Most of us have been to the circus as children or adults, and watched in awe as acrobats and trapeze artists balance in precarious positions and walk tightropes high above us. We are astounded by their amazing sense of balance and breathe a sigh of relief once they’ve finished their act. Our lives are similar to performing a balancing act and most of us struggle with the challenge of sustaining equilibrium.

Modern life makes unlimited demands on us; our time, our patience, our capabilities and our peace of mind. We are always rushing from A to B, without a moment of rest in between. Technology has made our lives easier in many ways, but has also added to our stress as we are able to be contacted at any place and at any time.

Waiting is no longer acceptable and we want, what we want, when we want it. Many of us seem hurried and exhausted and tense, unable to relax and unwind. It’s no wonder striving for a sense of balance is just another task to add to an already lengthy to-do list for some.

When we are reminded of the tightrope walkers we see them teeter to the left, then to the right and back again, but eventually they make it to the other side unscathed. Our daily lives require balance in order to keep us living to our full potential. Stress, dissatisfaction, negative thinking, exhaustion and irritability can all be factors of imbalance, indicating a need for change. It requires attention and awareness to notice these factors and do something about them.

The funny thing is, without extremes like stress and exhaustion, we wouldn’t notice an imbalance. Sometimes we need the extremes to lead us back. It’s like finding the right body temperature; if we are feeling cold, we put on a jumper, and keep layering on the clothes until we feel a sense of warmth, until we achieve a comfortable state. Finding balance is the same, we consciously move towards it, adding things or casting things off, until we achieve a state of peace.

The benefits of achieving balance not only affect our immediate lives but the lives of those around us as well. Our relationships and friendships thrive, the time we spend with our loved ones becomes charged with a quality it lacked before. We have the time and energy to engage with others, where before we were too preoccupied or tired.

Even our work takes on new meaning. We are able to focus and achieve objectives without the added exhaustion and stress that comes with living out of balance.

Achieving balance helps to sort out our priorities as well. We are able to sit down and think about what is really important to us and what isn’t. When it comes down to it, people don’t usually wish they spent that extra two hours at work when they could have been with their loved ones instead. Balance helps to place things in perspective.

If like tightrope walkers, we remain conscious and mindful of our extremes, then perhaps we can achieve a comfortable state of balance. Becoming aware of our actions, our thoughts and our bodies can help us notice when things are out of kilter. Only then can we choose to make changes and experience the joy that is a balanced life.