When a zebra is being chased by a lion, its blood flow concentrates to core life-sustaining organs, digestion slows, and heart rate increases. When you face a stressful situation, your body will do the same thing.
When you experience stress, this is activating your sympathetic nervous system. It’s what’s commonly referred to as “flight” or “fright” response, it’s ok when a mortal danger presents itself. It’s not ok when this is how you respond to everyday life.
Once a zebra has eluded the lion, it returns to a “rest” and “digest” state or parasympathetic response. This is when the body returns to balance with its environment.
Animals are always one to one with their environment. This is where the difference between humans and animals becomes evident. Humans have the ability and often the habit of ruminating about past events. Humans also can think about and anticipate future events. We literally can invent stress in our minds by looking back or ahead.
So, zebra’s may not get ulcers, people do, and this is why. Our habit of unwittingly placing ourselves in a state where our bodies think a lion is chasing us, drives a cascade of reactions in our brain and bodies that make us sick physically and mentally.
Our ability to perform at a high level is also compromised.
When we actually are in danger or we’ve imagined something stressful, our bodies activate the Sympathetic response…flight, fright or fight.
Your Autonomic Nervous System constantly monitors your environment and when it identifies danger, it moves into action and calls on every major body system.
When you face a real or imagined event, your heart rate increases, your High Beta brain waves are activated, pupils dilate, and stress hormones such as adrenaline and cortisol are released. Salivation dries up, bronchi in the lungs expand and digestion inhibits.
Why are we talking about this? It’s a good thing after all isn’t it? Of course, when you are in real danger all of this is vital to your survival. However, few of us face these actual circumstances with any regularity in modern life.
Instead, we face a myriad of stressors such as traffic, time pressure, productivity expectations, social media exposure, all of which can create Lions in our minds. When this happens, daily, we risk going into stress response chronically.
Chronic stress response leads to mental and physical health conditions that ultimately lead to poor health and life quality. The training The Wellness Lab offers can empower you to fix the damage already done and learn to recognize and self-regulate your responses to stress.
When this happens, you are no longer running from the Lion in your mind and your health and performance greatly expand!