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Sunday, May 31, 2009

Living a Balanced Life as a Path to Happiness

Living a Balanced Life
What does "a balanced life" mean to you?

It often helps to start by asking yourself:
  • What are the various areas in your life that are important to you?
  • Do they come together to form a meaningful whole?
What are the categories you would include to have a balanced life?

Everyone is different when it comes to defining what is meaningful.  

Here's a Possible List of What Might Be Meaningful to You:


Your Family (including pets)
Family as Part of a Balanced Life
Your Pets as Part of Your Family and a Balanced Life



Your Pets as Part of Your Family and a Balanced Life

Your Health
Your Health as Part of a Balanced Life


Your Love Life
Your Love Life as Part of a Balanced Life



Your Friends/Social Support
Your Friends/Social Support as Part of a Balanced Life



Your Career/Professional Life
Your Career or Professional Life as Part of a Balanced Life


Your Sense of Spirituality
Your Sense of Spirituality as Part of a Balanced Life



Your Playful Side
Your Playful Side as Part of a Balanced Life



Your Personal Growth
Your Personal Growth as Part of a Balance Life



Your Sense of Financial Security
A Sense of Financial Security as Part of Your Balanced Life


Maybe your list would have other categories than the examples that I've given.

How satisfied are you with the categories you've defined?
If you made a list of these categories and took the time to think about each one carefully:
  • How satisfied are you with each one, rating each one on a scale of 0-100% (with 0% being not at all satisfied and 100% being completely satisfied and not wanting to change a thing)? 
  • As you think about and rate each category, what have you noticed?
  • Are there certain areas that you would like to improve? 
  • What might it take to improve a particular area by 5%.
For instance, if you are only 10% satisfied with your overall learning and growth, what small step could you take to increase your satisfaction in this area so that you could go from 10% to 15% satisfaction?

You might say: "Why aim so low? I want to be at least 95% satisfied with where I am and I want that now."

I would say that this is an excellent goal to aspire to ultimately, and that it shows how important this area is to you.

I would also ask: "When you think about going from 10% to 95% satisfaction immediately and what it would actually take to achieve that, does it feel overwhelming to you?" Chances are it does. So, in most cases, I recommend that you start by taking small, manageable and achievable steps that will be more likely to lead you to your ultimate goal.

Think of it as a process. If you try to do too much at once, you might become discouraged and give up your efforts all together. Has this ever happened to you?

As you look at your categories, do you find that you are spending more time and effort in certain areas that you care less about and less time in other areas that are actually more important to you?

What can you do to align your priorities so that you feel that you are living a more balanced life? 
For instance, if you are spending most of your time focused on your career and you are not allowing any time at all for play and fun in your life, what small step could you take to bring more balance into this area of your life?

Again, notice that, in most cases, I am suggesting "baby steps" to start and not a complete and immediate overhaul. With each small step that you achieve, you are more likely to build confidence and satisfaction. This, in turn, will increase your motivation to take the next step.

Once again, a balanced life means different things to different people. Start by identifying what you feel makes up a balanced life for you. Think about where you are in terms of overall satisfaction and then set small, manageable goals that will lead you to your ultimate goal.

Getting Help
It may be difficult to get started on this process. You might know that you want to lead a more balanced life, but maybe you tend to put off thinking about it. It often helps to work with a professional where you have a weekly time and place to focus on your goals. The time and effort that you spend on it now will usually reap rewards for you in the long run.

I am a licensed NYC psychotherapist, hypnotherapist and EMDR Therapist.  I work with individual adults and couples.

I have helped many clients to live a more balanced life and to achieve overall satisfaction with their lives.

To find out more about me, visit my website: Josephine Ferraro, LCSW - NYC Psychotherapist

To set up a consultation, call me at (212) 726-1006 or send me an email: josephineolivia@aol.com


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