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By Megan Denty

In the novel Bridget Jones' Diary, the title character describes feng shui as "a marvellous new oriental idea" that will help "you get everything you want in life." She says the Chinese concept involves dividing one's home into nine sections, each of which represents a different area of your life, such as career, family, relationships, wealth or offspring. Whatever you have in that area of your house will govern how that area of your life performs.

For example, if you keep finding you have no money, it could be due to the presence of a wastepaper basket in your "wealth corner." When Bridget realizes there is no appropriate location for her wastepaper basket, she is uncertain how to proceed. She certainly can't move it to her relationship corner or her family corner, or any other part of her flat for that matter. She says she can't afford shortcomings in any areas of her life.

And while Bridget may not have a perfect understanding of the ancient Chinese system, she is on to something. We have many elements at play in our lives. We would like to see great things happen in all aspects of our lives but we can't all have it all. We only have so much time and so much energy if we try to juggle everything at once. Sooner or later something has to give. How many significant areas of your life do you have? It may be a lot to handle. If one or more of the elements start to take on extra weight – perhaps in the form of a challenging class or a fight with a friend – the other elements can start to fall out of place as well.

For many of us, the first thing that starts to slip is the most important of all: our health. I think health is the first to slip because when you're doing everything right, your health is something that takes care of itself. Eat right, get a walk in each day, sleep well and take some time to relax and your health easily gets taken care of – you'll have time and energy to excel in the other aspects of your life. Excluding extenuating circumstances, health is not a challenge to maintain.

If we have it under control, we can forget how important it really is when something else takes time and energy away from our personal well-being.

Though your health is the easiest thing to lose sight of, it is also the most important for keeping your balancing act in check. If your mental or physical health starts to become unbalanced, so will other parts of your life. A lack of energy might cause you to write a bad test. Stress can strain a romantic relationship. Health problems can cause a downward spiral to other negative consequences. It may be hard to put anything on the backburner. But when life becomes challenging, it is vital that you maintain focus on your health – you'll need good health to keep up the rest of the act.

Megan Denty is a fifth-year commerce student at Memorial. She can be reached at m.denty@mun.ca.

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