Maybe it’s watching the Olympic athletes that has me thinking about balance. Or, maybe it’s the lack of balance in the weather. Probably it is about an article I was reading that suggested watching TV sitting on a balance ball instead of the couch or the recliner!
The writer, Sheila Monaghan, cites a study done last year at the University of Michigan, in which participants, wired with electrodes, walked (and sometimes fell off) a beam attached to a treadmill. The results of the study indicated that when people with good balance start to fall, the sensory motor cortex of the brain immediately registers instability and tracking neurons become activated to cause muscles to make a correction before a fall occurs. For those with a compromised sense of balance, some work (like sitting on the balance ball) to strengthen the core can enhance the efficiency of this process.
Staying balanced in our emotional lives also requires some work. “Going off the deep end” in a rage or long bouts of despair or complete withdrawal from social contact is a warning sign that we are out of balance. Sometimes the signs are more subtle in irritability, lack of motivation, and just feeling out of sorts. Paying attention to these signs can help us to assess where the problem might be and steps we can take to re-balance.
More stimulation and activity or more quiet time? More engagement or more stepping back from a troubling relationship? More time playing or more time taking care of business? More thinking or more doing? Finding our balance requires some decisions and some experimentation. Sometimes we need to enlist the help of a “trainer” to get back on track faster.