• Balancing the Scales in our Favor – by Dr. Randy Gold, Psy.D.

    I have often found myself talking with clients about the difference between playing offense and defense.

    On offense, we strategize and plan our moves. We think ahead about how we want to handle a situation or maneuver through something, as well as how we’d like something to go (which obviously doesn’t always happen). We may try and come up with options in case we need to deviate from the plans (which often happens). We visualize things playing themselves out, and we imagine how we feel at the end of our efforts. We feel strengthened, in control, and empowered.

    On the other hand, there is defense. On defense, we fend off feelings, perhaps talking our way through struggles and irritations. We hone our skills at letting stuff slide off, but the efforts ultimately take their toll. We tire, and our defenses lose their ability to avoid the hurts. They start to add up, our internal fire dims, and our moods suffer quite a bit. Defense, we realize, is important and essential, but only in small doses. And in order to be effective, our batteries need to be charged often. We need to go back and play more offense.

    Thinking about things in this way, I am reminded how important it is to try and balance the scales in our favor. If one side of the scale holds the frustrations, worries, and struggles, while the other side holds the joy, excitement, and happiness, I think we should actively work to keep the positive side heavier than the negative side. I think we should proactively work to balance the scales in our favor.

    So how do we do that? We make plans, for something as simple as a game with our kids, or a walk with our partner. We schedule down time, time away from the electronics and the access to work (don’t worry, they’ll be there waiting anytime we want). We plan a trip, an excursion, or make plans to do something we have always wanted to do. We build in time for hobbies and play. We step back and look at our calendars, and we look to see if play time, re-energizing time is built in and on the books. We don’t wait for moments to happen, or random times to pop up, to have fun or enjoyment. We plan them, and we build them in. We proactively create opportunities for the positive side of the scale to get heavier.

    It’s a new year, with a fresh calendar. Why not actively and proactively work to balance the scales in your favor? The negative side of the scale will always have its share of things to keep it weighted down, we need not spend any extra time paying attention to it. It’s the positive side we have to focus on, because if we don’t, it may not fill up as much as we’d like. And if for no other reason, life is short, we might as well have as much fun as we can while we can.

    A happy and healthy new year to all. May this year we find a way to balance the scales in our favor…

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