The 4 Best Ways to Get Out of Balance!

Out of balance, Losing balance

There are so many ways you can get thrown off balance throughout the day. External and internal factors make it difficult to maintain your equilibrium. In this blogpost we will explore these factors. How can you become more aware of what is causing you to lose your center so you can regain it more quickly? 

External and Internal Factors That make you lose balance

Imagine giving a roly-poly toy a little push. It loses its balance. Throughout our day we are pushed like the roly-poly by external and internal factors. Because of its heavy center of gravity the roly-poly will regain its balance. The stronger the push, the longer it takes for the roly-poly to come back to center. The more frequent the pushing the less time spent centered. This is exactly what happens to you when you have to function in a demanding and challenging environment. If you don’t even know you’re off balance it is difficult to regain your center. Without knowing you might even dangle on the edge of tumbling over.

By recognizing what external and internal factors, or a combination of both, are having an effect on you, you can start to recognize when you get off center and what you need to get back to it. So let’s distinguish the difference between external and internal factors and get to know the 4 most common ways to get out of balance.

External factors

These are the factors in your environment that have an impact on you. Mostly we have little control over them. Think about environmental circumstances, events or people you have to deal with: the huge crowd at the concert that overwhelm you, the driver who just cut you off; your kids who dawdle when you really need to get out the door; or a colleague who criticized the way you dealt with a particular situation. They can easily get you off balance but there is not a lot to do about the factors itself.

Internal factors

What is happening inside of you are the internal factors. The way your body feels or the things the voices in your head are saying can also get you easily off balance. For those of who are hyper aware of ourselves and others, the voices can be critical and demanding and, frankly, unhelpful. Often the internal factors are triggered by the external factors.

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Common internal factors that get you off balance

Recognizing the ways we get thrown off balance brings awareness and attention to the problem. By knowing what the problem is we can practice correcting our course in order to regain our centered self more frequently and quickly. Which of the attitudes and habits listed below do you recognize?

1. Taking things personally

Your friend does not immediately respond to the email you sent. Before you know it, you worry about what you could have done wrong and whether she still likes you. Usually there is nothing wrong and that friend is unexpectedly a bit busier. 

It is easy for the mind to go to unhelpful places. When thoughts pass through the brain our body reacts. And when the thought is unhelpful, our body reacts accordingly and we feel uncomfortable. In essence, our sympathetic system gets activated. When we are unable to calm it, the brain takes the ball and runs. It can magnify and even distort the issue. Remind yourself often that events are not targeting you. Don’t be thrown off balance by a “threat” of your own devising. 

The next time you feel hurt, ask yourself where in your body you are most affected. What sensations do you feel? Is it uncomfortable? If you were to feel the opposite way in your body, what would it be like? How would it change your perspective?

2. Defending yourself

Nothing is more difficult than staying in balance when someone disagrees with you or criticizes the way you work. Often our first tendency is to counterattack by defending ourselves. We bolster our position to convince the “attacker” that we are right. Does this sound familiar?

In fact, that reaction is more likely to throw you off balance than if you keep listening, asking questions and appreciating the other’s input. When we feel attacked, the first tendency is to brace ourselves, tightening for the blow. Similar to a physical attack, dealing with the criticism in that way will most likely throw you off balance. Try to remember that relaxing under pressure and sensing into your body can help you stay calm. In that way you can listen and be open to new ideas and input. Or at least it will help you just bide your time until the other is finished so that you can finish the interaction without exacerbating it!

The next time you find yourself defending your position, try to realize where in your body you feel the strongest sensation. Do you feel like running away? Engaging in fisticuffs? If you can determine which area of your body is most engaged you can try to let go of the tension you feel building up in that area. You can still defend yourself, but with practice, you start to come from a more centered and comfortable position. 

3. Sticking to your beliefs

Sticking to your beliefs no matter what can be a form of mental rigidity. And rigidity puts you at risk for getting thrown off balance. Imagine a powerful wind storm. Does the rigid pine or flexible bamboo have more capacity to recover? 

Being unmovable in your beliefs may allow you to hold your balance for a bit longer when conditions are static. But when things change — and change they will! — you will be less able to find creative solutions. You may find that you have lost a vital connection or put yourself in a position that you cannot get out of. It may seem counterintuitive, but the more we are able to allow ourselves to think outside our own box, the better we can maintain our balance. 

When was the last time you recall a particular belief affecting you negatively by making you think badly about someone or something, or creating sadness or lack of hope for yourself? Play with one of those beliefs. What happens in your body when you pretend you think the opposite way? Jump back and forth between your belief and the opposite and notice the differences.

4. Making scenarios

We spend a lot of time in our heads. Next to planning and organizing you might have the tendency to devise all kinds of scenarios. Maybe you think about how you should approach the conversation with that annoying colleague: ‘If he does this, then I will do that. If he is going to say that, I’ll say this.” 

Creating scenarios that play out in an unknown future takes you out of the present. When the conversation actually takes place, you are likely to find yourself surprised by the direction it takes and get thrown off balance. Staying in the present increases our focus, and prevents us from putting an inaccurate loop about the future on constant replay. 

When you find yourself ‘on stage in your latest play’, drop your attention away from your brain and into your body. Do this as much as it takes to pull the curtain. This on-the-spot activity will help you stay in the present, with the added benefit of feeling more centered and balanced. 

You probably recognized one or more of the above, as we can say that they are very human. Working with them from an embodied perspective you will get practical tools to work with them. You will start noticing way quicker when you get thrown off balance and how you might counter it, within. You will increase your sense of stability and comfort in dealing with external factors that you can’t change but can deal with in a different way. 

Share your challenges with keeping your balance down below and let us know what helps you to stay centered!

The chatter in your brain can be persistent and draining. In 4 Questions to Get Out of Your Head you will find more ways to decrease the chatter in your brain. 

Centering Guide | BCM

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