the Reads: Mind & Spirit

Aiming for a balanced life

the Antidote to... taking good health for granted

Striving to live a more balanced life is essential for our physical, mental and spiritual health. Lumbie Mlambo, editor of Equanimity magazine and a stroke survivor, gives us three valid reasons why we should make it a priority.

• The health factor Staying balanced is a key to a healthier and successful life. Both mental health and physical health benefit, and as a result, so do our overall lives. “When we’re healthy, we’re able to care for ourselves and others in our community,” Mlambo says.

•  The empathy factor When we find balance in life, we can better understand the importance of helping the underprivileged, says Mlambo, who grew up in a rural area in Zimbabwe. You begin to realize that some day you could be in their situation, which makes you a more empathetic person. “Your economic situation is like your health,” she says. “Nothing is guaranteed.”

•  The role-model factor Sharing our stories – whether it’s a tale of success or even a tale of failure – is important because others can learn from us or be inspired by us as they too strive for a balanced life. “When you tell your story, it empowers, motivates and encourages people to not give up on their dreams and goals,” Mlambo says. “Maybe you think your story is just not that interesting or important. But for someone out there, it may be the spark that ignites them to great things.”

Mlambo always strove to find balance in her life. But she became even more passionate about it after she suffered a stroke in 2001 that left her partially paralyzed. She has since recovered, but says the event had a profound impact on her and she will always consider herself a stroke patient.

“Before the stroke, I thought my life was balanced in a way,” she says. “I mean, I ate healthy foods. I exercised seven days a week. But it was not balanced in the way I wanted. I had been too focused on myself. I realized that life was not just about me, but about others.”

Finding balance in life isn’t just a feel-good concept, Mlambo says. As people achieve balance, they realize they have the potential to rise above their circumstances. They can become more productive in their communities and that is good for everyone. “Staying proactive and shifting the way we think can even help the economy to grow and can help create more jobs,” she says.

Certainly, maintaining a balanced life may be tougher than ever because technology allows work – emails, text messages, telephone calls – to intrude on people’s “off” hours. But that’s just all the more reason to make a concerted effort to strive for balance, Mlambo says. “We eat healthy to stay balanced, we get enough sleep or rest to avoid stress, we juggle our daily activities to stay balanced,” Mlambo says. “To be successful in anything we do, we must have some sort of balance.”