We have been designed by nature with which seems like an infinite
amount of adaptive mechanisms that interrelate and communicate with each
other to ensure our survival. It is completely mindboggling to consider how
these mechanisms have been put into place and function. One such system is the
involuntary nervous system which contiains both the sympathetic and parasympathetic
nervous systems. These systems serve to energize us for protection and to relax us.
As amazing and intelligent as these systems are somehow there evolution has
not kept pace with the evolution or our own personal needs.
We once needed to physically attack or run away from threatening creatures
when we had little resources for dealing with these threats. In today’s
world there are infrequent times when we may face threatening creatures
(typically of our own species), however, the threats we face and those
things which activate our nervous system are more likely related to
financial problems, computer related issues, concerns about our health, and
attacks against our sense of self dignity. Astoundingly these attacks
often originate from within ourselves.
Some aspects of the stress response related to the fight or flight pattern
may no longer be needed for us to function effectively in our world. In
many ways they may even inhibit our ability to adapt effectively.
Fortunately the balancing mechanism or the relaxation response continues to
function extremely well. This adaptive mechanism continues to work
beautifully when stimulated regularly. Unfortunately it is something that
many of us know little about and even when we know about it we frequently
neglect to allow it to work for us. Definitely a problem for me as I get
busy and focused on all the things I think I need to do and neglect resting
and taking the time to quiet my mind and relax my body.