Manual Homeostasis

Whether or not we’re fully conscious of it, our world is in a constant search for balance. Where there is war, we want peace; where there is inaction, we want action; where there is drought, we pray for rain; where there is flooding we hope for sun; what goes up, must come down; when there is hurt, we seek healing; when there is hate, we seek love and it is often in despair that we find hope.

Even our physical being runs on a process called homeostasis---a natural regulation of our internal systems/organs that allows for necessary physical functioning and survival amid various changing conditions. When overheated, the body is programmed to sweat, triggering an automatic cooling system. When tired, it is only a matter of time before the body/mind is forced to rest. When frightened, we come equipped with the instinct to flee toward safety. It’s all automatic.

If only balance in all aspects of our lives could be automatic like that; a world of instantaneous solutions creating unquestionable security in our day to day and an unfailing trust that all that is wrong will just as soon be made right. Wouldn’t it be nice?

Fortunately, the awareness and understanding of the crucial role balance plays in not only our physical survival but also in our mental, emotional, social, and spiritual fulfillment can still be enough for us to achieve and/or maintain it manually. For example, consider the following directive I’ve provided for many of my clients to practice:

Any kind of difficulty you're facing in life is often brought on by your either doing too much or too little of something. Take some time to consider what this thing might be and then work to correct the imbalance.

I really like to think of this as the gift of “manual homeostasis;” a means for reestablishing a healthy and comfortable balance in our lives, similar to that of the automatic regulation system of the physical body, only, rather than automatic it is achieved by our conscious and specific intention.

The feedback I’ve received from those who have put this skill into play has been powerful as it has proved successful in reinstating their positions of control over their problems and focusing them in on achievable (and sometimes even immediate) solutions! Some who have been feeling unusually irritable came to realize that they’ve been getting too little sleep. With this, they were able to take necessary steps to balance this out, helping them to get more rest and in turn, reduce their stress. Others who have been feeling low on energy came to realize that they’ve been eating too little food on a daily basis. With this, they were able to make proper eating more of a priority and hence, experience increased energy levels. Those feeling overwhelmed identified their tendencies to take on too much for their social calendars, leading them to then pull back from scheduling certain activities and instead incorporate more time for self-care. The guideline even helped many feeling unsatisfied in their marriages to realize that they’ve been doing too much of the compromising in their relationships which, in turn, urged them to start standing their ground more firmly for their wants and needs.

When we finally tune into the things we are doing too much or too little of in our lives it helps us to achieve a stronger understanding of our discomforts in the bigger picture, as well as a clearer path toward resolution. This is the way we correct symptoms of the famous “all work and no play” imbalance, as well as the way to resolve its opposite (and just as detrimental) “all play and no work” scenario. We find that success often comes from balancing out our fears with our hopes and by pairing our emotions with our logic. In practicing manual homeostasis we not only enhance our access and connection to the often otherwise subtly-complex physical/emotional underpinnings of ourselves, but most importantly, we uncover the keys necessary to adapt, evolve, and conquer such underpinnings at will.