Some Thoughts on Balance

January 5, 2016  Posted in: Addictions, How To's, Stress Reduction

Balance can be defined as the ability to respond to any demand and maintain an effective equilibrium. It is a dynamic process rather than a static state. Most often, it is the negative that people become aware of or talk about-the distress or experience of being off-balance-caused by demands that exceed our ability to cope and that detract from our well-being. Since balancing is a dynamic process, we must be aware and ready to self-correct continuously.

Demands may come from the external (people, places, things, situations), or they may be internal (thoughts, feelings, physical reactions, actions, choices). The latter is the most important cause of distress, or of being off-balance, for any of us. As a result of the various demands, we respond physiologically (increased heart rate, sweating, rapid and shallow breathing, muscle tightness), psychologically (worry, anxiety, guilt, poor concentration, racing thoughts) and behaviourally (increase in smoking, use of alcohol, drugs, nail biting, compulsive eating, reckless behaviour, overwork, compulsive behaviours, self-isolation).

Our beliefs and attitudes cause us to perceive events in our lives in our own specific ways, giving rise to thoughts, feelings and behaviours that might be out of balance.

If the balance in my life is, for the most part, of my own making, the only question I need to ask is: “What am I going to do about it?” Blaming someone or something else is pointless, and blaming myself or feeling guilty only exacerbates the problem. The one place I have the ability to effect change is within myself. This takes time and dedication, and the rewards can be enormous.

As I begin to work on myself, I must develop three important attitudes (sunmed up as “H.O.W”):

  1. Honesty: with myself, primarily-about my needs, wants, feelings, expectations, attitudes and so on.
  2. Openness: to change to new ways of thinking, feeling and acting.
  3. Willingness: to do whatever needs to be done to eliminate the distress and get myself back into balance.

Five other important requirements for working on myself and learning to develop a sense of balance are:

  1. Awareness: Self-searching needs to become a regular habit to develop a sense of balance. I need to become aware of how I am affected physiologically, psychologically and behaviourally. I need to know what I am responding to and what my expectations are. I need to know when I am on-balance and when I am off-balance, so that I can course-correct.
  2. Acknowledgement: Tell another or others. This breaks the cycle of internalizing the thoughts and feelings. It helps increase the awareness. and it helps lead to acceptance.
  3. Acceptance: Before I can change anything, I must genuinely accept my circumstance, that is, that I am 100 per cent accountable for where I’m at. For example, an alcoholic has no hope of recovery until he accepts the fact that he’s an alcoholic. Acceptance doesn’t mean that I have to like what I’m accepting. It just means that I recognize: “What is, is”-for now. “I’m off-balance. Now what?”
  4. Action: I must decide what I can do to resolve my difficulty, and do it. It helps me to have a good support system to provide the support necessary to take action that differs from my habitual actions.
  5. Appreciation: I might fall short of what my “ideal” is, but I can look at what I did and appreciate the effort I put in and the progress I am making. I should seek progress, not perfection, and spend some time focusing on what is working for me.

    – Derek C. LaCroix, QC


    If you would like to speak to LAPBC counsellor on a strictly confidential basis, contact us at 604.685.2171 or 1.888.685.2171 or ( info (at) lapbc (dot) com.

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