Primitive man was constantly faced with danger and the struggle for survival. In life-threatening events such as hairy mammoth or jaguar attack, his body reacted with the “fight or flight response“. In facing danger, the human body released adrenalin, the heart rate increased dramatically, and perspiration increased, allowing man to fight or flee at optimal levels.
Today, the human body still reacts to danger or threat in much the same way, shooting adrenalin and hormones into the system, heightening physical preparedness for survival. Today, however, hairy mammoths and jaguars are replaced with angry co-workers, traffic frustrations, marital conflict, etc., which switch on the same survival mode we adopted in primitive times. This extreme reaction is overkill, but still chemical release, heart rate increase, perspiration, etc. are automatically called into play, “stuck” in this ancient pattern.
Dr. Hubert Benson developed the term “relaxation response“, or when the body no longer perceives danger. The body’s release of chemicals, increased brain signals, muscle and organs preparation slow, decreasing blood flow to the brain.
How do we unleash this physiological tool for facing adversity?