How are you feeling today? I mean right now at this very moment as you are reading this article.
Is your heart racing like a jackhammer due to the non-stop rushing from point to point?
Or are you in a place of wholeness, balance and happiness?
Like many of us, you probably find that time is not on your side. There are so many things to be done, so many items to be ticked off on your never-ending to-do list, and so many dreams which you’ve yet to fulfill.
Unfortunately, your resources, finances, time and energy are limited. Your spirit is willing, but your flesh – and perhaps finances – is weak. That ambitious globe-trotting bucket list may just be left sitting in the bucket.
Afflicted by the 5 Hs of Scarcity Living
Taking a leaf from Brene Brown’s groundbreaking work in “Daring Greatly”, you need to recognise that we all live in a world of scarcity. One where there is never enough.
Everything in your life seems to be happening simultaneously – in real-time – leaving you breathlessly trying to catch up.
When you feel inadequate for the challenges which life throws your way, you become frantic and frazzled. Your energy levels dip, your mind distracted, and you end up drifting downwards on a negative spiral, pulled by the forces of this world.
See if you can identify with these symptoms of scarcity living:
- Hurried: Time is never enough. Your calendar is packed with overflowing activities and endless agenda items.
- Hectic: You move at double-quick speed to complete the tasks for the day. There is never a dull or lull moment.
- Heavy-laden: Your shoulders droop under the sheer weight of your responsibilities, accountabilities and burdens.
- Harassed: Silence, peace and calm is a thing of the past. You are constantly on call – be it from your colleagues and bosses, family members, or friends. You feel like a ping pong ball, bouncing from bat to bat.
- Helpless: You feel like a victim of the system and fail to rock yourself out of the rut. Nobody likes you. Everybody hates you. You’re gonna eat some worms!
What can you do to escape from this vicious cycle of reactive busyness and fruitless frenzy?
The answer lies in restoring balance, wholeness and quality via the 5 Hs of our total self: Health, Head, Heart, Harmony, and Heroics.
First and foremost, you need to restore your body. Health is wealth. Without physical, mental, and spiritual well-being, all the accolades, awards and achievements in the world would come to naught.
Find a way to incorporate daily and weekly practices to build your health in a holistic manner. Eat nourishing foods with lots of greens each day. Limit your intake of stimulants and tranquilizers. Drink lots of water. Exercise and do sports.
On the spiritual front, keep a daily appointment with God. Read the Holy Scriptures, meditate on its words, and pray for guidance. Learn to express gratitude for the many little blessings you have in life.
Finally, ensure that you get enough sleep and rest. A minimal of 6 to 7 hours a day is needed – more if you can afford it.
Once our physical and spiritual health is in order, we need to exercise our noggin.
A great way to keep yourself intellectually stimulated is to do meaningful and challenging work. If you can’t find that at your 9 to 5 workplace, consider reading something thought provoking or mentally challenging during your commutes.
You may also wish to listen to interest-based podcasts revolving around your favourite topics. Or better yet, write a regular blog which captures what you have learned during the week. Like this one here.
Occasionally, take a sabbatical and go on a learning holiday. This doesn’t have to mean physically travelling to another country (although that would be wonderful). You can do this at home. Set yourself a learning challenge and seek to master a new skill within a month.
Numerous research has shown that a happy person is a productive person. And often, happiness is closely linked to one’s emotional well-being.
Remember to reward yourself with little incentives that make you happy. They can be as easy as an ice cream or froyo treat at the end of a long week, a walk in the woods, or an afternoon indulging in a great book by the pool.
Beyond individual pleasures, seek to reach out to friends whose company you enjoy. Nothing beats watching a movie with a good friend, chatting with a confidante over coffee, or having dinner with a kindred spirit.
Giving is also good for your heart. Seek ways to contribute to the greater good of society. Donate to charities. Volunteer for causes you believe in.
Once your health, head and heart are restored to their rightful places, you then need to consider the harmonious flow between these different components.
Being in harmony requires you to be in sync with your intellectual, emotional, spiritual and social selves. You need to feel connected to your inner being and to others in your surroundings. They can be your family members, friends, colleagues, business associates, neighbours or even the familiar strangers you meet each day.
A great way to achieve that is to extend generosity, kindness and love to the people around you. Doing so helps you to tap into the positive flow of energy in the universe.
Last, but certainly not least, you need to engineer acts of achievement and heroism in your life.
Now, this doesn’t necessarily mean that you need to save a child from a burning building or rescue a damsel in distress from street rogues. Rather, acts of heroism can be anything that stretches you that may be out of the ordinary.
Examples of heroic acts include the following:
- Paying for a poor elderly person’s meal at a dining outlet
- Staying back late to help a colleague to complete his or her work
- Giving up your seat on the bus, or nudging others to do so
- Writing and sharing a blog post which instructs, edifies and enriches
- Providing free tuition to a child from a needy family
Restore Your Life Balance Today
What I’ve proposed above is by no means a complete formula for a successful and balanced life. I encourage you to create your own lists of things that you need to do to restore your happiness, well-being and whole-hearted living.
Press the pause button. Spare an hour or two to reflect on how you can incorporate the 5 Hs into your life. Put into words what you ought to do to live a fuller life and share that publicly so that it becomes an act of commitment.
Are there personal strategies which you have adopted to “bring balance to the (life) force”? I’d love to hear your thoughts as well as your experiences.