'Fight or Flight'
'Fight or Flight' is a term used to describe the sympathetic nervous system. It is our instinctual response to danger and causes us to either flee or fight. Either way we become hyper-reactive to our surrounding environment and our adrenal glands secrete huge amounts of adrenaline to power our escape or our battle. We become on edge since we cannot sit still, because to do so would mean imminent death (from the point of view of our animalistic brain).
Imagine you are a deer or a gazelle and you spot a wolf or a cheetah out of the corner of your eye. You automatically tense up with fear and then almost simultaneously you would probably start sprinting away from danger.
This is how the sympathetic nervous system works also known as our 'fight or flight' response.
The problem is that many of us remain stuck in this 'fight or flight' response, unable to feel calm and peaceful and safe. These are the attributes of our para-sympathetic nervous system. This is our rest mode.
Rest and Relaxation
The parasympathetic nervous system is the part of our nervous system that causes us to relax, rest, and recuperate. If we never allowed ourselves to relax, we would burn up our adrenal glands and stores of energy so that we were 'running on empty'.
While the sympathetic nervous system or 'fight or flight' is Yang , the para-sympathetic nervous system or 'rest and relaxation' is Yin.
A stressful work schedule and an active party life (staying up late at night) causes our adrenals to burn up our stores of energy. All of this activity is Yang like Fire, and it burns up all of the Yin or Water energy.
In order to correct this imbalance, we need to reduce our activities, both physical and mental, and slow down our breathing. Too much Yang speeds things up, so we need to slow things down to nourish the Yin. Think of the 'Tortoise and the Hare'.
The rabbit is Yang and can run really fast but tires very easily. The turtle is Yin and although it moves slowly, it is constant and never tires.
If we focus our attention on the soles of our feet, we can help to nourish the Yin water energy in the Acupuncture point Kidney 1 (Yongquan). This helps to connect our Yang fire energy with our Yin water energy.
Fire energy tends to rise to the head causing headaches, anxiety, anger, too much thinking and worrying, insomnia, and excess lust for food, sex, alcohol, etc.
By redirecting the energy down into the soles of our feet, we can anchor this rising Yang fire energy into the Yin of our Kidney Meridian and into the ground of Mother Earth, the ultimate Yin energy, right under our feet.