Your physiology changes constantly, moment by moment. While you may appear to be pretty much the same from day to day, stimuli from your five senses and from conscious thoughts prompt your body to respond for the purpose of survival. Everything your body does is directed toward finding just the right balance to keep all of your many body parts chugging along for one more instant. We call this balance “homeostasis.”
The term “homeostasis” refers to a process of maintaining internal dynamic equilibrium – functional balance for survival. A vast internal communications network regulates systems and organs to keep your body functioning within survival limits. Homeostasis indicates a balance of tone and functions within your body.
Throughout each 24-hour day, depending on the stimuli and stresses you encounter, your body flips through three main homeostatic patterns: resting homeostasis, digestion homeostasis, and risk homeostasis. Each of these three brings about particular biological responses to serve particular purposes – to accommodate to conditions of the moment. And the ability to respond in these diverse ways is essential not only to survival but to effective internal maintenance. Problems crop up when you are locked into one homeostatic pattern. This lock-in effect is ordinarily a result of thoughts, memories and emotions.
Fortunately, the Grand Designer of these magnificent creations we call our bodies has built in checks and balances to keep our systems working harmoniously for survival. In all three phases of survival homeostasis – resting, digestion, and risk – sympathetic and parasympathetic systems work together. At any given time, one or the other may exert greater influence depending on condition and the job to be done. Eating, for example, requires the parasympathetic to “take charge” and adjust the function of specific organs to process the food. On the other hand, responding to exercise requires the specialties of the sympathetic system. The two systems are designed to work cooperatively.