Are You Living in Fight-or-Flight Mode?
In Chinese medicine, it is said that within each organ resides a spirit or specialized energetic function that relates to an energetic and spiritual sense of being. The lungs house the corporeal soul, called the Po (pronounced “Paw”). The Po provides a sense of bodily awareness: a knowing about where your body starts and ends in physical space.
The Po spirit brings with it seven primal urges: fear, anxiety, anger, joy, sorrow, worry and grief. These emotions are physical sensations that give feedback as to how to interact with the world. They are messengers that bring your attention to whatever needs to be examined. They are designed to be explored, not ignored. If unacknowledged, the urges may turn into physiological imbalances, which further draw attention to a particular life lesson.
As life unfolds, the body, through the seven primal urges alerts you to something that deserves deeper examination. This occurs in a specific order, moving from one organ system to the next. Each system elicits an emotion to address a particular issue in life. You may fail to fully resolve a life lesson due to a weakness in your constitution, acute fatigue, physiological toxicity, fear of facing the lesson, or a combination of the above.
Physiologically, the fear of facing fear is a process represented by the sympathetic, or the “fight-or-flight” part of the nervous system. The sympathetic nervous system is governed by the amygdala-the reptilian, or ancient, part of the brain. The brain is hardwired to support habitual activity. The more you hang out in the fight-or-flight part of your brain, the harder it is to move into a healing restorative state. By intentionally placing your awareness on something relaxing and soothing, you can change this pattern. See the chapter on Neuroplasticity in the Tools section of my book, Born to Heal, to learn more about using the power of the brain to heal.
Did you know that living a go-go-go lifestyle could be attributing to your fight-or-flight response? The remedy for this is rest. I am amazed how many people actually do not know how to rest. I, too, sometimes find myself caught up in activity and have to schedule time to unwind. If my nervous system is wired, sometimes it can take me hours or days to really let go. If you live a go-go-go lifestyle, learning to rest is a necessary virtue.