Thursday, May 16, 2019

How is Your Life Balance?

Balanced Life

Many of the patients and clients I work with daily express some level of frustration with their lack of life balance. Sometimes it is their work that steamrolls over their personal life or prevents them from exercising, recreating, or spending meaningful time with the people they love. Others are so consumed with family issues and responsibility that there’s no time for a relaxing break.

The first challenge to having greater life balance is to figure out what, exactly, is out of balance. We have a simple tool to help you assess your life balance.

Thursday, August 9, 2018

Balance Your Life

Balance Your LifeJust like a tightrope walker, you need to know how to maintain balance in your life so you don’t fall into trouble. When even one area of your life is overloaded, it is time to ask, “Why?”

For many of us, the culprit is over-commitment. You may say, “Yes” to everything because you are afraid to say, “No.” Some people feel guilty when they disappoint someone with a refusal. In other cases, people who over-commit are insecure and trying to win approval. Some people have what appears to be a vibrant zest for life that they want to experience every single opportunity that comes along – but forget that some time must be saved for rest and self-care. Letting everyone else’s ideas and agendas control your time and energy will quickly throw you off balance.

Wednesday, July 12, 2017

Three Simple Tips to Help Balance Your Life

Balance your life“There just isn’t enough of me to go around! It’s our busy season at work and it’s impossible to keep up with my job demands on top of my family responsibilities. It feels like I am headed for a break-down!”

When your life seems out of control and you’ve got endless demands tugging at you from all directions, it’s easy to feel overwhelmed, fatigued and just plain stressed! You know you need to do something to preserve your health and your sanity, but what can you do?

Believe it or not, balancing your life does not require massive changes. You don’t have to quit your job, abandon your family and escape to a remote retreat in order to feel peaceful and happy. In fact, true balance is something that starts WITHIN YOU first and foremost, no matter what else is happening in your outer life circumstances. Attitudes, habits and choices will determine the balance you achieve.

Below you’ll find three simple ways to begin building a greater sense of inner peace and harmony.

Quiet time – One of the first things we tend to sacrifice when we’re busy is our personal time. Instead, we devote all of our energy and attention to caring for others, multi-tasking, meeting responsibilities and “being productive.” Over time this depletes our energy and we begin to feel more and more burdened by our responsibilities.

To live a more balanced life, quiet time for yourself is not a luxury – it’s a necessity. You may believe that you don’t have any time available for yourself, but something amazing happens when you consistently MAKE time. You will find yourself feeling happier and more energetic and your focus improves – and you still get plenty done! Just a few minutes spent sitting quietly in prayer, meditation or reading

Tuesday, June 23, 2015

Give it a Rest: The Importance of Taking a Break

When I think about resting, something rather strange occurs. At first, I begin to imagine lounging on the couch, watching golf and (inevitably) falling asleep. But just as I begin to enjoy this image, I am yanked back into reality with the thought that dozing off to a lullaby of polite clapping and hushed announcers is just plain lazy.


This kind of internal scolding is a culturally-driven, knee-jerk reaction many of us have because we have grown up in an environment that values Type A drive and workaholism. “I do, therefore I am.” We have come to believe that our worth is found in our productivity, and our value to our employers is achieved in tireless, devoted activity with no thought of our own needs.

The good news is that the tide is turning, and workers today are less likely to be plagued by guilt if they grab a quick nap mid-afternoon or take a short walk outside to clear their minds, and some companies actually endorse activities that refresh their employees. This is because research has shown that those physical and mental breaks actually improve productivity.

Ferris Jabr, in his article, “Why Your Brain Needs More Downtime”, sums it up well:

Wednesday, September 10, 2014

Burnout: How to Recognize if You’re There – Part 1 of 4

“I hate my job because it’s consuming me; I miss my life and I can’t remember what it’s like to feel good.  I wish I could just escape to a deserted island in the middle of nowhere!”  Can you relate?


In today’s faced paced, hyper-competitive and tough economic times, a growing number of men and women are experiencing the painful effects of burnout.  According to a report, 77 percent of employees claim they feel burnout related to their jobs.  In another national poll, over half of the respondents reported that they were less productive at work because of job stress.

Monday, April 22, 2013

Ingredients for Life

Every day I meet with men and women who express their dissatisfaction with life in one way or another.  Many are experiencing emotional pain associated with depression and anxiety as well as relationship challenges.  Others talk about a growing frustration with not feeling fulfilled – not having a sense of purpose or meaning.  Still others disclose that they are unable to get control of an unhealthy or self-defeating pattern of behavior.

These people often have one major factor in common – they are starving.  Their malnutrition may have nothing to do with food, but they are missing some of the most critical ingredients of life.  So let’s take a few moments to talk about what I have found to be the essential ingredients we all need to include in our daily “diet” in order to be healthy and feel fulfilled.  In other words, the keys to nourishing your body, mind, heart and spirit in such a way as to fully maximize your life satisfaction.

Most of the people I know are dissatisfied with life in large part because they are in the habit of living by default instead of on purpose.  Living by default typically involves doing in the moment what you “feel like” doing rather than what may be in your best interest.  It’s like chowing down several pieces of a supreme pizza before it dawns on you that you are stuffed and feeling guilty because you were going to start eating healthier.  It may have smelled tantalizing, but that doesn’t mean you had to give in and ultimately disappoint yourself.

In order to experience the most satisfying life possible you must begin with a commitment to being mindful of how you will spend every 24-hour day you are given to live.

Most of us think our day

Wednesday, September 29, 2010

If You’re Married, Pay Attention to This One!

Did you know that your brain has a natural bias toward negativity? The “Negativity Bias” is a psychological phenomenon by which humans pay more attention to and give more weight to negative rather than positive experiences.

This bias actually helps us scan our environment for potential dangers so we can avoid them, but if we’re not careful this bias can backfire on us.

Scientists have discovered that the brain reacts to negative stimuli with a greater surge in electrical activity, which means that our attitudes are more likely to be influenced by negative experiences compared to positive experiences.  Due to the negativity bias, emotional balance in a relationship is not achieved by reaching a 50-50 equilibrium between positive and negative interactions.

Researchers have charted the amount of time couples spend fighting vs. interacting positively. And they have found that a very specific ratio exists between the amount of positivity and negativity required to make married life satisfying to both partners.

That magic ratio is five to one. So as long as there is five times as much positive feeling and interaction between husband and wife as there is negative, the marriage is likely to be stable over time.  In contrast, couples who experience instability and unhappiness in their marriage may be doing far too little on the positive side to compensate for the negativity they are experiencing.

So, if you want to experience more marital satisfaction and stability make the choice to engage in more positive interactions with your spouse every day.

Live, Work and Relate Well!

Dr. Todd

Thursday, August 5, 2010

Is Your Stress Level Too High?

The demands of life can at times be overwhelming, making it nearly impossible to avoid stress.  Although brief periods of high stress are a normal part of life, many people endure unhealthy levels of prolonged stress leaving them vulnerable to mood swings, physical symptoms like headaches and stomach discomfort as well as serious disease.

If you have experienced a prolonged period of high stress you may have become habituated to it and therefore consider it as normal and even tolerable.  In order to avoid becoming accustomed to high levels of stress I recommend that you monitor your stress level on a regular basis.  This self-assessment can be done in three steps:

Step 1:  Take an honest look at your behaviors.

Examples of behaviors influenced by stress:

Engaged in wasted motion and busywork
Irritability – critical of others
Not pleasant to be around
Agitated by little things
Caffeine and/or alcohol consumption increased
Diminished work quality
Unable to make decisions

Step 2:  Identify your physical reactions.

Examples of bodily reactions induced by stress:

Various aches and pains, such as headaches and neckaches
Stomach discomfort
Insomnia or hypersomnia (sleeping too much)
Skin rashes
Irregular breathing
Tense or tight muscles
Heart disease

Step 3:  Identify your emotions.

Anxious, timid, or fearful
Angry, resentful, dissatisfied, or bitter
Confused, overwhelmed or swamped
Helpless or powerless
Fear of inadequacy or failure
Tense or tight
Depressed, weary, or fed up

Once again, if you usually maintain a moderate to high level of stress you may have grown used to behaving and feeling the way you do and you explain it by saying, “that’s just the way I am.”  The truth may be that you are that way because of too much stress and you could experience positive benefits by consciously taking steps to lower it.