When we think about balance, a lot of people think of juggling multiple things at once, but it’s truly quite the opposite. Balance is about avoiding excess, feeling stable, and taking it steady. So, in a world that demands constant productivity and values excess, how do we find balance when the world is telling us“more, more, more!” Here are 3 ways practicing mindfulness helps us maintain balance.
1. Understand mindfulness
What is mindfulness? “Mindfulness means maintaining a moment-by-moment awareness of our thoughts, feelings, bodily sensations, and surrounding environment, through a gentle, nurturing lens.
Mindfulness also involves acceptance, meaning that we pay attention to our thoughts and feelings without judging them—without believing, for instance, that there’s a “right” or “wrong” way to think or feel in a given moment” (Berkely.edu, 2020). More simply, mindfulness means being aware of your needs, feelings, and desires without judging yourself. It means discovering what you truly need to feel okay. It means discovering what fulfillment looks like to you, not how society or the people around are framing your needs. Mindfulness, in and of itself, is balance.
Of course, we are social beings who desire acceptance and belonging. But, we must find a balance between this basic need of acceptance and realizing our innermost desires. One way you can do this is through meditation. Meditation can take different forms. It can be journaling, taking a walk, painting, writing, exercising, or even just lying down. It just requires thought. When you find yourself feeling unhappy or happy, ask yourself why, and let that lead you deeper into contemplating what fulfillment truly means to you.
2. See balance as an everchanging situation and journey, not a conquest.
Yes, balance can mean order and everything being in place. But, sometimes life is haphazard, it is everchanging, and the best thing we can do is accept how we feel in the moment and try to move forward. If you are tired, anxious, sad, going through feelings of unfairness, or angry, it’s best to accept these feelings, rather than try to make them disappear for the sake of “achieving order.”
Yes, these types of emotions can make us feel unstable, but there’s a difference between saying,“Okay, I understand how I feel, but I can’t deal with this right now because of A, B, or C” and saying,“No, these things I’m feeling don’t exist. I shouldn’t feel this way. It doesn’t matter. I need to get rid of these feelings.” Mindfulness helps us find balance in these moments by helping us to accept our humanity during situations that require perseverance. There has to be a balance between emotionalism and rationality.
3. Be aware of the impact of excess.
One of the best examples of consistent excess in our lives is overworking. When we think of excess, we often think of indulgence. But, all excess means is “more than necessary” or a “lack of moderation” (Webster Dictionary, 2023). Excess can take place in our lives in many different ways that we are not taught because society rewards certain things when they’re in excess.
A prime example is working. There are instances where hard work is definitely a positive, but in excess, the scales begin to tilt and become unbalanced. Burnout, fatigue, numbness, migraines, and many other symptoms are signs that you are working in excess. Yes, depending on your situation, there may not be much of a choice, but the key is to be aware that excess is occurring because you cannot normalize it. When you normalize it, there might come a time when you don’t have to work in excess but you do anyways because it feels so normal.
Overall, balance means something different to everyone, but most of all, know that you deserve fulfillment, grace, and rest.
Coverphoto cred: Webdoctor