Tag Archives: balance

10 Common Habits That Get You Hooked

hook-485885-mYou probably have activities that you love to do. What you may not realize is that normal hobbies and habits can turn into an addiction.

When you hear the word addiction, your mind may automatically think of dependence on a substance, such as drugs or alcohol. But, the definition of addiction may surprise you. According to Wikipedia, “Addiction is a state characterized by compulsive engagement in rewarding stimuli, despite adverse consequences.

That means you can also become addicted to “behaviors.” Something that starts out as fun turns into a habit, and then becomes a compulsion.

Here are 10 surprising things you may be addicted to:

The Internet
You may think that browsing the internet is just a fun way to pass the time. However, studies have shown that internet addiction actually alters the brain in ways that are similar to the affects of drug and alcohol addiction. An addiction to the internet involves loss of control, as well as negative consequences at home and at work.

Smartphones are another new habit that can become an addiction. You keep it with you all the time and check it every few minutes. You ignore in-person interactions to catch a text or a post from someone you haven’t seen in years. You work too much because you’re constantly checking your phone. Put the phone down and have a conversation!

You may not realize that caffeine is a drug. As soon as I wake up in the morning, I want coffee. I am on edge without it and will get a headache from caffeine withdrawal. Coffee, soda and energy drinks can all be overused. As long as you don’t overdo it, your caffeine habit can be harmless.

Many people get sugar cravings. Foods high in carbs, fats and sugar can affect your brain just like drugs do. You may be craving a chocolate candy bar or an ice cream cone. It doesn’t necessarily mean you’re addicted, but your sweet tooth can get out of control and contribute to other health problems.

I admit it. I have a shopping addiction. I love clothes, shoes, kitchen gadgets and more. I just enjoy the act of shopping. When you shop, it may lift you up when you’re feeling down or just make you happy. That’s because your brain actually releases a feel-good chemical called dopamine. Chronic shopping may also mean you have impulse-control problems or anxiety issues. Shopping too often can also lead to financial, social or deeper emotional problems.

You can become addicted to the sun. The ultraviolet spectrum of sunlight releases chemicals in your body called endorphins. They make you feel good. You may also feel like you’re never tan enough no matter how tan you get. This may be a sign of an obsessive-compulsive or body dysmorphic disorder.

Of the behavioral addictions, gambling is the one most closely related to drug and alcohol addiction. Gambling lights up the same areas in the brain as drug addictions. You may bet on an office pool, gamble online or gamble more seriously at slot machines, poker tables, or off track betting. If you’re not lucky, betting can wreak havoc on your finances, job and family life.

As I sit here writing this on a Saturday morning, it’s possible that I am addicted to work. While most of the work world looks forward to weekends, those who have an addiction may find themselves working nights and weekends. While we joke about being a “workaholic,” it can jeopardize a person’s health and relationships.

Videos games
Can’t put down the video game console? Do you think about playing games while doing other activities? Research shows that boys and men most commonly have a video game addiction. If you’re shirking responsibilities, work or social activities to play video games, you may be addicted. With games becoming more realistic and challenging, it’s even harder to separate fantasy from reality.

Food can become a problem if you’re eating to ease emotions, overeating while alone and then feeling guilty after the binge. While food can seem like a drug for people with eating disorders, it’s not considered a true addiction. It’s important to develop healthy eating habits and avoid issues with food.

It is possible to have too much of a good thing. Any activity or habit can become an issue if it begins to control your life. It’s important to find balance in everything you do. If you discover that you’re hooked on a behavior and it’s having negative consequences, it may be time to make a change!

7 Reasons Why You Should Set Goals

Setting goals for life balanceI recently read an article that said you shouldn’t set goals. The main point of the story was that it’s hard to set realistic goals when you can’t control the outside factors that may derail you from reaching your goals.

While this may be true, it also means you need to be flexible and adapt as you work toward your goals. Let’s say you have a dentist appointment today. You could get stuck in traffic or have a flat tire and be late for your appointment. You could arrive on time, but your dentist had to leave to treat an emergency. Does that mean you shouldn’t have planned to go to the dentist – just because it might not work out as you planned?

As human beings, we live in utter chaos most of the time. We have to be flexible and readjust our thinking all the time. While the beginning of a new year is often a time when people decide to set goals, you should set and evaluate your goals all year long.

Why set goals?
Goals are meant to help you challenge yourself. Your goals can be small or monumental. Most of your goals should reflect habits you want to improve or help you in the process of creating a more balanced life.

Here are 7 reasons you should set realistic and attainable goals:

To set your priorities
Goals can help you prioritize what is important and what is not, or how to handle making a decision. For instance, you’ve set a goal to spend more quality time with your spouse. If an opportunity comes up to go out with friends on your preplanned date night, then you will want to keep your date night and catch up with friends another time.

To recognize opportunities
When you have goals in mind, you are more likely to recognize an opportunity when it presents itself. For example, you might have a goal to further your education or career training. If your company were to offer seminars or discounted tuition to continue your education, it would be any easy decision to take advantage of these programs.

To challenge yourself
It’s easy to get stuck in a routine of doing the same thing. You are more capable than you may realize. Only you truly know your own strengths and weaknesses. By challenging yourself, you can uncover your true potential. You may want to learn to play a musical instrument but feel it’s too late to learn. The only way you will find out your talents and passions is to challenge yourself to expand your horizons.

A quote from A Completely Balanced Life:
“Rather than finding reasons to pass up opportunities, remind yourself of all the things you can accomplish by taking advantage of them. Rather than letting the possibility of failure stand in your way, be fearless in pursuit of your dreams.”

To build your confidence
When you set and achieve your goals, you can fuel your own ambition. Little successes will give you more confidence and encourage you to aim higher than you might have thought possible. For instance, you might want to run a marathon, but you have no training or experience at running long distances. If you set a goal to run a mile without stopping and you achieve that goal, then you will have more confidence to run three miles and so on.

To motivate you
Your goals should represent your inner desires. These desires then motivate you in life. Having goals in mind will serve as a constant reminder of what you want to accomplish. If you find your motivation lagging, it may be time to reevaluate your goals so that you can become inspired again.

To give you focus
Goals help you know where to place your attention. Your priorities and overall purpose give you a broad direction as you navigate through life. Your purpose may be to live a more spiritual existence. Your goals will help you focus on the tasks that will allow you to put God first.

To live a more balanced life
You cannot always control the obstacles that may crop up in your life. You can control how you respond to them. By having defined goals in place, you will have a clear path in mind so that you know how to react positively to challenges. You can achieve a more balanced life when you are focused on what you want to accomplish!

12 keys to a healthy, balanced relationship

happy couple in healthy relationshipAfter 21 years of marriage, I feel like my husband and I have a strong, healthy relationship. We argue, bicker and annoy each other from time to time, but at the end of the day we are happy to be together.

We are best friends. We want and expect the same things. We respect each other. While these factors go a long way toward creating a strong relationship, there are several things you can work on to create a healthy, balanced relationship.

Here are 12 keys to helping your relationship reach its potential:

Be responsible for yourself
You need to make sure you are happy first. As the saying goes, “You have to love yourself before you can love someone else.” When you take responsibility for your own happiness, you have more to give to your partner. You’ll have the confidence to admit when you’re wrong and can build a strong relationship.

Listen to each other
Sometimes all your partner wants is for you to listen to them vent so they can get what’s bothering them off their chest. Other times, your partner may be looking to you for help with solving a problem. You need to be a good listener and know when to simply lend a sympathetic ear and when you need to give advice.

Express your feelings
You may assume that your spouse knows how you feel about him or her. Yet, we all need to know we are loved and appreciated. A solid relationship is based on respect. Let your spouse know you love her often, and let her know when something is bothering you. While you may get used to each other’s moods and nuances, you still can’t read each other’s minds. You have to let your partner know what’s bother you so you can work on it together.

Fight fair
You will argue and bicker. It’s just human nature. Fighting can be a healthy part of any relationship. It’s important that you fight fairly. Here are 10 ways to fight more fairly and strengthen your relationship with your spouse or significant other.

Build trust
You must be able to trust that your partner is looking out for your best interests. Partners who trust each other would never deliberately hurt each other. In healthy relationships, you know your spouse will do what he says he will do. You know your spouse is being open and honest. You know your happiness and well-being is of utmost importance to your spouse.

Come to terms with money
Money is one of the most common causes of arguments for couples. You may not agree on how to manage your money. One partner may be a spender while the other person is a saver. Money may be used as a way to have more control over your partner. You should both have an equal say about how you manage your finances. Decide on large purchases together. If you can’t combine your funds and get along, then create separate accounts. The important thing is to find a healthy balance that keeps you from fighting about money.

Agree on parenting
Parenting styles can also be the root of many relationship problems. You may have each grown up with different parenting styles. It’s best to have a conversation about parenting styles before you have children. You can modify your parenting styles and develop a style that works for both of you.

Spend time together
My husband and I have three kids who participate in what seems like every possible sport and school activity. I work days during the week, and he works nights on the weekend. It’s hard to spend time together without kids or other distractions. We try to have a “date lunch” on Fridays because it’s one of the few days we can work it in. It’s important to spend time together that’s dedicated to just you as a couple.

Give each other space
On the other hand, you may want to spend time pursuing your own separate interests or hanging out with your own friends. You need to do things that let you relieve stress and make you happy. My husband likes to hunt and fix up old cars. I like to read and work on my flower beds. We don’t like to do these things together. It improves our relationship when we are able to spend time doing our own thing.

Be supportive
You can support your partner by understanding that their happiness matters. While you are not solely responsible for their happiness, you should make your partner’s well-being a priority in your life. You should be your spouse’s biggest cheerleader. You are a safe place for each other during the good times and the bad. Just knowing that your partner is by your side can make everything better.

My husband and I don’t agree on everything, but we find a solution that we can both live with. We may have to find a way to meet in the middle. Other times, you may just agree to disagree. One spouse may have to back down and let the other have his or her way. As long as there’s a balance on who gives in, you can compromise for the health of your relationship.

Make time to have fun. Even in the middle of mundane household activities, you can still have a good time together. If you can make each other laugh, you can make it through even the toughest days.

How many years have you been with your partner? What are your secrets to creating a healthy, balanced relationship?

How a budget can help you create balance

balanced budgetEvery January, I panic over the amount of money I spent for Christmas. I start looking at the bills coming due and our monthly income, and I panic even more.

After a more careful review of 2012, I know that we have over spent and could live more frugally and responsibly. Why does it matter?

First, we can live without some of the things we buy. We don’t need all the “stuff.” Second, I have noticed that my kids seem to feel a sense of entitlement. If they want something, we should just go out and buy it for them. It would be good for them to understand the importance of living within a budget.

In addition, if our finances are out of balance, we will feel out of balance. It can affect relationships, stress levels and sleep habits. Here are a few more reasons to establish a budget, balance your finances and live a balanced life:

Uncover waste
When you create a budget, you see – in black and white – where your money is going. For example, without a detailed account of your spending, it’s easy to ignore how much money you are paying for meals at restaurants and on take-out. After working on my budget, I was shocked to see how much we spend on fuel (gasoline and diesel) in a month. I know I have to do a certain amount of driving, but it makes me think about planning my trips and grouping my errands together.

Reduce stress
As the person who pays the bills, I know when our funds are tight for a particular month. It stresses me out. I lose sleep at night. By having a budget in place, I can be more prepared for the bills and unexpected expenses that come up. I won’t be guessing if we have enough money for a large purchase, or if we need to wait a few months. And I will know that we have the money available to pay all the bills.

Guide spending
Your budget can help you see where you can reduce spending on extras you may not need. At the same time, you may be able to put more funds toward eliminating debt and into savings.

Eliminate debt
There is good debt, and then there is bad debt. How can debt be good? Your home mortgage is a good debt because you are building equity in real estate, which has value. Your car loan is good debt if your loan payment is reasonable. Credit cards are considered bad debt. If you have outstanding credit card balances, creating a budget can help you pay off these debts. You may also be able to put extra funds toward mortgage or car payments to pay down the loan principal and reduce the amount you pay in interest.

Set priorities
A budget helps you get a big picture view of your finances. Your spouse may have different financial goals than you do. You may want to reduce debt, and your spouse may want to save for a vacation. By seeing your budget on paper, you can discuss the priorities you each have and find a way to align your priorities with your budget.

Build new habits
By working within a budget, you can develop new spending habits. You may think about that pair of new shoes or – in my husband’s case – new power tool before you buy it. With the big picture in mind, you realize that your budget plan is more important than these items.

Grow savings
Savings can include your emergency fund or the money you invest for retirement. If you think about saving from every dollar earned, it becomes easier to put the concept of savings in perspective and increase the amount you set aside. You can add your emergency fund and retirement contributions to your budget and make them as important as the house payment and the electric bill.

Give back
Making donations to your church or a favorite charity should also be a part of your financial plans. If you add it to the budget, then it is top of mind and is included in your monthly finances. You’ll feel good knowing that you are improving your financial situation and helping others.

Now that you know WHY it’s important to establish a household budget, next week we will write about HOW to create a budget. Do you have other reasons for living within a budget? Do you have tips for making a budget? Let us know!

Staying on the Path to a Balanced Life

path to balanced lifeWe all live in a crazy, hectic, fast-paced world. We are bombarded with different obstacles and challenges every day. It is a lifelong journey to become the best version of ourselves we can be.

There are temptations at every stage of your life that will pull you from the path to a healthy, balanced life. It may be as simple as taking a detour, or you may end up going down the completely wrong road.

As you prepare for a new year, it’s a good time to reflect on the changes you can make in 2013 to help you achieve a more balanced life.

Where are you on the path to balance?
What can you do to find balance now and create more balance in the future?

Depending on your age and the stage of your life, you will face different challenges and obstacles. You can adjust your priorities and your goals to find a healthy balance at each stage:

The Roaring 20s
In our 20s, we can be tempted to stay up too late, party too hard, take our families for granted, and neglect our finances and overall health. We want it all and think we are invincible. We have plenty of time to become grown-up and responsible. Yet, the habits we develop at this age will be the hardest to break as we grow older. Now is the time to develop healthy habits that will stick with you and help you maintain your balance as your life changes.

  • Start a regular exercise routine
  • Develop relationships that will stay with you the rest of your life
  • Create a financial plan now that will guide you into a comfortable retirement
  • Establish good habits now and avoid bad habits later

The Thrilling 30s
When you reach your 30s, you may have a spouse, young children, sleepless nights, a mortgage, and a dog. It’s even harder to keep everything in perspective. You may be working at a job you don’t especially like, but feel you have to keep it so you can buy all the things you want. You may feel a little lost and not really sure how you got to this place. Staying on the path to a balanced life can help you put it into perspective and get you back to living your best life.

  • Think about what is important to you – do you need to have all the “stuff” that everyone else has?
  • Learn to manage stress now – for your future health and sanity
  • Focus on getting enough sleep to improve your physical and mental well-being

The Fabulous 40s
By your 40s, you may have moody teenagers who are testing their boundaries and your patience. You are worried about paying for college. You may be eating poorly and struggling to find time to exercise. You are stressed out and running from one place to another – trying to squeeze in all your commitments and doing everything for everyone. This is a crucial time to keep on the path to a balanced life. Now more than ever, you need to:

  • Eat a balanced diet with plenty of fruits and vegetables
  • Continue to challenge yourself to make exercise part of your daily routine
  • Reconnect with your friends and nurture those relationships
  • Take time to do things that make you happy

The Freeing 50s and 60s
The kids may be grown up and out of the house. Now, it’s time to figure out what you want to do with the rest of your life. You may want to reconnect with your spouse, or you may find you have more time to help others.

  • Spend time getting to know your spouse again
  • Find a cause that you are passionate about and volunteer your time, provide your unique skills, or donate money
  • Evaluate your goals and think about what you want to accomplish in this phase of your life

To learn more about staying on the path to a balanced life at any age, check out the interactive book, A Completely Balanced Life, published by Remember Your Health.

Do you have chronic stress? 6 major signs

chronic stressStress is a part of life. Are you going to make it to work on time? Is your best friend still mad at you? Where will you find the perfect holiday gifts?

This is everyday, manageable stress. Normal stress actually helps you deal with things more successfully. If you barely make it to work on time one day, you’ll leave earlier the next day. You call your friend and resolve the issue. You decide to start shopping earlier or go online and make purchases.

However, there may be times when you become chronically stressed. When you are in a constant state of stress, you begin to feel overwhelmed and unable to cope on a daily basis. How do you know if it’s regular stress, or if you have chronic stress that may need to be addressed?

Following are some of the signs and symptoms of chronic stress:

Head and neck pain
Tension or stress headaches are one of the most common symptoms of chronic stress. Stress can also trigger migraines and lead to neck and back pain. You may even experience overall muscles aches and pains.

Upset stomach
It has been determined that psychological stress can lead to gastrointestinal disorders. You may develop acid indigestion, heartburn or irritable bowel syndrome. You could have an ongoing churning or upset feeling in your stomach and lose your appetite.

Anxious thoughts
Being under stress can affect your mood and general well-being. You may feel depressed, agitated or moody. You may snap at others over things that wouldn’t normally bother you. You may withdraw from your normal activities or spend less time with your circle of friends. You may just feel unhappy.

Lack of concentration
Do you misplace things? Wander into another room but don’t remember why? Are you putting simple tasks off instead of immediately taking care of them? While these are examples of normal forgetfulness and procrastination, these behaviors can become more severe with chronic stress.

Difficulty sleeping
Waking up drained and fatigued is another sign that you may be overworked and overextended. You feel tired all day and are exhausted by the time you go to bed. But as soon as you close your eyes at night, your brain just won’t shut down. You may also wake up frequently at night or toss and turn as daylight approaches.

Feeling overwhelmed
You may reach a point where it’s all just too much. You are so stressed over everything that you don’t feel you can truly accomplish anything.

To live a fulfilling life, we all need to have goals, dreams and responsibilities. However, there is a difference between living fully and living in a constant state of stress. If you are experiencing chronic stress, it may be time to make positive changes in your life that will help  you manage and control your stress levels.

Balance is the key. Take a look at A Completely Balanced Life for tips and guidance on how to live your best life by living a balanced life.

What is the Balanced Life?

Welcome! Today is the beginning of the Live the Balanced Life blog.

What inspired us to write this blog?

We recently published a book that we believe will change lives. A Completely Balanced Life is an interactive book designed to help you achieve and maintain balance in many areas of your life. Some of these areas include Relationships, Stress Management, Eating Right, Exercise, Feeling Rested and more. There are 10 of these Basic principles that – when they are all working in harmony – will help you live a healthier, happier, more balanced life. You will be living your best life.

Many years ago, the founder of Remember Your Health and publisher of A Completely Balanced Life, Jim Reinhart, began a journey to start living a life of balance because he knew it was possible. He also knew it would not be easy.

It’s a common story. Many of us have the desire to change: we want to get healthier, feel better about ourselves and have a stable balance within all aspects of our life. We know that it’s just a matter of adopting healthier habits. But, it’s so hard to change.

At this time in your life, it may seem impossible to make a dramatic, life-altering change. You CAN do it. And we can help you. You can find ways to improve your physical, emotional, and mental well-being, have relationships that last, be financially sound, find your purpose in life, and have a spiritual connection.

Everyone is different. We all react differently to new situations and challenges. However, everyone can benefit from following great advice that has been proven to work and change your life for the better.

Finding and maintaining complete balance in all aspects of your life is a journey. You will face new and different obstacles and challenges throughout your life. This blog will give you tips and insights on how to find true balance in your life.

Our goal is to give you the tools and resources to accomplish the changes you want to make. Then, it’s up to you to live your best life!