Balanced Life

What Does It Mean To Live A Balanced Life?

Image courtesy of Gustty

Balance is something that is often mentioned in personal development and well-being circles. It is said you should eat a balanced diet, live a balanced life and seek a good work/family balance. But what is balance? What does it mean to live a balanced life and why does balance seem like such an elusive concept?

“It is said an Eastern monarch once charged his wise men to invent him a sentence to be ever in view, and which should be true and appropriate in all times and situations. They presented him the words: And this, too, shall pass away.” – Abraham Lincoln

Life really is one thing after another. The physical environment we each live in is in constant streaming flux. Physically when it’s cold we shiver to bring our body temperature up. When it’s hot we sweat to bring our body temperature down. As living organisms we live in a constantly changing environment. Our bodies are well adapted to this state of affairs and respond appropriately when conditions deviate from their optimal state. This ability of an organism to maintain equilibrium (balance) by adjusting appropriately to the external environment is known as homeostasis.

And there in lies the key to understanding balance. Balance is the taking of appropriate action when circumstances dictate so as to maintain equilibrium. It is said that the great achievement of the sages of old was the achievement of great balance as human beings. How did they achieve great balance? In the present moment, when things would come up, they would respond accordingly.

“There is no secret to balance. You just have to feel the waves.” – Frank Herbert

When it comes to a concept or principle such as balance it is important to understand that between different people and even from moment to moment the locus of balance is always going to be different. For example, what constitutes a balanced diet for one person may be completely different for another. Both diets may be very healthy in their own right but it is the context of the individual that makes them so. This is probably the key reason for so much disagreement and confusion in the field of nutrition. There is no one size fits all. No mass-producible solution. A difficult business model indeed and so another diet book comes off the press and another wonder product hits the shelves.

“Food is an important part of a balanced diet.” – Fran Lebowitz

Finding a sense of balance and harmony at some point in any aspect of life will soon turn to disharmony and loss of balance if you try to hold on and freeze that moment forever. Such action is futile and will only lead to pain and your own suffering. The only constant is change. The waves come in, break and recede. Then they roll on in again. Instead of fighting and being tumbled painfully ashore, feel the waves coming and ride them out.

“Happiness is not a matter of intensity but of balance and order and rhythm and harmony.” – Thomas Merton

About the writer: This article was written by Stephen Cox. Stephen writes daily at Balanced Existence where he shares the knowledge and insights gained from his personal journey of holistic health and wellbeing.

21 Responses to What Does It Mean To Live A Balanced Life?

  1. J.D. Meier says:

    I think of it as spending time in the things that matter.

    What matters, of course, is up to you. You’re the director of your life.

  2. vee says:

    I love the quote by Frank Herbert and the paragraph expanding on that.
    It hits right at home.

  3. Vincent says:

    Hi Stephen,

    “The only constant is change” I totally agree on this. There is nothing as constant as change and everyday we are facing changes and we must always adapt to it.

    Personal Development Blogger

  4. Hi Stephen

    Wonderful expression of the ebb and flow of life.

    Thank you

  5. Living on the coast, I enjoy the use of metaphor with the ocean and tides.

    If you are familiar with “rip currents,” they can be quite deadly. Essentially, the rip current is quite powerful and pulls the swimmer further out to sea.

    The natural human reaction is to panic and swim forcefully and directly toward the shore. This is a mistake because the swimmer faces the powerful current head on. Many swimmers drown trying to overcome the rip current.

    Similarly, it would be foolish to simply “drift” with the current because it will take you far out to sea.

    Of course, the balance here is to swim at a 45-degree angle to shore — this way the rip current does not fully impede the swimmer’s ability to swim and the swimmer can make it to shore without completely exhausting themselves and risk drowning…

    Thanks for provoking thought today…

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  7. Sounds like balance is different for everyone. I never thought of it that way. So if I am experiencing life from several different categories, then I am in balance.

  8. Simona Rich says:

    I believe that by living in the present moment, unlike dwelling on the past or daydreaming about the future, is the key to a balanced life.

  9. Shann says:

    Balance also requires humor.

    Laugh at your particular brand of madness. You don’t have to be so serious. When you start to feel full-on-crazy, take a breath and witness your spin. You really are a comical critter. Humor is lovely medicine to tame your “I must be serious” hee bee jee bees.


  10. farouk says:

    i live your writing style, keep it up

  11. jerry says:

    This goes right along side the old saying, everything in moderation. There IS such a thing as too much of a good thing. Thanks for this nice post.

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  13. cris@ says:

    Thanks for this post. Actually we cannot balanced this life with the way and speed the changes are taking place in man’s day-to-day affair. It’s a kind a difficult to control this life regularly without someone who is uncontrollable in nature. That constant change can be controlled by the Unchanged Being who is God. Well. if He can control our life, then He can only make a life well-balanced. Therefore, if He is the center of this life, all aspect of this life will have a good flow and balance. I learned some tactics from kamja on how can I balance this life in the midst of adverse things that surround.

  14. This reminds of the analogy of a plane that flies cross country. The plane is off course 90% of the time. The pilot corrects the course to arrive at the ultimate destination. We too must make constant adjustments to stay on course, or to stay on balance.

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  16. keb ktnvknfjbjjj says:

    this thing is like sooo dumb

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  18. Chris says:

    Super, something I have been pondering on recently

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  21. momo says:

    wow such a great sumup of thungs i was thinking about all my life . good to know that i am not alone !

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