Finding a Balance: Ten Life Lessons for Healing Harried Lives, Part 2

by DR. MOM®


What specific things can I do to downscale and simplify my life?

6. Resolve to Grow Older, Not Just Get Older.

Simplifying doesn’t mean we stop risking and growing; it’s about uncluttering our lives to focus more energy on our continued self-discovery and healthy risk-taking outside our comfort zone. The process of personal growth is a lifelong journey that is enhanced by the conviction that “the best is yet to come.” Our accumulated wisdom allows us to grow in understanding and self-acceptance if we are willing to fully experience and integrate the pain and changes that our journey brings. Our lives become unbalanced if we are preoccupied with losing our youth, vitality, appearance, influence, etc., instead of focusing on what still can be in our roles as mentors, volunteers, grandparents, sages, and elders. At every age, a future orientation is critical to our mental and physical well-being, since hope must always co-exist with memory. The most significant events of our lives may occur at any age.

What meaningful goals have I put on hold that I could now pursue?

7. Choose a Positive Attitude and Resolve to Use Adversity for Growth.

Adversity is an inevitable part of life, and painful experiences can be our teacher. We learn to reconcile life’s inevitable losses as we acknowledge the positives that emerge from the trans-forming events in our lives. Emotional pain reminds us that we need one another on our journey and that we are not self-sufficient. Wounded healers use our own experience of pain as a source of healing power to comfort others. Accepting life’s losses inspires us to live more passionately in the present and with a spirit of gratitude. By remembering, reframing, and reinterpreting past events, we can “rewrite” our past in a way that makes it more usable to us today.

What painful experience has been my teacher?

8. Invest in the Welfare of Others and in Healthy Relationships.

Our deepest needs are satisfied by our relationships, not our accomplishments. Our life anchors are in people. Healthy, balanced relationships foster our sense of community, restore our perspective, and improve our outlook. Quality friendships can be a vital source of strength and stability during life’s storms, and making a positive difference in the lives of others provides one of the most rewarding experiences life has to offer. Yet, those who labor under the burden of toxic role overload have little time or emotional energy to live in the present moment and fully attend to one another. Don’t let toxic role overload allow your home to become the place you go when you’re tired of taking care of everyone else.

How can I use what I am learning to improve my relationships?

9. Cultivate a Humor Perspective.

Laughter defuses tension, lights up your face, relaxes your muscles, restores your perspective, shrinks your problems, buoys your spirits, aids healing, and helps the immune system. Humor can serve as a balance pole that helps us navigate the precarious tightrope of life. A sense of humor promotes optimism and joyful living. Lighten up, and don’t take yourself so seriously.

What funny personal anecdote has changed my perspective about a stressful situation?

10. Practice and Model Self Care.

We nurture others from our own emotional overflow. When we are depleted, we lose our enthusiasm and efficiency, and the attribute patients value most–compassion. Self-care is not selfish; it is self-preservation. To take care of ourselves, we have to be willing to take. The ultimate form of giving is to be a gracious recipient of care by others. Recognize that life is an alternating rhythm of serving and being filled. Choose life-giving coping mechanisms that improve our emotional awareness, strengthen our relationships, enhance our intimacy and sense of connection, and raise our self-esteem (talking, journaling, reading, exercising, experiencing nature, deep breathing, meditation, prayer, healthy eating, music, hobbies, movies, pets, volunteering, sleeping, pampering, etc.).

What can I begin doing to take better care of myself?

 Action Promise:  What specific action(s) will I begin to take
to improve the quality of my journey?


Copyright © 2011  Marianne Neifert, MD, MTS     May be duplicated if authorship is cited.