Body, Mind, Spirit Magazine

Balance in Life

By Andrewtix

In a very candid reflection on his the current state of medicine in our culture, Dr. Richard Swensen writes:

“Patients don’t know what to do or where to turn. They have no social supports, no roots, no community. Their stomachs won’t stop burning. They can’t sleep at night. They think about drastic solutions. The public blames the medical profession for giving too many tranquilizers and antidepressants. But what would you do? Doctors like to see healing as a result of their work. Yet today we often must be content with far less. There are so many things wrong with people’s lives that even our best is only a stopgap.”

In his book, “Margin,” Swensen seeks to pinpoint the underlying cause of Western medical problems, and to point toward some real solutions. His general thesis is that many have lost the “margin” in their lives to restore balance and that this “margin” must be regained if health is to result in the long-term.

Much of Swensen’s book points out the downsides of social progress. Although clearly we have progressed physically (e.g., in wealth and technology) and cognitively (e.g., in knowledge and information), people increasingly have suffered from increased pain in relationships (e.g., in family, friendships, neighborhood relationships, and civic involvement), emotional health (e.g., increased stress and less contentment), and spiritual connectedness (e.g., less time for prayer, meditation, and service to those in need). In many ways, then, the progress in the tangible has come at the expense of those aspects of life that tend to be the most meaningful and enjoyable. Although our bodies can defend against these changes for a time, after a while the stress leads to a critical burnout point, ultimately leading to chronic health problems relatively unique to this culture (e.g., heart disease).

There are many possible remedies to these problems, if only individuals would choose to implement some. These include:

1. Intentionally cultivate deep, interdependent relationships with people inside and outside your family.

2. Devote yourself every week to serving someone outside of your work.

3. Engage in specific practices that enhance gratitude such as prayer and keeping a gratitude journal in which you record 3-5 unique things every day for which you sincerely are thankful.

4. Say “no” to activities that aren’t necessary or meaningful.

5. Develop a healthy sleep pattern in which you follow a routine that allows 7.5-9 hours of sleep per night.

6. Engage in an enjoyable physical activity almost every day.

7. Follow Michael Pollon’s dietary advice: Eat “food,” not too much, mostly plants.

8. Eliminate time wasters, especially including excessive use of technology (e.g., television, video games, internet, and cell phone).

9. Save 10% and share 10% of your earnings.

10. Avoid debt (except for a mortgage).

11. Emphasize usefulness over trendiness in purchases.

12. Develop your prayer life.

13. Read more.

14. Be as self-sufficient in possible (e.g., in growing your own food, making your own clothes, and generally not relying on technology to “get things done”).

15. Practice the sabbath (one day per week in which you do not work or use technology but instead devote yourself to faith, relationships, fun, and rejuvenation).

If individuals could practice these lifestyle changes, Swenson believes, and I concur, physical and mental health problems would plummet in our culture, and much of the richness of a life well lived would return.


You Might Also Like :

Back to Featured Articles on Logo Paperblog

These articles might interest you :

  • The Worst Christmas Specials Ever. Still.

    Worst Christmas Specials Ever. Still.

    Exactly ten years ago I shared this wonderful relic of the Olde Days of the Blogosphere, by John Scalzi. It was old then, and it's even older now. Still make... Read more

    9 hours, 42 minutes ago by   Russellarbenfox
    SOCIETY
  • Happiness Is... Getting Used to the Mayhem

    Happiness Is... Getting Used Mayhem

    I know, half of the school holidays has gone by in a flash and we are nearing mid-December already! How can it be, right? That means we only have a few more... Read more

    11 hours, 12 minutes ago by   A Happy Mum
    FAMILY, SELF EXPRESSION
  • How Speaking Up Can Create Greater Happiness and Success

    Speaking Create Greater Happiness Success

    It's not always easy to find the words when you don't know what the reaction will be, but just how much do we avoid speaking up? According to research, 72% of... Read more

    The 11 December 2018 by   Ncrimaldi
    BUSINESS, CAREER
  • MDM Recordings Introduces TJ Miller

    Recordings Introduces Miller

    MDM Recordings unveiled a new member of their label family on Monday night at the Canadian Country Music Association office in Toronto, introducing a small grou... Read more

    The 11 December 2018 by   Phjoshua
    LIFESTYLE, SELF EXPRESSION
  • 15 Non-toy Gift Ideas for Kids

    Non-toy Gift Ideas Kids

    With Christmas just two weeks away, the pressure is on. And if your kids or the kids you’re buying for are like my kids, they really don’t NEED anything. Read more

    The 11 December 2018 by   Thesamanthashow
    LIFESTYLE, SELF EXPRESSION
  • Handle with Care: Consolidating Bill Traylor’s Artwork

    Conservator Catherine Maynor has extensive expertise caring for works on paper at the Smithsonian American Art Museum, including many by self-taught artists,... Read more

    The 11 December 2018 by   Americanart
    ART & DESIGN, CULTURE
  • Recipe: South African Three Bean Salad1 Min Read

    Recipe: South African Three Bean Salad1 Read

    Summer in South Africa means Braai - their word for BBQ. This light and bright salad makes the ideal complement to traditional BBQ fare. Serve it alongside... Read more

    The 11 December 2018 by   Healthytravelblog
    TRAVEL