How peaceful life would be if we really could have it all. Everything you ever wanted landing straight into your lap through a click of the fingers. It would be amazing, wouldn’t it?
Many people often think that way. So why do we constantly read stories of the rich, famous and successful, who have fallen into the depths of anxiety, stress and addiction? Typically, the main reason is because – in their scramble to ‘have it all’ – they succumb to the short term pleasures in life rather than focusing on the long term gains. So what can we do today, to reap a more rewarding and fulfilling life tomorrow?
Uncertainty is the biggest stress that most of us face in life. We should remind ourselves that we are animals and therefore need the same feeling of safety and security that animals do. Stress is there for a reason. It is a red flag that warns us that all is not well, and that there are areas of our lives we need to pay attention to.
SEPARATE YOUR ‘NEEDS’ FROM YOUR ‘WANTS’
Animals will feel stressed unless they are in a safe environment where they do not have to worry about predators. Such an environment would include a safe place to stay, food, water and other animals of the same species around them for protection – the necessities in life. In the same way, order for us humans to feel safe and secure, we need to first focus on obtaining the things that bring us safety and security; a home, financial security, a strong and healthy body, a long term partner and good friends.
So, write down all the things you want out of life so you can see them clearly in front of you. Divide them into two lists, “needs” and “wants”. “Needs” are long term goals such as financial security, a home, a car, savings etc. Wants are short term pleasures such as material possessions, nights out and weekends away.
Ultimately, it’s crucial to prioritise our “needs” before our “wants” if we wish to attain peace of mind. Many people tend to feed their short term “wants” before their long term “needs”, which leads to insecurity and stress. There is nothing wrong with having the latest mobile phone, seasonal fashions, or a spa weekend away, but make sure your long term plans are in place first. “Wants” are fine in moderation, but keep them under control.
STAY IN CREDIT
Avoid getting into debt through buying unnecessary things. “Wants” will only ever provide you with short term pleasure and these tend to be your material possessions or emotional pleasures which, although are exciting in the moment, lose their appeal very quickly. If you are spending too much time and money on your “wants”, then in the long term, your “needs” will not be met, leaving you insecure and anxious about the future. Only spend what you have. Once you get into debt, you will find that rather than owning your possessions, your possessions start to own you.
Finally, be grateful for what you have. There will always be others with more than you, so don’t compare yourself to them. Instead contemplate all the things that you do have, as you will start begin to appreciate how good your life already is.
Toby Maguire is founder and CEO of Working in Balance, which runs retreats and workshops specialising in corporate wellness, and wellbeing in the workplace. From January 2017, Working In Balance is hosting a series of unique and rebalancing retreats in the spectacular setting of Six Senses Douro Valley, Portugal. Working in Balance aims to educate individuals and organisations on the negative effects of stress, how to reduce it and how to improve physical and psychological well-being. Guests at the retreats will receive a range of tips on how to work more productively and efficiently, and the retreat also includes an individual wellness assessment, two hours of daily themed workshops and seminars, Tai Chi, meditation and yoga classes, as well as fitness activities and a relaxing daily massage. For more information and to book, see the Working in Balance website.