Is emotional balance achievable when life is always sending a surprise, a problem, or a challenge? Yes, balance is achievable, but to get to balance means you are on a bit of a seesaw ride. Remember being on a seesaw when you were a kid? You had to get to just the right place to keep from hitting the bottom or finding yourself way up on the top. Perfect balance was required and sometimes achieved, but mostly you were a little bit up or a little bit too down. You could achieve balance, but it did take some concentrating to get to that sweet spot between up and down. And when you did manage to get there, you teetered a bit and discovered that balance once achieved did not equate to balance forever achieved.
Now that we are grownups, our balancing act may be required because of either external circumstances or from our own thought processes. Just worrying about things, real or imagined, definitely tips the seesaw to a downward position while happy circumstances give us a boost in the other direction. But again, achieving emotional balance is not a one-time thing.
Assuming you are not suffering from a debilitating illness or circumstance, you are not down all the time. Same goes for feeling happy; we are not happy all the time.
We can view our emotions as if we were looking into a reflecting pool, and most times, we can see why we are in or out of balance. There are also times when we feel a certain way but are not really sure why. But whether or not we are aware of what tips the seesaw in one direction or the other, we have some ability to rebalance.
Those of us who use drugs or alcohol to make the adjustment to rebalance know full well how fleeting and deceptive it is to try to rebalance this way. Sure, it may seem tempting to feel temporary relief from a down position, but the aftermath makes this route futile and totally without value.
Here are some suggestions to get that seesaw into the sweet-spot place where balance, however temporary, is achievable if you find yourself in the down position. First off, you can start a conversation with yourself questioning how much this off balance really matters in the scheme of things. How much will this event or circumstance impact your life next week, next month, or next year?
Oftentimes, this type of self-analysis is helpful for placing the circumstance or feeling in a proper perspective. What seems so out of balance today is usually passing and does not impact our future life. Another technique to bring into play if you are in the down position is to count your blessings, for there are many even in the worst of circumstances. Try telling yourself that whatever it is that has you in the down position is a passing circumstance and not a judgment of your entire life to come.
Yet another technique is to distract your thinking by either doing something right away like taking a walk, calling a friend, doing deep, mindful breathing, or calling your coach. Being able to distract your thinking absolutely gives you a time out to consider if this event, whatever it is, is life altering. Chances are, it is not. Even though these feelings may be annoying, disappointing, even depressing, but life altering? Most likely not.
The up position is really nice, but this too is fleeting. If you pay attention to how nice this feels, you can add appreciation to this nice feeling. Neither way up nor way down is what we want to feel for most of the time in our lives. Being in balance is the optimal condition, and like so much in our lives, we have a greater role to play than just being the victims of whim or circumstance. We are able to redirect thoughts, moods, and feeling with a little practice and a lot of desire.
Remember, ups and downs happen to everyone, addict and non-addict alike. This is another component of being human, being alive.
Nothing stays the same; it is not the way of life. Emotions are feelings and feelings can be managed. We can learn to practice managing our stress, which in turn, manages our feelings.
Regardless of what is going on, one thing you can be sure of is that “and this too shall pass.” This, you can count on.