We’ve all heard the phrase ‘moderation is key’, but is it really true? How can moderation help us reach our goals? Well, for one, moderation teaches us restraint and patience, but it can also be the key to success in more than one aspect of our lives!
What is moderation?
The dictionary definition of moderation is “the avoidance of excess or extremes”. It involves living life like Goldilocks, becoming uninterested in the too cold, too hot, too big, or too small. Wanting to live life on the cusp of ‘just right’.
In our fast-paced world, we tend to focus on the extremes. We think about being too fat or too skinny, too poor or too rich – but what if we stopped to think about the middle ground? How would our lives change if we stopped looking at either end of the spectrum and instead of extremes we focused on the normal?
Psychologists think our lives would be much simpler if we practiced moderation. They believe that it can be implemented into most corners of our lives and that doing so would allow us to succeed much easier, and also enjoy our lives much more.
Where in our lives can we practice moderation?
Moderation in our diets
One of the most common connotations of the word ‘moderation’ is dieting. ‘Eating in moderation’ is one of the most simple diets to follow, and anyone trying to lose weight has definitely given it a go at one point or another. It is something that we know works, so why don’t we all do it? We are taught about it in school, and how a balanced diet is crucial.
Even if you’re not actively trying to lose weight, eating in moderation is a great way to ensure you access all of the necessary food groups and nutrients your body needs, and yet, so many of us choose to ignore this knowledge. Instead, we overeat and undereat, we try fad diets and then fail them.
Eating in moderation could help everyone stay healthy, whether that involves losing weight or just maintaining a balanced diet. But it’s hard to do. Sugary, fatty foods full of carbohydrates can actually cause our brains to release the hormone dopamine, creating a positive mood.
This is the same chemical reaction that happens to someone when they take drugs and is one of the causes of addiction. It instantly makes eating these types of foods in moderation more difficult.
But if we could get over these sugary cravings and addictions, we could all reap the benefits of living that little bit healthier. A balanced diet can lead to improved heart health, a reduced risk of cancer, better moods, better memory, stronger bones and teeth, and improved gut health.
All of these benefits would reflect elsewhere in our lives, too; an improved mood means more productivity, less stress, better sleep. All we have to do to get there is focus and learn how to eat in moderation. It’s not like the fad diets we’ve all tried where you don’t ever get to eat those sugary carb-loaded treats, but instead of eating the whole packet, try just Satisfy the craving, and then move on.
Moderation in our workouts
Just like our diets, moderation can really help us succeed when it comes to workouts. Rather than going all out in one session and hoping to improve our health or lose weight, working out with moderation in mind is more likely to have long-term results.
The world we live in has led to a lot of people heading to the gym or starting to workout with one goal in mind: the perfect, slim body. But going into a fitness scheme guns blazing can do more damage than good. First of all, too much exercise prevents your muscles from getting the rest they need before the next session, which can cause damage to both your muscles and your tendons.
If you go in 6 days a week for the first week and work out super hard, not only will you ache too much to do the same the following week, but it is unlikely you’ll notice many changes. Ultimately, this will just dishearten you, and you might find that you don’t want to go again.
Alternatively, if you decide to start exercising with moderation in mind, you can plan your workouts. Continuity and consistency are hugely important when looking to achieve fitness results. Without them, your body is less able to adapt and you may struggle to form the habit, making it less likely that you’ll continue the exercise long-term. Using moderation will help you to create this habit and adapt to the new strenuous activity, ultimately helping you to succeed in your workout goals.
Moderation on social media
It’s not just our physical health that can be supported by moderation. Our brains are constantly active in this age of information. There are scientific links between social media use, screen time and reduced memory capacity, sleep disorders, and depression.
That’s not to say we should all uninstall Twitter, Instagram, and Facebook immediately – that’d be incredibly isolating for most people. But somewhere between becoming an internet recluse and using the internet for 40 hours a week is a healthier middle ground which involves using social media and our phones in moderation. There are a few ways to make sure you’re using social media in moderation. You could try:
– Only using social media on a laptop or PC. Uninstall the apps on your phone, and that way you can only use the websites when you’re already at a screen, rather than when you’re out and about
– Set yourself ‘no phone time’. Decide upon and enforce a few hours each day wherein you will put your phone in another room and do something else.
Reducing our social media time will not only combat the anxiety and depression linked to it but it can also give us more time to do other things! We can crack on with hobbies that we’ve lost somewhere along the way, or do that work project we’ve been procrastinating.
Moderation at work
One of the places that moderation can really be the key to success is in the workplace. Motivation is crucial at work, and losing it can really feel like the end of the world. Suddenly you have a huge to-do list and no energy or drive to do any of it. Implementing moderation in the workplace can help prevent this burnout, and help you to stay consistent with your tasks at work.
A lack of motivation often comes feeling overstressed. Being overstressed is most often caused by a lack of moderation. Doing everything, all at once. Pushing through task after task after task in the hopes to get them all done and impress somebody. But you get halfway there, and suddenly you can’t finish the rest because you’re too exhausted.
Working at a more moderate pace, and allowing yourself time to complete each task or project in the time it needs prevents this burnout from happening. It allows you to still get your jobs done, to still succeed in the workplace, but consistently. Consistent success is better than temporary success.
Many people think of moderation as a personality trait – either you have it or you don’t. But the truth is, moderation is more of a skill that can be learned, honed and improved with practice. And that’s good news, because learning how to moderate your behavior can have a lot of benefits. Moderation is truly key.