Personal stability is a lifestyle characterized by appropriate and well-thought-out decisions, consistent behavior and moderate mood swings. It’s often overlooked. Yet it’s a key component in professional and emotional success and well-being.
Stable people tend to have long, satisfying relationships. They do well in their jobs. Their lives are relatively free from unnecessary drama. They make good decisions regarding their health and finances.
For many folks, personal stability is a snap. They have little problem regulating their needs and wants.
For others, however, stability is a lifelong struggle. They can’t hold a job because they’re unable to show up on time or behave appropriately with bosses or co-workers. They make poor choices in partners or quickly flit from one relationship to the next. They have difficulty managing food intake and are often overweight. Sleep patterns are erratic; unstable people frequently stay up late and have trouble waking up in the morning. They may also experience emotional highs and lows. They’re ecstatic one minute, falling to pieces the next.
Personal instability has varied and complex roots. It may stem from an underlying mental illness, such as bipolar disorder, attention-deficit disorder or borderline personality disorder. It may be the result of a chaotic upbringing, in which the child never learned appropriate life or relational skills. It can signal drug or alcohol abuse. In most cases, several factors are to blame.
Whatever the cause, chronic instability wreaks havoc on a person’s life. It creates needless stress. Energy that could be used in productive pastimes is spent on menial tasks.
Children suffer, too. Rather than focusing on their schoolwork or playing with friends, boys and girls reared in unstable households are forced to adapt to frequent changes of address, their parents’ new partners, even the lack of attention to their most basic needs.
Sometimes stability gets a bad rap. When life is too routine, folks complain that they’re bored or in a rut. Still, stability trumps drama any day of the week. And if all goes well, you can plan a little adventure now and then.
Make stability a top priority. Commit yourself to consistency. It takes a conscious effort to make it happen.
Establish a routine. Go to bed and wake up at the same time every day. Eat three regular meals. Exercise at the same time during the week.
Limit your alcohol. It could be contributing to your problems. If alcohol or drugs are an ongoing issue, consider stopping them altogether.
Live within your financial means. Don’t spend more money than you bring in. If you’re in debt, pay off your credit cards. Then cut them up and use cash from here on out.
Don’t overreact. Notice if you’re often too dramatic, angry or sad. You may feel justified in your emotions. Still, they may be interfering with your functioning.
Find stable friends. Hang with folks who are sober and make good decisions. Their positive behavior will rub off on you.
Get help making decisions. If you’ve chronically made bad choices, find a wise friend to act as an advisor. You may be frustrated by their input. But it will prevent you from doing anything rash.
End a bad relationship. Some relationships are inherently destabilizing. You need to leave, but you don’t know how. Get out ASAP. It will be painful for a while, but you’ll heal and feel better after you do.
Be single. You don’t have to get involved in a new relationship. In fact, it’s wise to get things in order before reattaching to someone else.