“Stress” has been a hot topic in health circles for many years now. It has been estimated that 90-95% of all illness is related to stress and the inappropriate response that the body has to it. It’s not so much the stress that is causing the ill health, as it is the body’s response to that stress. Stress is a necessary part of life and is, by no means, all bad. Stress is the driving force that pushes us to get enough food and water, to have adequate shelter, and to stay warm in the winter and cool in the summer. Without stress in our lives, we would not be motivated to achieve our basic needs.
Most people living in industrialized nations no longer need to be concerned or stressed about where their next meal is coming from, or finding a safe bed to sleep in. The term stress is now identified to be related to mental stress or concern over non-survival issues. Examples that come to mind are deadlines at work or marital problems. This mental stress still has the same body-changing consequences that physical stress puts on us. We live in a high paced, high tech, high stress world with a nervous system that has not changed since the beginning. We have the capacity to deal with it, but often times need to be taught how to handle it in order to avoid breakdown, and to be able to grow and thrive as human beings.
The body is genetically designed to be healthy. We have the power to heal ourselves from injuries and illnesses as long as we are in the proper relaxed state. We also have the ability to defend ourselves from danger, fight off enemies and run away if necessary. The problem lies in the fact that we can’t do both at the same time. Healing and defending ourselves happen at opposite ends of the spectrum. It is important to have a flexible nervous system that allows us to engage at both of those ends. Most people are not able to achieve this and remain stuck in one or the other. This results in poor health.
Functional neurology can improve how your nervous system perceives stress, thus helping it engage in defense or relaxation when appropriate. It’s not the stress you have in your life that defines you; it’s how you respond to it.