Posted by: Elizabeth Turrentine | September 16, 2013

ACHIEVING BALANCE IN LIFE

To achieve balance in life is to derive satisfaction from many sources, such as hobbies, sports, leisure activities, church, family, and work. The advantage would be when there were problems in one area, one would still have other things to enjoy and bring  fulfilment.

 The work ethic in America, among other factors, brought our country to its pinnacle of power in the world in the early 1900’s. The true and underlying principle was: nothing worthwhile is achieved without hard work and doing whatever it takes to attain a goal.  There is a “but” here to be noted. One might wonder, in our zeal, have we taken it too far?

Recent studies offer food for thought in this area. The 2010 Johns Hopkins White Paper Report on Memory reports a British study of people who worked more than 55 hours per week “ had poorer mental skills than those who worked 40 hours.” A study in Finland of 2,214 workers who worked more than 55 hours per week found they had poorer memory and reasoning skills than those who worked 40 hours. The more hours they worked, the lower their scores on testing. Furthermore, “employees who worked overtime reported less sleep, symptoms of depression, and used more alcohol than those who worked the usual hours.” 

A segment on NPR radio a few years ago highlighted the rampant clinical depression among CEO’s in the United States. Studies were cited and interviews presented illustrating that the stresses caused by pressures to excel and putting in 60 – 80 hour work weeks were the key factors leading to the depression epidemic among these business leaders.  The ones interviewed were unanimous in saying the only way to combat their crippling depression had been to change their total way of doing things –- making time for fun and the people in their life, un-work related. We’re not all CEO’s, but this illustrates what can happen when we neglect some other important edifying facets of our life. We need a balance.

Think for a moment about how you spend your time. Do you make a point to do things you love to do, as well as those things you have to do?  What  pursuits give you  satisfaction, happiness, or even joy as you do them? Is it walking in the countryside, participating in or being a spectator of sports or the performing arts? Maybe it’s fishing, golf, taking a class, gardening, or spending time with the “girls” or “guys.” It may be something you haven’t done for a long time.

After giving it the thought it deserves, notice if there are any lopsided spots in your lifestyle. Resolve now to maintain balance in your life. It will pay dividends.

 

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