I noticed that to be in balance and keep on the happy side, I strive to practice three things, I will call them my three pillars, every day: physical work, creative work and discipline of the mind.
Physical work I sneak into every possible corner - taking the bike instead of the car wherever possible, a quick jog when an idle moment appears, swimming, training with free weights, you get the idea. I try to end most days feeling physically exhausted. I know, maybe I am weird, but I love it.
Creative work can be so many things - at the moment for me it is mostly in creating music, but of course, many people exercise their creativity in other, varied ways…cake decorating, knitting, painting, writing novels, etc.
I see discipline as the most important pillar because it underlies the other two. I believe that our brains should be challenged on a regular basis by things that we don’t feel in the mood for, like mathematics or complex philosophical concepts, you name it, but it should be outside of the box, challenging to the mind and occur often. Again, my weird tendencies - I want to be mentally exhausted every day if possible.
These three things were always present in my life but to recognize that these bring me happiness gives me the ability to preserve them and strive towards them every day. I think when we try to be the best possible person we can be, it provides a benefit to the world. This is not an ego trip. When I workout a lot, I feel happy and am therefore nicer to everyone around me. When I have creative or intellectual projects going on, my mind is busy contemplating these things in the background of life, rather than having an idle mind, looking for problems or stress to create out of boredom, not to mention the danger of seeking empty paths (such as consumerism). When I am disciplined to the extent that satisfies me I never, ever experience feelings of jealousy in seeing others around me succeed. For me, this concept is like a key to happiness.
This may not be the key for everyone. But balance is not handed to us on a plate in this fast-paced, money-driven society and is certainly important for all of us. What do you do to keep balanced - can you analyze the whole recipe, ie., not just “I go to Yoga on Thursdays”…how do you keep your life balanced from all angles?