Finding Balance, a Reflection

Finding Balance, a Reflection

One of the most important principles in establishing a sense of wellbeing is trying to find the right balance; whether it be in the physical, mental, emotional or spiritual realms of our lives.

We see this perhaps most powerfully in the rhythm of the breath.

From our first ‘in’ breath after birth, to our final ‘out’ breath at death, the ebb and flow of our breath literally gives us life and is ever seeking the right balance. Try holding your in breath for a minute and you will soon feel the urge to rebalance with the out breath, or vice versa.

This principle can come alive in many other aspects of our lives and an imbalance can often be felt as a cause of disharmony. For example, if we have too much order in our lives, (the way we dress, work, behaviour patterns etc) we can start to develop too much rigidity and then find ourselves lacking creativity. On the other hand, being too much ‘into’ being creative can often lead to a literal, and sense of, chaos. So, most of us need to try to find a balance between the two to help put things in perspective.

Asking yourself some simple questions about your life balance is a good start …
  • Do I spend too much time and effort in or at work, taking on responsibility for extra things and for others, or am I developing some lazy habits by allowing too much relaxation or surrender?
  • Do I spend enough time connecting with nature or am I always surrounded with 21st century culture? Are there times when there is too much to ‘do’ rather than just to ‘be’?
  • Do I spend time ‘helping others’ because I think that is the ‘right thing to do’, but sometimes find that I have neglected to listen to my own needs?
  • Am I compassionately wise and wisely compassionate, or am I becoming too hard, or too soft; in the same way, do I try and see someone else’s point of view or am I a bit judgemental so unbalanced with understanding?
  • How am I in work and personal relations? Too much of a talker to listen, or too much of a listener to ever get to say what I would like to?
  • Do I put more time and effort into my work than I do into my domestic and family affairs?
  • Do I read self-improvement or religious books? Am I ‘filling up’ on theory or do I make time to ‘empty’ each day, through meditation, a gentle tai chi or yoga class, or a hobby like singing?
  • Do I hold my scientific/spiritual/religious beliefs so strongly that I leave too little room for the flexibility for my own intuitive insight to lead me?

With all these questions perhaps the most important one is ‘what can I do about that?’

For our lives to flourish we need to be a mixture, tinkering here and there, adding this or that ingredient to find the right balance. We need to allow the upshoot of fairness, or peace, or a moment of stillness or a stimulation to move and evolve in whatever situation we are finding ourselves in.

Small practical exercises can also help – simple ones like taking a little time each day and balance on your tiptoes, or just sway slowly from side to side to feel the return to the balance point, or perhaps try walking with awareness of how the body retains the balance as it goes. If its safe close your eyes and walk backwards very slowl, your body is equipped to teach you about balance, so why not give it a go?

Guest Blog by Amanda Brown, Yoga Practitioner and Teacher UK

Grounding

Grounding

There is a lot of research to be found about the healing effects of nature, and we now know that those who live near green spaces live healthier and longer lives. So, no matter where you live, it makes sense to access that restorative natural power – and grounding is an easy way to do so.

For simplicity’s sake the term ‘grounding’ is being used here to reflect both ‘earthing’ (earthing to mean direct connection to the earth) as well as the wider understanding of other grounding methods that can be used.

As lightening discharging itself into the ground during an electrical storm rebalances the atmosphere, so grounding yourself to the electrons on the earth’s surface helps to rebalance your being.

It’s not surprising that research suggests grounding the human body has positive effects on our psychology and health, these benefits mostly relating to inflammation and the immune responses.* The problem is, our lifestyle and our footwear, often prevent us from this natural rebalancing, and keep us separated from the thing we need most, the earth.

This ‘disconnect’ we all suffer may have significant detrimental effects to our well-being so to help prevent that, we can practice grounding.

Grounding is an accepted therapeutic practice, and the most researched and effective method is simply to have direct skin contact with the surface of the earth.

This is as straightforward as it sounds, just place bare hands or bare feet on the ground for a while.

A favourite way of grounding is to walk barefoot on the grass. Reconnecting to the earth in this way is natural and relaxing and can be taken further by bringing in the senses and paying attention to the sights, sounds, smells, tastes, and sensations as you walk.

In a slightly lesser but still highly effective way, any conscious activity that moves you from over activity and thinking to simply ‘being’ is helpful in rebalancing. Again, consciously, and mindfully adding in the senses is helpful. (see Resources for guided meditations on the senses).     

Mindful eating will bring your attention to the body and digesting food also has a slowing effect on the mind, leading to a calmer more grounded state; showering and allowing your attention to rest on the sensations of the water flowing on the body or physical exercise is also useful.

If you prefer a mental activity, try paying attention with your senses in a game – find and name 5 things by sight, sound, taste, touch, smell. You can also use memory games, recitations or mathematics as a disassociation and grounding activity from challenging thoughts.

As Anias Nin said ‘The dream was always running ahead of me. To catch up, to live for a moment in unison with it, that was the miracle.

AL

*Earthing: health implications of reconnecting the human body to the Earth’s surface electrons.

Chevalier G, Sinatra ST, Oschman JL, Sokal K, Sokal P

J Environ Public Health. 2012; 2012():291541