Life these days is just too loud. Do we really need to have the sound of a 747 taking off right over our heads re-created in perfect detail whenever we go to the movies?

Restaurants are overwhelmingly noisy: Patrons are yelling, loud music is piped in, and you have to scream to tell the server what you want to eat. ďIíll have the split pea soup, please.Ē ďWhat? Who split up?Ē

What are the kids thinking who are riding in cars with closed windows, pumping up the volume so high that the street vibrates? The answer is Ö theyíre not thinking. Theyíve lost their minds, and pretty soon, their hearing will be next. Thatís a rather steep price to pay for excessive noise.

Studies have proven that loud noise creates tension in the brain; it keeps the brain engaged and distracted, and makes it harder to actually concentrate. The brain is more engaged and creative in a quiet space ó because it isnít constantly reacting to outside stimuli.

Excessive noise is simply an example of a culture that values being extreme over being moderate. But moderation is one of the hardest things to get a handle on. Itís a precarious balancing act. How can acrobats be taught to stay on the high wire? They canít, they have to get up there and feel the balance for themselves.

I like to be extreme sometimes, especially if I have to push beyond my normal comfort zones. Whenever I have to teach something new, Iím anxious, but also excited by the possibility of becoming the ďtoo muchĒ my mother used to call me. However, I realize that I need to pay close attention to the places where I go over the edge, in all ways. Itís immoderate to eat six huge meals in a day, but itís also not reasonable to think that the only way to find health, peace, and harmony is to eat nothing but bean sprouts grown on an organic farm in Canada.

We need to also trust our intuition. We all have an inner wisdom that speaks the truth to us. When we overindulge in food, alcohol, sex, or even watching too much violent entertainment, our body/mind and spirit begin to give us signals. We begin to feel an unease, a dissociation from friends and loved ones and ourselves.

Think about what youíre striving for, and whether itís in sync with your value system. When you donít honor who you are or what you stand for, youíll begin to live the life of a hypocrite. Donít over indulge yourself, but donít deny yourself either. Finding the right balance is a lifelong journey. Each time you ask yourself if youíre balanced, it gives you the opportunity to pause and reflect. We all need to tame our inner 2-year-old.

ó Author, humorist, PBS star and Fortune 500 trainer Loretta LaRoche lives in Plymouth, Massachusetts. To share your pet peeves, questions or comments, write to The Humor Potential, 50 Court St., Plymouth, MA 02360. Visit her website at