a balanced slinky

Ahh slinkies – many childhood memories here. Look how nicely balanced it is.

What balance means to me

This blog aims to offer information and insight about living a balanced life, but what does that actually mean? For me it means making mindful decisions based on wide range of factors with the ultimate goal of increasing my happiness. Happiness is a subjective factor and can be very hard to measure, so my aim is to work on the areas I can see and measure a difference, and monitor how I ‘feel’ when I achieve goals in each of these areas.

It doesn’t mean being extreme

There is no room for ‘extreme’ anything in my life and you won’t read about crazy diets, or living in a shoebox here. I’ve heard of some people choosing to eat 2 minute noodles (ramen) for an entire year in order to save some money on food. While this is quite an accomplishment to some, eating foods with little or no nutritional value and a very high sodium content to boot isn’t going to do your health any favours.  You may feel like you are saving money in the short term, however in the long term you may end up paying more in healthcare and other related costs of poor nutrition such as stress, tiredness and a reduced capacity to work.

My 5 Pillars of a Balanced Life

This blog, and my philosophy is more about subtle lifestyle changes to get the results I want. My aim will be to consider the impact of my decisions and how it will affect each ‘pillar’ of my life, but also the lives of others around me.

1. Wealth

I love all things personal finance. I read blogs and books, and discuss all things relating to money, savings and living a frugal life on a far too regular basis. A  new report has been released confirming that money doesn’t make people happier, however making smart decisions about money will give greater financial control and freedom to pursue my other interests. If I can set up a strategy to make growing my wealth almost automatic I will have more time to spend with family and friends, and not have to worry about when the next pay check will come in.

My overall wealth plan is two fold; decrease outgoings and increase income streams. My aim is not to limit myself or feel deprived, but rather to be more mindful in my spending. I will focus on spending in areas that will add value and increase happiness in the longer term, and try to limit and short term fixes.

2. Health

Basket of vegetables

Healthy eating is just one (delicious!) part of a balanced life

My physical health and wellbeing is very important to me as I would like to be able to live a long and happy life (who doesn’t?). Good health is also important to my own personal and wider economy as I’ll be more productive, do better work, and not be a drain on the healthcare system. This pillar includes; exercise, nutrition and medical/ long term physical health.

3. Relationships

Healthy relationships supply us with a special type of energy and vibrancy, making us feel fulfilled. On the opposite side of the coin, negative relationships may have a damaging impact on self esteem and wellbeing. This includes relationships with my partner, family, friends, colleagues, etc. Working every day and night may get some more money in the short term, however each of these relationships needs to be fostered for long term growth and happiness.

4. Mental Health

I separate this from physical health and wellbeing as mental health is such an important factor, in my mind (excuse the pun) it deserves its own category A new study shows that one large key to happiness is strong mental health and having a healthy relationship with your partner – see above.  Having a positive mental state will ensure you are able to deal with everyday life stresses, handle change, be productive and make an active contribution to your community.

5. Community & Spirit

group of people in a circle - team

There is no I in TEAM

Research indicates that volunteering can create a sense of unity, strengthen bonds within the community and provide benefits to the volunteer as well including offering physical and psychological benefits (read warm fuzzy feelings) and possibly career opportunities.

For me, spirit is also about the feeling of belonging and of being part of something much bigger than myself. I want to leave a legacy, to pass on the world in a better way than which I found it.

My 5 Pillars – Final Thoughts

These 5 pillars have my own unique spin on them, however I believe they are relatable to people from all walks of life. I am the only one who can control my own life, and nobody will ever care about it as much as me! Considering each pillar as part of an overall strategy when making important life decisions, will ensure I am focused on the bigger picture and will hopefully be happier and more fulfilled knowing I’m living a balanced life.

What are your major factors to consider when making a life decision? Who do you consult? Share your own life pillars in the comments below.