By Dr. Bryan Stotz, DC
What we need to know
If you remember from our last few blog posts, our nervous system plays a huge role in our overall health. It was masterly created and the intelligence contained within helped create us and is always striving to move us to a place of Optimal Health. You may be wondering, “If our nervous system is so smart, why would we ever express anything but Optimal Health?” This is a fair question and to answer we need to understand a little more about our nervous system.
Our brain and nervous system have evolved over time but the basic hardware is still the same as it was for our ancestors. Its primary job is to make sure we survive! To do this our nervous system must constantly monitor our surroundings and environment for potential threats and risks. A great trait to have when there is a constant threat of a saber-tooth tiger attack! Fortunately, we do not have to worry about that anymore, but in today’s world, there are countless more things bombarding us that our ancestors never had to worry about. While most of these things do not pose the same life-threatening effect, they can still have just as much of a detrimental effect on our health and life.
With advancements in technology, new knowledge, an ever-changing economy, political and religious battles, and daily personal, professional responsibilities there is a lot that our nervous system must process. We can simply break these down into one word, “experiences”, and there are 4 main types of experiences:
- Physical: These experiences directly impact our physical bodies but also can have an impact on the function of our nervous system. This includes slips and falls, accidents, injuries, repetitive sitting, overexertion etc.
- Mental: The thoughts we think in our heads can actually trigger chemical and hormonal reactions within our body. This changes not only our mood but over time can change physical characteristics as well. The average person has 50,000-60,000 thoughts a day. Given our societal standards today do you think these are primarily positive or negative thoughts?
- Emotional: How we relate to people, places, and things within our environment. A negative relationship to one or all of these can lead to negative mental thoughts leading to adverse health effects.
- Chemical: This is often overlooked but a major contributor to our overall health and something our ancestors never had to worry about. Chemicals in the air we breathe from polluted air, chemicals used on the food we eat, chemicals in our beauty and cleaning products, and even chemical radiation from wireless technology. All of these, and more must be processed by our body’s nervous system, regardless of how minute or “safe” they may be.
How these impact our Nervous System
Have you ever heard someone say, “I carry my stress in my shoulders?” or maybe you’ve said this yourself? When we have an experience beyond what our nervous system can process at the moment it stores it because remember our nervous system is ALWAYS monitoring our environment for potential threats. Over time, this experience, or others, can begin to change how our nervous system functions and ultimately how it controls our organs, tissues, and cells. This can lead to a host of secondary effects
Now, there are plenty of experiences in our life that are positive. When we encounter one of these our nervous system processes it well bringing us a sense of joy, gratitude, inspiration, or enthusiasm. We use this to our advantage to allow our body to do what it is naturally intended to do, moving us closer to a state of Optimal Health.
In our next blog, we will talk about what we can do to ensure our nervous system is processing more positive experiences and better adapting to negative ones.