‘The secret to life is to find the right balance in everything you do’. (Anon)

HOM: Gathering data through all the senses

For Christians this is the season of Lent, a precursor to Easter and a time of reflection, self-examination and fasting. It is also the season of Ramadan for Muslims, and this too is a time of fasting, prayer and reflection. These times give space for people to consider life and whether it is properly balanced between what we do for ourselves, others and God.

Balance is our theme for this week and in form groups we will be thinking about what makes for a balanced life. The Wheel of Wellbeing (of which there several versions) can be helpful in thinking about the different elements that make up a balanced life. The one we will be using was developed by Surrey health service and focuses on six areas of life that if in balance, can make the wheels of our life run more smoothly. They include body, mind, spirit, connections, noticing and care.

Body: Active. Being physically active is important for our physical bodies but also our mental health. Research has shown that even small amounts of exercise can boost mental alertness, giving more energy and improving mood. It can also reduce stress and anxiety as well as increase self-esteem.

Mind: Keep Learning. Life-long learners are likely to be more optimistic and able to get more out of life. It can help develop a ‘can do’ attitude and help us able to deal with challenging situations better.

Spirit: Give.  Giving to others can stimulate our brain to release endorphins which are associated with trust, pleasure and social connections. Research has shown that giving time or money can make a person happier and give more satisfaction than focusing on oneself.

People: Connect. Most people need a certain level of social interaction to stay healthy although the amount is different for everyone. Connecting with people, animals, nature and what is sacred will support our wellbeing.

Place; Take notice.  Paying attention to what is going on around us can help us appreciate and enjoy the everyday things. Finding the extraordinary in the commonplace can be a revelation.

Planet: Care. Looking after the planet helps bring balance to the world and the environment, but it also helps with personal wellbeing and satisfaction.

Achieving balance in life can be challenging, especially when external factors beyond our control threaten to derail us. However, it is then we need more than ever to look at each aspect of the wheel and see where we are lacking, in order to redress the balance.

Christine Crossley