Inner Balance is the Natural State for a Human Being
We human beings need to feel safe and secure inside ourselves to perform our best in any moment, in any situation. We need to be balanced, aware, alert in present reality, to do our best.
This is not rocket science. It is human science. It is a basic principle of life for a human being of every age and in every environment. It is not a moral precept or a religious/spiritual principle. It is not just a good idea or positive-psychology advice. It’s a biological/physiological principle.
The term used in biology is “homeostasis” — meaning all internal body systems balanced within an optimal range of equilibrium. The science is really clear that we human beings function best when our bodies are within a relatively narrow range of internal balance. (Check out the Research Support for our Safe to Be You Project for starters)
Some of the most important body chemistry balance requirements:
Body Temperature balance (thermoregulation)
Energy balance (food/energy-generating intake – exertion/energy-utilization output balance)
Oxygen/Carbon Dioxide Balance (Breathing balance)
Fluid Balance (osmoregulation – water content balance)
Blood sugar balance
Blood lipid balance
Blood pressure balance
Blood Calcium balance
Blood coagulation balance (Hemostasis)
Acid-Base (pH) Balance
The range of optimal balance for each of these requirements has been determined with a high degree of scientific consensus. While there may still be some quibbling among science & health professionals as to the exact outside ranges, there is no dispute that there IS an optimal balance range for each internal body requirement. Here’s a link to a good basic MultiMedia presentation on Homeostasis
All our internal body systems have an optimal “homeostatic range”:
The Nervous system (brain, spinal cord, nerves throughout the whole body)
The Hormonal system (Endocrine system)
The Skin system (Integumentary System)
The Bone/Skeletal system
The Muscle system
The Cardiovascular system (part of the Circulatory system)
The Lymphatic system
The Respiratory system
The Digestive system
The Urinary system
The Reproductive system
“Each body system contributes to the homeostasis of the other systems and of the entire organism. . . . . . The well-being of the person depends upon the well-being of all the interacting body systems. A disruption within one system generally has consequences for several additional body systems.” http://en.wikibooks.org/wiki/Human_Physiology/Homeostasis
This is human science at the most basic level.
When our internal body systems are working within the optimal range of balance (homeostasis), we feel our best and we’re able to perform our best. The science is clear that “inner balance is the natural state for a human being.”
This is true for babies.
If a baby doesn’t feel safe and secure in the moment (i.e. doesn’t have inner balance) he/she will either be agitated, fussing, or crying or even screaming or will shut down and go limp or sleep.
When a baby is feeling safe and secure (e.g. balanced within an optimal range of internal homeostasis) he/she’ll be aware and alert and responsive and a joy to be around (i.e. “performing/doing his/her best”).
If you’ve been around young babies when they are feeling safe and secure, you know this is true – they’ll be alert and aware – curious, attentive, open, soaking up new experiences.
This is true of human babies in every culture and socio-economic environment – from babies in hunter-gatherer tribes to babies of the rich and famous – Chinese babies; American babies; Catholic babies; Muslim babies; Russian babies; even French babies.
This is true for all us human beings at every age.
If my nervous system is in balance, in homeostasis (safe and secure), I’m capable of doing my best, no matter what the task is (at home, at work, at school, in athletics, in social situations) and no matter how challenging the task.
If, however, my nervous system is perceiving any degree of fear or “unsafe”, my nervous system will be activated in the direction of the fight-flight-freeze response, which will have an immediate snowball effect of un-balancing my other internal body systems.
It is super functional, incredibly functional, to go out of balance, out of homeostasis, into fight-flight-freeze, automatically, non-consciously, even ferociously, when there IS real danger (see our article “Fighting or Running Away is Super Functional“, but it is not functional to go out of homeostasis, out of balance, when there is no real danger in the moment (see our article “Fear is NOT Functional When There Is No Danger“).
The culture needs to be educated that inner balance is our natural state; that inner balance is our optimal state, because:
- The human culture is way more focused on external safety. Of course external safety is very important – safe in your home; safe at school; safe in your car; safe airplanes, safe at the mall, etc. etc. – but if you don’t have internal safety (homeostasis), it doesn’t matter how secure or safe your external environment is. You need internal safety, internal balance, to perform well.
- The culture thinks it’s perfectly “normal” to feel fear and worry and be stressed out in daily life — that only saints and yogis and people who meditate for years and years can hope to achieve some level of inner balance or inner peace on a regular basis.
- No! It may be common – even more common than not – but it’s not “normal” for our biology/physiology to NOT be in balance, homeostasis, equanimity, inner confidence, inner ready, even “inner peace”, when there is no danger in the present moment!
- It’s well established by substantial credible scientific research that homeostasis is a basic biological principle of life for all human beings — actually a basic biological principle of life for all mammals and birds.
- You just don’t function optimally when you don’t have internal balance – internal homeostasis – internal confidence in your ability to safely do what you are doing in the present.
The culture – parents, grandparents, teachers, coaches, bosses, political leaders, religious/spiritual leaders, writers, film-makers, journalists, everyone – needs to be educated about this basic biological/physiological truth.
Can you help us Educate the Culture about this biological truth?
- Are you a human nature scientist or human nature science geek who can share research and real-life stories about how fundamental inner balance/homeostasis is in daily life. Can you share or point us in the direction of research or stories about the human nervous system’s “optimal range” of balanced/homeostasis for optimal performance?
- Are you a sports, fitness, or peak-performance psychologist, teacher or coach (or geek) who can share research or real-life experiences that supports this basic biological principle that we human beings need to feel safe and secure inside ourselves to perform our best?
- Are you a mindfulness or attention researcher, teacher, or coach (or geek) interested in helping to educate the culture that inner balance is for everyone not just dedicated, highly disciplined mediatators?
- Are you a developmental psychologist who knows the importance of inner safety and security (inner balance) for us humans from infancy through adulthood?
- Are you a science writer who wants to help educate the culture about this truth that we human beings need to our nervous systems need to be within a range of inner balance (or “inner peace”) for us to perform our best?