Balance, we often hear, is the key to living a happy life but how do we define it, and more importantly apply it?
An answer came to me after I was pondering a comment a long-standing client had on the cortisol mind map I sent him, and posted as a picture on Facebook. (The mindmap is one of several I will post on common malaise in the next couple of months.)
The answer, word or concept is moderate:
By moderate I mean “averaging out” the extremes, the line separating black and white. Now by all means go and visit extremes, they are places of discovery, development and uniqueness- but when you get stuck at extremes, as is the want of high achievers or obsessive people (case in point, my life) come at a cost. A physical, mental, emotional and spiritual cost. (And yes I did mention the word spiritual- get used to it!)
If I can some up that cost into one word it would be wellness, which is the subject of another reflection.
Today we are talking about moderation and the four solutions.
I have simplified the best I can all my 48 years on this planet, my experience, studies and influences into four sentences to living a happy life. They are:
- Love your life
- Calm your mind
- Eat real food
- Enjoy regular and varied exercise
I have written three books on solutions 2-4, and have been stalled since Christmas on topic 1.
(Click to enlarge)
Cutting to the chase (after leaping over “the why”), here are some practical applications behind the solutions.
Love your life
- Sleep at least 56 hours per week, 7-8 hours per night (Roger Federer reports to sleep 16 hour every 24 hours, Rex Tso the professional boxer I have been coaching for the last two years and most famous athlete in Hong Kong naps after lunch for recovery).
- Wake up with the sun and prepare to sleep with the moon. Avoid bright light at night as it inhibits melatonin, reflexively stirs up a desire to eat sugar, and as you are not exercising will increase your fat stores.
- Moderate your work with activities that are not work-related, if you are struggling up the career ladder at least love what you do- this will take an attitude adjustment.
Calm your mind
- If we are constantly busy with our analytical brain we are never free to “just be”. To be “just be” is the place of creativity, peace and enlightenment. Breathwork, meditation, journeying, reflection journaling, stretching, yoga, Qi Gong (or my 5 Animal Mobility app) help you do this, and any number of activities can average out busy-ness or “doing”.
Eat real food
- We get our energy from real food. To the degree food is processed is how much energy we spend (think “drain”) assimilating it and not to mention the cost chemicals have on our hormones and health.
- Drink real spring mineral water.
- Eating real food and real water will moderate your energy drain, try it for 5, 10, 20 or 30 days and feel the difference to your resilience it makes- if people comment favourably to you it’s probably from this aspect.
Enjoy regular and varied exercise
Movement is the biggest modality I use in coaching my clients, I am an athlete so naturally it’s my greatest metaphor.
I have been coaching people for 24 years and conclude that most people get bored, find exercise too hard, or view it as punishment.
As a result compliance is low, and the by-products of regular exercise (lose weight, tone-up) are non-existent and further adds to low compliance.
To encourage (not punish) enjoyment (through regular change in stimulus- “boredom is the incessant search for novelty”) and to empower (changing the way people see themselves- self confidence), I created the ROAM concept and wrote a book on it.
The concept in its simplest form is if you do an exercise that you like then you will get vanity and health, fitness and performance benefits– it does not matter what you do. It does matter that you vary the stimulus every 2-6 weeks otherwise the economic “Law of Diminishing Returns” kicks in and whilst you may get “endurance fitter”, you will not lose weight or get stronger, faster, higher.
If you action just one of these four solutions for the 21 days it takes to cultivate a habit you will have taken a huge step to a life of happiness. Think what taking on the three other solutions will change in terms of your demeanour, outlook and contentment.
If you want I can help you in the following level of commitment.
- ROAM: Movement as Medicine. A book that compliments the apps if you like to know “The Why” (available in paperback and also as a Kindle ebook).
- The Bottom Line of Fat Loss is a holistic weight loss book that explores the “eat real food” as well as the three other solutions (paperback and ebook).
- How to Calm Your Mind ebook that gives short and long term activities that help to overcome anxiety and depression and are lessons I learnt from competitions at an elite level.
- Sort Your L.I.F.E. Out (coming soon) is a book that ties all the other three books together with a simple and colourful assessment that helps you find your critical point to wellness.
- Online coaching.
- Face-to-face coaching.