The Great Adventure Of Living A More Balanced Life!

The Great Adventure Of Living A More Balanced Life!

If you are at all like me, your morning alarm clock also cues the little megaphone in your head that welcomes you to a new day of the circus called life!  

Balancing Life!  

“Step with care and great tact…and be sure to remember that life’s a great balancing act!  Just never forget to be dexterous and deft.  And never mix up your right foot with your left.”  Dr. Suess 

My husband and I returned home recently from an idyllic trip to Italy, but settling back into a normal routine again is always tough.  It got me thinking–how can we make our daily lives be more like the less stressful ones we often enjoy when we’re on vacation?  While this may not always be possible…at the very least, there are a few things we can consider that will help us better juggle our everyday obligations with more ease!

5 Ways To Create Better Balance In Everyday Living!

 1.  Find Your Morning Zen!

Finding balance in life.

Set yourself up for a good start to your day by getting up just a little earlier than everyone else does to go over your schedule, read or exercise, etc.  It’s always so impressive to me how a calm spirit and an “I got this!” attitude can have such a positive effect on those around us, making mornings go smoother for everyone!

2. Balancing Life Is Not A Competition!

Finding balance in life!

There are a myriad of things that require our time and attention each day: family commitments, work obligations, home upkeep, community responsibilities…and hopefully we can fit in some leisure activity on occasion too!  I feel like one of the main reasons establishing balance in our lives seems a bit elusive is the stigmas society can label us with if we don’t “fit the mold” so to speak, of what is expected of us in the various roles we are required to execute on a daily basis.  Too often— these so-called “social norms” find us getting caught up in the anxiety of trying to meet the expectations of those around us as we strive to keep pace with everyone else.  While a competitive spirit is great to the degree that it inspires us to work hard and accomplish goals, I believe that each of our diverse circumstances in life requires an individualized and thoughtful approach to how we go about obtaining a good balance.  Being true to ourselves and those we directly influence while we juggle our schedules, rather than falling victim to undue peer pressure on how we should divide our efforts can’t help but have a positive impact on our overall well-being.

3.  Balance Takes Teamwork!

Finding balance in Life!

You don’t have to be a rocket scientist to realize that it’s often easier to find better balance in life when we have the support of other people.  In an article by clinical therapist F. Diane Barth in Psychology Today, she states that what is really most important for creating a good balance in our lives is not how much responsibility one person carries at any given time–but rather, how well we interact with each other, drawing from and giving energy to one another!  I realize that the ebb and flow of my life is certainly more balanced with the influence of caring people!

 4.  Creating Balance means “No!” is a compete sentence!Finding balance in life.

A key component to having better balance in life is understanding our priorities and what’s most important.    But as we all know, on any given day, in any given moment our priorities can change–so we may have to re-examine our priorities regularly.  No one necessarily wants to say no, but as success coach, Brain Tracy, states in an insightful article on, “How to Find Life Balance and Be Happy” you are going to have to do it once in awhile…and understand that no explanation is needed.  Mr. Tracy elaborates by saying that we all have the same 24 hours in a day, and we can’t possibly do everything that we want to do as well as everything everyone else wants us to do.  So a big part of leading a more balance life is to cut down on unnecessary tasks and protect your priorities.  I find simply being more aware of some of the little things I do that waste precious time is a huge factor in better balancing my life.  My mom used such finesse when telling others that she couldn’t possibly fit one other thing into her day by saying, “I can’t do that now, but thanks so much for thinking of me!”  Wise lady!

5.  Finding Balance Is A Lifetime Project! 

Finding more balance in life.

As you’ve probably already come to realize, living a more balanced life is not a finite goal, but rather an ongoing process that should help us learn to be more flexible as we better navigate the demands on our time.  Hopefully, we are then able to tackle all the things that a day may encompass with more contentment, optimism and happiness; after all—when it’s all said and done, isn’t that what we really want the most of in our lives!  My father was fond of saying that life should be a steady uphill progression!

I love this thought on having balance in our lives:

“Balance is the process of holding something steady during change!”

What are some tricks you find helpful that help you achieve a better balance in your life? 

Live better quote.

I hope the beginning of your summer gets off to a fabulous start!

–Mary

The Happiness Challenge Recap! Kiss Your Life!

The Happiness Challenge Recap!  Kiss Your Life!

The Happiness Challenge Recap!  www.mytributejournal.com Recently I completed the Happiness Challenge: “Can You Be Happy For 100 Days In A Row?”  I think most of us know what it takes to be happy in our lives–heavens knows there’s plenty written on the subject of happiness; we just need to remember and make it a conscious daily decision to be happy!

Abraham Lincoln quote on Happiness  www.mytributejournal.comLike most mother’s, mine wisely advised me that:

“Happiness is a choice!”    

I think any worthwhile undertaking like the happiness challenge, if taken to heart, can’t help but deepen the meaning of our everyday lives…it’s then that we are indeed reminded of the fact that there really is so much for us to be happy about!

Here’s a brief recap of a few of the other things that my happiness journey has helped me remember better…

The Happiness Challenge!  www.mytributejournal.com

Happiness is staying true to ourselves!

We all tend to pride ourselves on our personal uniqueness; but sometimes we need to do a better job at extending this individuality to our own brand of happiness instead of letting others determine what it should be.  I am a lot more creative when I take charge of seeing to my own happiness!

One of my favorite quotes on happiness sums this up perfectly:

Tolstoy quote on being happy  www.mytributejournal.com The Happiness Challenge!  www.mytributejournal.com

 

Happiness is being realistic! 

Believe me, I love a good party, I love going on vacation and going out to lunch with friends.  Spending a fun afternoon shopping with my daughters, daughter-in-law and granddaughters is pure, blissful happiness!  However, if we’re being realistic, for most of us, our days are filled with family schedules, jobs, house upkeep…and the list goes on and on.  I’m so grateful that my dad showed me early in life that a light-hearted “Carpe Diem” is a better way to discover real happiness when going about those things that we may consider mundane and ordinary.

“I have noticed that some people seem to always be looking for some spectacular job or opportunity, a lucky number or what not–which will bring them great wealth or an exciting adventure; then they can relax on easy street for the rest of their lives–only concerned each day with what they can do that will be exciting and fun!  This attitude has had little appeal for me.  It seems so much of life’s pleasures come from caring for small mundane tasks.  Unless a person can learn to enjoy these, much of what life has to offer is lost!” from the history of Leroy I. Jorgensen

Every day can’t be like the 4th of July…but we can certainly make each day happier by seeing how special each one of them really is in their own right!

4th of July Fireworks in Boston  www.mytributejournal.com

(Boston’s 4th of July fireworks taken this year by my daughter, Mandi.)  

The Happiness Challenge!  www.mytributejournal.com

 

A moment of unhappiness doesn’t need to ruin our whole day!

Just like how having a cookie or two doesn’t need to lead to unhealthy eating for the rest of the day, similarly a bout of unhappiness doesn’t mean the whole day needs to be a pity party!  (I’ve been guilty of this!)

A favorite Mary Englebright picture!  www.mytributejournal.com

Sometimes we just need to take a good look around us and find something to be happy about–then, like one of my favorite Mary Englebright card’s says…we can “Snap out of it!” 

It’s probably no mere coincidence that the songs “Let It Go”  from the movie Frozen and “Happy” from Despicable Me 2 are two of the most popular songs being played now…

"Let it Go" from the movie Frozen  www.mytributejournal.com

Minions from Despicable Me 2 movie  www.mytributejournal.com…more often than not, if we let go of some of the things that make us feel unhappy–especially the ones we can’t control, we’ll experience a truer sense of happiness!  It’s easier said than done, but by taking on this challenge, I really did find myself focusing more on all the wonderful things in my life that make me happy!

It’s also good to remember that others deserve to be happy, so if we’re not “feelin’ it” we shouldn’t bring them down with our grumpiness!

If all else fails, we can do what my granddaughter, Marli, does that seems to add to her perpetual state of happiness and belt out our favorite song to the top of our lungs!

The Happiness Challenge Recap!  Kiss Your Life!  www.mytributejournal.com

The Happiness Challenge!  www.mytributejournal.com

Happiness breeds happiness!

We all have those “go to” people who have that special knack for lightening the mood and putting a smile on our faces–and hearts.

The Happiness Challenge Recap!  Kiss Your Life!  www.mytributejournal.com

I try hard to take notice and stay in tune with others so that I can be that person for someone else.

The Happiness Challenge Recap!  Kiss Your Life!  www.mytributejournal.com

Sometimes it helps to just be silly together too!

In wrapping up my 100 Day Happiness Challenge, this quote pretty much says it all…I really do have so much to be happy about and grateful for in my life!

The Happiness Challenge Recap!  Kiss Your Life!  www.mytributejournal.com

What I’m learning now is…

My happiness did not start nor will it end with this challenge, but I’m learning to be much more aware of the things that make me happy.  It sounds cliché, but the happiness of those I love makes me the happiest!

The Happiness Challenge Recap!  Kiss Your Life!  www.mytributejournal.com

How do you stay upbeat and happy in your life?  What do you do to keep a positive outlook when life throws you a sucker punch?  

–Mary

Let’s Be Awesomer!

Let’s Be Awesomer!

Rock climbing in City of Rocks  www.mytributejournal.comI’m certain that the title of this post will give English teachers and grammar high brows out there some major heart burn, however, a lot of dictionary resources, including Wordnik, recognize it as an urbanized word that is occasionally used in trendy vernacular now days.  I just figured that as long as we’re working on being happier, we might as well go for upping our awesome quotient too!

maxresdefault

(Official NBC Olympic Logo) 

On the heels of watching so many incredible Olympic feats performed in Russia last month, and now seeing the athletic prowess of so many college basketball players in the NCAA championships–I often marvel at the physical and mental stamina required to be able to excel beyond the seemingly “normal” limits of human endurance!  My interests are also drawn to the backstories of diligence and perseverance they develop despite the sometimes critical scrutiny of their ability to perform!  The truer measure of a person is often defined in more poignant terms when he or she is away from the public arena.  Regardless, of the environment, self motivation and caring support from others are key factors!

Adrien Payne NCAA story

(Courtesy HLN News)

This story about Adreian Payne and his young fan, as the headline states, is “hands down” the most touching to make the news during this season’s NCAA championships!  It’s a classic tale of what can be accomplished when you do your best to hone great skill and talent with equal amounts of heart and humility!  The relationships developed will last long after the discussions of playoff brackets have ended!

Although our personal “playing fields”, so to speak, may differ vastly from those already mentioned, I think we can all agree that everyone has challenges that must be faced with a certain degree of fervor and finesse in order to achieve our various obligations and goals in life…helping us be AWESOMER!

Becoming Awesomer–A Personal Story!

I hope you won’t mind indulging me as I share a personal story of athletic triumph of sorts, that had a significant impact on me…

At the beginning of his sophomore year in high school, my son, Jake, was lifting weights in the boy’s gym when he was approached by the wrestling coach to join the team in the light weight category.  Now Jake’s first love is baseball, but he knew that there weren’t too many open positions that year on the baseball team, so he decided to do wrestling.  The fact that Jake never participated in his junior high school wrestling program, which was almost unheard of for anyone wanting to compete on a high school level where we lived, didn’t seem to faze him too much.

Jake trained hard and stayed long hours at the gym, in addition to keeping good grades in his other classes.  Jake also had to monitor what he ate each day so he could stay within a pound or two of his competing weight class.  As a mom it was hard to watch some of those first tournaments.

During Jake’s junior and senior years, his wrestling skills improved and he won quite a few tournaments, but wasn’t necessarily favored to qualify for the state championships!  Then, as fate would have it, for Jake’s final qualifying match, he ended up being paired up against the guy who was considered an easy “shoe-in” to win his weight class at the state tournament.  All I knew is that his opponent (wearing the dark brown) stood a full foot taller than Jake!

Viewmont High School Wrestling Play-offs!  www.mytributejournal.com

Viewmont High School Wrestling Play-offs!  www.mytributejournal.com

Viewmont High School Wrestling Play-offs!  www.mytributejournal.com

Jake came away the unlikely victor at his wrestling match, qualifying him to compete in the state championships his senior year of high school!

As parents, we all know that the backstory to any of our children’s successes is that aside from the ample amounts of love and support we give them, the caring influence of good coaches, teachers, church leaders and friends, who work hard to help your child develop their inner conviction to be the very best they can be, should never be underestimated!

I also know for a fact, that the encouragement of their siblings is one of the most important driving forces behind many of my children’s accomplishments!

One neat example of this was when my two younger children, Jake and Mandi, went on a rock climbing excursion…

Rock Climbing in the City of Rocks  www.mytribute journal.com

…climbing a steep crevice in the City of Rocks, Mandi couldn’t seem to find the right foot holds to get up the rest of the mountain…yeah, my family’s crazy like that!?!

Rock Climbing in the City of Rocks  www.mytributejournal.comJake eventually jumped in and with equal amounts of kind encouragement and “get your butt going” –they were able to scale the mountain to the top!

Rock climbing in City of Rocks  www.mytributejournal.comTo this day, even with so many miles separating them, my children continue to look to each other as a great support system for helping them each achieve the “awesomer” version of themselves!  That does any parent’s heart good!

What I’m learning now is…

As much as we love our children, realistically, we have to be OK with the fact that we are just one of many key players that provide the needed support and encouragement in their lives so that they…   

Let's Be Awesomer! www.mytributejournal.comWhat are some ways you encourage your children to succeed and do their best?    

–Mary

Also, with spring finally making a consistent appearance, coming up next week will be the first of a few new features to be showcased regularly–yeah!

Garden Therapy!  www.mytributejournal.com