You probably have that one friend in your circle who can’t go to sleep without doing their evening workout. Or, you might know that person who can’t have a piece of cake because they will probably just continue eating it until the whole cake is gone. There are many people in this world who are trapped between two worlds—excess and deprivation. However, with moderation, you don’t have to put any types of boundaries in your life. In one word, the key to a happy and balanced life is moderation.
Why are many of us unable to stop at one glass of beer? Or why can we say no to that second piece of cake? Scientists believe that our extreme behaviors are a key part of our physiology that stems from our time as hunters and gatherers. Humans are wired to pursue extremes and we usually tend to pursue the highs that experiences offer us. However, that kind of behavior almost undoubtedly leads to downfall and unhappiness—moderation is where the key to happiness lays.
Any type of extreme behavior is bad for the body and mind. Sure, we know that eating only sweets and smoking is unhealthy, but there are some healthy habits that can damage your health as well. For instance, while exercising regularly is beneficial for all parts of our lives, over-exercising can be damaging. Exercising every day doesn’t give muscles time to rest which can lead to muscle and tendon damage like sprains and ligament tears. Exercising too much can even put you at the risk of heart damage, weaken your immune system and cause osteoporosis. Negative psychological effects also exist. While normal amounts of exercise bring various mental benefits like stress-relief, depression decrease and a boost in self-esteem, obsessive exercising can cause a person to become solitary. Sometimes even friends and family tend to exclude them from social events—much like what often happens with addicts.
Did you know that staying away from certain foods because you can’t control your eating habits will often achieve a completely opposite effect? If you break, you will trigger binge-eating and end up exactly in the place that you wanted to avoid. Periods of deprivation followed by periods of overindulgence are very bad of your health, especially our immune system and our mental state. Obsessing over “forbidden” foods, feeling euphoric as you give in to your temptations and depriving yourself again—it can significantly affect your self-esteem.
Ask any doctor and they will say that a glass of beer or a glass of red wine a day is not harmful at all! As a matter of fact, both of these drinks have a huge amount of vitamins and antioxidants that are great for your health. However, when your need to drink becomes compulsive, uncontrollable and debilitating, it’s time to seek help and ditch your habit. If used excessively, negative alcohol effects on the body can be truly devastating. It will affect everything from your brain (interferes with its look and functions) to your immune system (it weakens your body’s defenses). Luckily, you can find help in professionals, in support from your family, in meditation or all three at once.
Everything on this world is good when enjoyed in small doses, even if the only apparent benefit is the joy that it brings and nothing else. So, if you’re going to indulge in something, make sure to do it with glee and not guilt. This is very important for your mental state. The prolonged time of deprivation is a sure way to feel horrible and can even lead to overindulgence in the future.
The main problem people have with moderation is that it seems like it’s not exactly too much fun. However, that’s not true. There are so many fun things you can enjoy in moderation and still feel pleasure—chocolate, wine, food, sports—these are all good for you if you don’t overindulge. The problem with people is that we tend to see things in black and white. Exercising, vegetables and water are good, while pasta, cake and alcohol are bad. But, things are very rarely so fixed. Most of the things, feelings and experiences fall somewhere on the gray spectrum.
While being average and moderate seems very easy in theory, it requires plenty of conscious effort. Being overindulgent and self-depriving requires a lot of energy as well, so if you focus that energy on something positive, just imagine the benefits you’ll reap. Moderation is one of the only true ways to be happy!