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What exactly is the nervous system?

Updated: Sep 5, 2022

In the past few years it has become more common to hear people talking about their nervous systems or that they are in ‘fight, flight or freeze’.

But what exactly is the nervous system?

Let’s talk biology for a moment.

The nervous system can be described as the wiring or the operating system of the body. If you were to look inside a human body you would be able to see the brain as a soft organ that floats in cerebrospinal fluid and is held in the hard bony skull to protect it.

You would be able to see nerves as a network of ‘wires’ spread through the whole body, connected to the brain, passing down the centre of the spine as the spinal cord and then spreading out through the whole body to coordinate everything we do and every way in which we interact with the world around us.

The autonomic nervous system is part of this biological physical network and covers the aspects that keep us operating unconsciously behind the scenes. Regulating our heart rate, breathing, digestion and sexual arousal are all part of the autonomic system.

Fight, flight, freeze and also our social engagement system where we get our sense of ease and belonging are part of this autonomic system. We now know that so much of what runs our lives unconsciously comes from the workings of our biological and physiological nervous system. It is to this aspect through building awareness and working with the felt sense in the body that we go to find true healing and release from the patterns that have been running our lives.

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