Sometime last year I woke one morning and realised I had a cold. It made me stop and think (as symptoms are supposed to do) about what was going on in my life that was causing the stress that contributed to my succumbing to a virus.

I paused and went through a checklist of my current activities to see if I was living a “Balanced Life”.

  • Exercise
  • Diet
  • Meditation
  • Family and friends time
  • Work challenge/satisfaction
  • Sleep

I thought that I was carrying these aspects of life reasonably well according to some ideal “to-do” list that I had set myself. And then the big “ah ha” came from my realisation of two things:

  • That I was trying to do all of these things every day;
  • That there was not enough time set aside for me…. to just “smell the roses”.

Forget about your life situation for a while and pay attention to your life.” – Eckhart Tolle

My stress (expressed as a cold) was the result of my long list of things I felt I had to do to have a “balanced life”. Then I stopped for a moment to consider what it was that I really had to do that day, and if I didn’t get it done, would there be an “end-of-the-world” crisis?  I took a deep breath and realised that I didn’t actually have to do anything!


It’s interesting when I act from this new perspective, my mind is less of a chatter-box and I actually achieve more.


While it is useful to have a “to-do” list to refer to; a “balanced life” of achievement can only come from being present with the current moment. Now, whenever I notice myself getting caught up in my “to-do” list, I take a step back. It’s an ongoing process.


The next time you find yourself in a similar situation, take a moment to step back and give yourself the space to breathe. You might be surprised at how much easier it is to face the day when you’re just the tiniest bit mindful of your breathing. You will be on the way to creating a more “balanced life”.


“Be aware of your breathing. Notice how this takes attention away from your thinking and creates space.”  – Eckhart Tolle