“Everything in moderation. Nothing in excess.” These words have been attributed to many wise individuals over time, including Socrates some 2,500 years ago. Moderation is the idea that an individual should avoid extremes and instead focus on having a life committed to balance and wholeness.
In a society that promotes pleasure seeking and erroneously equates having more with happiness, the idea of moderation is often ignored. We forget how simple it is to please ourselves because we are constantly looking out at the world, trying to obtain more and comparing ourselves to others. My clients often fall prey to their insatiable drive to obtain material wealth they believe will supply their families with security and happiness. They are so competitive and driven to obtain more wealth that they often forget to look around them and appreciate the commodities they already possess. While money can contribute to an individual’s sense of security and the ability to live comfortably, it does not directly relate to achieving happiness. The key to experiencing greater fulfillment and happiness is through moderation.
Below are tips to achieve moderation in different aspects of your life:
WORK. Remind yourself to work in order to live and not live in order to work. Your job is only a part of your self-worth, and you have other achievements in your life worth being proud of that require the same focus and discipline. It is important to balance and diversify all aspects of your life and not to spend an excess of time or energy on only one portion of your life. This is called Lifestyle Portfolio Management.
DIETS. Fad diets cause us to engage in extreme restrictions that tend to lead to failure. It is important to practice moderation in your weight loss programs and to participate in an overall approach to eating and living healthily. We are heading into the holiday season, prime time for an excess of food on the table. Be mindful to take just a little of each food option.
ALCOHOL. The key to consuming alcohol is doing so in moderation. Having a glass of wine with dinner can offer health benefits such as reducing your risk of heart disease, but when the alcohol consumption is in excess, the health risks outweigh the benefits.
TECHNOLOGY. Technology is a wonderful tool that connects us to others and provides us with information. However, when use of technology interferes with our interpersonal relationships and actually hinders our productivity, it is important to moderate usage.
STRESS. According to the Yerkes-Dodson Law, a certain level of stress arousal is necessary to achieve top performance. Yet when this arousal or stress becomes too high, performance level drops. It is important to moderate your stress level and recognize when stress is becoming detrimental to your productivity or health.
In our world filled with constant stimulation, more stimulation does not equal more happiness. Research has found that while our senses are acutely tuned into the input they receive from new experiences, they become acclimated quickly to the stimuli, and the stimuli loses the ability to give us pleasure. Professor Marvin Zuckerman states, “Even what was initially very exciting becomes blasé when you’ve done it 100 times, so you need something more exciting, something new.” The more stimulation we receive, the less enjoyment we get out of it. Therefore, finding the delicate balance between extreme pleasure and boredom creates the most opportunity to sustain long-term happiness, health and success.
To learn more, visit www.draldencass.com or call Dr. Cass directly at 646-202-9611.