How Getting Knocked to the Floor Helped Me Achieve Balance

Have you ever been “in a zone?”

I guess I always think of the Michael Jordan flu game in 1997.  He was unstoppable, despite being visibly sick.Basketball

I’ve definitely felt that way – maybe not at that level (or while tossing my cookies), but getting someone out in dodgeball or winning bowling trophy definitely gave me that puff-out-the-chest, unstoppable feeling.

I remember skipping stones as a kid.  If the waves were just right and the wind wasn’t too strong, it seemed like they’d go forever.  I couldn’t mess it up!

I’m guessing that I wasn’t the only one.  The key, though?

I FELT like the only one.

As adults, we have jobs.  We have kids.  We have mortgages.  We have crippling debt.

There again, we feel like the only one.  But I’ve got news for you.

It’s the norm.

“At a certain point people have to be willing to walk through their pain in order to get to the other side” – Flea (The Reality of My Surroundings)

Pain.  Is it all a mind game?

There are definitely mind-over-matter aspects to it but the mind and body work in harmony.  Failing to support them both will cause you to crash and burn.

Do you want to be the best you can be – at everything you do?  Achieve balance.

Do you want to feel great?  Harmonize.

I figured this out because I had to.  I studied and experimented with all of the mind and body aspects that I could – because I was backed into a corner.

In 2008, I was diagnosed with Multiple Sclerosis.  This progressive, debilitating disease doesn’t have a cure.  It doesn’t even have an effective treatment!

So, after the standard wallowing-in-self-pity time, I figured I had to do something.  That something was to figure out the best, most efficient way to harmonize my mind and body.  To put it in the best possible state to improve.

I knew that leading a healthy lifestyle was my best bet.  Because of my situation, I took it (and still take it) to an extreme.  I’m tweaking things every day!

The good news?  Taking care of you mind and body are both easily addressed and you can do it for free, as long as you’re willing to put the time in.

The even better news?  Get your mind and body in the right place and suddenly tackling the other stuff doesn’t seem so bad.

For me, it became a quest.  I had a clean mental and physical slate and now could move onto the life side of things.

I was in a zone!

“I’m the king of the world!” – Jack Dawson (Titanic)

It’s amazing what self-confidence can do for productivity.  It seems to snowball.

Hazmat SuitsFeeling good and having a great attitude makes your day better, which makes your week better, which makes – well, you get it.

So where should you start?  Where did I start?

Everyone knows about diet and exercise.  Heck, it’s an annual New Year’s resolution for most of us!

Did you know, though, that regular exercise can actually improve your memory and the way you think?  It’s also been shown to increase learning rate and decrease cognitive decline, which is something that we all worry about as we get older.

This is not only good to know, but it’s also a strong motivator for me.  That knowledge – the ability to visualize improvements in my brain as I’m doing sit-ups keeps me plugging away!

How about diet?  Are you still caught in the ‘60s and ‘70s when you think about the research or “what you’ve heard?”  I know that I was for a number of things.

You might be surprised to find that what you thought is no longer true.  It’s not rocket-science.  You just have to look at current research instead of opinions and culture.

What about meditation?  Everyone talks about it but it seems like just as many people say they “can’t do it.”

I have to tell you – that’s a pet peeve of mine.

There are few changes to my daily routine that have had the impact that meditation has.  Talk about “clearing the slate!”

It’s not a light switch.  It’s not a “black and white” issue.  It’s a continuum.

That failure to “clear your mind” makes it easy for people to give up.  The reality is that you’re improving and seeing the benefits every day – even if you’re not at the Buddhist monk level the first time you try it.

“No one is useless in this world who lightens the burdens of another.” – Charles Dickens

Have you ever notice that lending a hand puts you in a better mood for the rest of the day?  It makes us all feel better but we’re reluctant to admit it.

I haven’t been able to figure out if we think we’ll be perceived as weak or if it’s cultural or maybe we think it’s going to be awkward – it just isn’t a common occurrence, at least in the western world.

This, despite what we all know – it makes us feel better.images

There is plenty of research to show that serving others, being socially active, and looking at the bright side improve quality of life and increase life-span.  It seems like a no-brainer, but it’s something we have to be told to do.

Which makes it feel like work.

So we don’t.

But what if I told you that forcing yourself to strike up a conversation, even with a stranger, has a positive impact on both of your lives?  Again, we know that it makes us feel better – but it also makes the other person feel better.

We’re more motivated when we feel better and are happy, so we do the other stuff.  It snowballs!

It’s easy for us to stay in our comfort zone.  It’s getting easier by the day with iPods, portable communication devices that we can hide behind, and social media to tell us what we’re missing.

Those things, however, won’t bring you balance and harmony.  You have to look past your screen for that.

Give it a try – I’d love to hear your success stories.  I can guarantee you that it will have a huge impact on your life.

I know it has on mine.

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