THRIVING, Not SURVIVING: Why Creating Balance Is The Key To Success

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It is not easy to create balance in our lives. When we try to juggle too many things at once, what is the first thing that gives? Hobbies? Exercise routine? Your health? If this sounds familiar, it may be time to have a closer look at the active process of creating balance. As is often the case, athletes lead the way in this field. 

By Dr. Mark Bellamy, PhD Cpsychol AFBPsS, Performance Psychologist

When I work with athletes, we look at their total load and sources of stress in their lives, whether from their training or the other things that they must deal with. We look at how well they are managing and what strategies we can put into place to lessen this load. We also look at whether their training makes good sense in the context of their lives, and get an idea of how close to overload they are. 

When things go wrong…

Often when things go wrong, one of several things may be out of balance and need tuning. We look at the overall loading and pressure, and consider the impact of training load. 

We measure recovery and plan good recovery for them whilst considering the practicality of their lives. Finally, we consider whether the way they are living is bringing joy into their lives. Why is this important? In order to thrive most people need to have a good number of positive aspects in their lives. 

What we can learn from athletes 

What works for athletes can be adapted to anyone who is trying to make their way in life – all the same processes apply. Consider this: In my work with people who are very busy, typically it is the recovery time and the parts of life that bring them joy that get squeezed out. It is easy to forget how critical recovery and having joy in your life is. Yet a lack of both can lead to problems down the line.

Why scheduling recovery is so important

It is during recovery that improvements happen and taking joy as a simple measure, we get a good indication of how much spare capacity someone has. Once we run out of capacity, things often go wrong very quickly; injury or illness strikes, mistakes are made or we get things wrong. Poor sleep, more irritability and a low mood follow. 

How do we fix it? 

The process of keeping all this working involves knowing yourself and taking control. It means actively managing these aspects of your life. This is how it works when I work with clients – athletes or non-athletes – on restoring balance in their lives. First, we put in place plans to monitor how loaded (or overloaded) their life is. Then we find suitable approaches to move from a place of overload to one where they can thrive. 

Why you should give it a go

When I ask groups of athletes, business people and scholars,  ‘Who performs better when they are thriving?’, almost without fail all hands go up. 

Thriving is certainly a more pleasant place to be than simply surviving, so it makes sense to understand how to reach this state, then remain there as much as possible.

You can make stress, load, training, joyful activities and recovery work for you. It is an active process though – it involves a lot of self-awareness and understanding, but once you have these skills, you make habits of them, and  you will be better armed to take on the rigours of life, and enjoy the world while you do it. 

Creating balance in your life means taking control back in your hands, and this can be very liberating. 

Please get in touch for more details  and to discuss the potential for further work. Consultations are available via Skype or in person, at a Hereford location of your choice, or at your workplace. 


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