my health and fitness blog to help others achieve their goals – this is part of my Personal Training job that allows me the flexibility I need to raise my family. Blogging on my early morning peace blog– well that’s where I get to vent, share, think, and be reminded to life one day at a time.

    2. Exercise. Nothing feels as good (to me) as that release of endorphin after a good hard workout. So I try not to miss any days without some type of physical of activity.

    3. Eating better…

    4. Making time, even if I have to schedule it and pay my older kids to watch the younger kids, to spend time alone, with friends or with my husband.

    Love this blog. Very refreshing. Thanks.

    SpinDiva´s last blog post..Consitency is key for long term fitness