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Posted on Wed, Mar 30, 2011 : 6 a.m.

Why life balance is not good for you

By Chris Wucherer

Do you have a personal mantra of "I have to get my life in balance?" and often feel that you fall far short of your goal? You're not alone, most people struggle to find life balance.

With all the demands that modern day life puts on the average person, life balance can seem as elusive as the Holy Grail.

There is a good reason for that — life balance is as elusive as the Holy Grail!

Balance is a state of equilibrium, mental steadiness or emotional stability, a habit of calm behavior. The sheer mention of the word balance can conjure up an image of a perfectly balanced life, like a Yogi sitting on a mountain side in pure bliss.

The truth is that it is just not possible to have a perfect state of equilibrium when living a full life.

It is this image of perfection the word "balance" conjures that makes life balance not good for you. Language is a very powerful way that people create their reality.

When the phrase "life balance" is used, most people unconsciously strive for perfection. They strive for equilibrium in all life areas, and this can become a set up for a perception of failure.

I like to try for "Saner Living" instead of "life balance." Saner Living is about making choices every day which brings you closer to a feeling of contentment.

For example, today I went for a walk between clients. I could have stayed in my office and worked because I have plenty of projects lined up, which feels stressful to me.

Walking the streets of Ann Arbor, I felt the warm sun high in a blue sky on a crisp spring day bake the stress out of me, talked about baseball's opening season with a homeless man selling the GroundUp newspaper on a street corner, and noticed sidewalk tables in front of restaurants, a sure sign of spring. I came back to work renewed and refreshed, ready to work smarter, not harder.

Is my life completely in balance? Nope, but it sure feels a lot saner after that walk.

The idea is to make small daily choices to keep your life saner. So, throw out the tired old phrase "life balance," and go for Saner Living. You will be glad you did!

What small daily choices can you make to bring Saner Living into your life? Let's get a dialogue going and help build a movement for Saner Living!

Comment below right now with your ideas for Saner Living. I can't wait to hear your great ideas!

Yay for sanity!

Saner Living is the new life balance.

Chris Wucherer is a life coach, business coach and psychotherapist with 28 years of experience helping people create saner lives. She writes a blog and has a website. You can reach her at 734-669-7202 or by email.

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Mon, Apr 11, 2011 : 6:22 p.m.

Great article! I love the idea of saner living vs balanced living. Author Renee Trudeau defines balance as "having enough time and energy to do those things which are most important to you". I love that because of course a perfect balance is impossible, but when you're striving for a quieter life, you naturally feel more in balance.


Sat, Apr 2, 2011 : 7:51 p.m.

I find just living everyday with the Obama economy is tough enough. I wish I could worry about things on a higher level of life other than survival. Nice article if you have a job and money.

Diana Hunt

Thu, Mar 31, 2011 : 4:30 p.m.

When people think of Life Balance in terms of having X% of their time spent at work, Y% on family, and so on, it becomes another stressful "should." In that case, I agree with you, Chris. But that was never the point of the life balance "movement," as I read it. The point is to be aware of all of your values and priorities, without compartmentalizing them, and to allot your resources to best meet them. This means that what you do will change over time. Sometimes you spend more time on work, sometimes more on family, sometimes on solitary pursuits; but over time, the attention to each balances in a way that is satisfying. Balance is a mindset that enables you to navigate the bumps of life, like a skier among moguls or a water-skier crossing waves. It can be cultivated. Just paying attention to your *real* needs and commitments, rather than passively allowing yourself to be influenced by media ads, etc., is a good start. What is the most important thing to do *right now?* In each area, what needs to be done? what's the immediate next thing to do in each area? What is my gut telling me about what I need to do right now? It may be going for a walk, or talking for five minutes with a child, or listening to a friend, even though the pile in your in-box or the clutter around the house demands attention. The work will get done.