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Southern students learn how to balance life ‘gears’

STEPHANY KAUFMAN Special to Southern News
Between juggling classes, romance, work and parties, it’s not always easy for college students to find balance in their lives.
On Tuesday, Jan. 31 participants joined in “Gear Up For Life: Life Balance,” an interactive mind-body workshop designed to demonstrate how to put the different “gears”—mental, physical, and emotional—into balance. Participants engaged in exercises of meditation and mindfulness, munched on the provided snacks and put their names in a raffle for T-shirts.
“Life Balance” was the first workshop in the “Gear Up For Life” series, each hosted by graduate intern Carly Wieland with help from SCSU counselor Denise Zack. According to Wieland, workshops will be held on Tuesdays at 7 p.m. in the Farnham Hall Program Space.
Wieland said the “Life Balance” workshop was based around a quote from motivational speaker, Brian Tracy: “Just as your car runs more smoothly and requires less energy to go faster and farther when the wheels are in perfect alignment, you perform better when your thoughts, feelings, emotions, goals and values are in balance.”
According to Wieland, everyone faces many different problems that can throw them off-balance.
“When imbalanced, you may feel impatient or frustrated,” she said. “It’s natural. It’d be unrealistic to never feel out of balance.”
At “Gear Up For Life: Life Balance,” students participated in a variety of activities designed to gain understanding of the struggle to find balance.
Throughout the workshop, Wieland read passages from the book, “The Laws of Spirit” by Dan Millman and related them to the activities participants completed.
Allison Samonte, sophomore nursing major, said she was surprised how helpful the hour-and-a-half workshop was.
“I feel like I didn’t expect it to be as life changing as it was. There was a lot I could take home with me,” Samonte said.
Students first partook in a unique circuit race; in teams, students solved puzzles, meditated, and hit a target on a dartboard. For the last part of the circuit, participants were instructed to balance on one leg and think about something that bothered them. According to Wieland, this symbolized the challenge of maintaining balance when one is stressed.
“If you’re thinking of what’s upsetting you, you will lose your balance,” Wieland said. “But if you think about who you are, breathe, and try to stay calm, you will gain the strength you need to get beyond what’s making you upset.”
After the circuit, Wieland instructed participants to get into pairs of two and take turns pushing each other. The teammate that was getting pushed was told to tense up. Wieland said this exercise represented the tension in life that pushes us off-balance.
Tess Simchoni, junior social work major, said she was particularly inspired by this activity.
“I think the whole ‘pushing’ exercise really spoke to me because, just like in life, you need to go with the flow,” said Simchoni.
The last activity of the workshop was a 20-minute full-body meditation guided by Zack. Participants sat or laid on the ground, as Zack directed them to slowly relax each part of their body.
According to Wieland, every activity during “Life Balance” was designed to teach participants how to look inward and gain control over the inevitable imbalances in their lives.
“If spirits remain high,” he said, “when physical, emotional, or mental pieces go out of balance, you will be able to brace yourself for whatever may come your way.”

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