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The accelerator of the body is sympathetic, and the braking system is parasympathetic.

The sympathetic nervous system, one of the two main divisions of the autonomic nervous system in our body, is a system that emerges particularly when we are under stress. The other part of this system is the parasympathetic nervous system. The autonomic nervous system, as a part of our nervous system, is responsible for regulating the smooth muscles, glandular secretions, and other internal systems of our body that are not under voluntary control. The sympathetic and parasympathetic nervous systems are active during times of stress and relaxation, respectively. There is a balance between these two systems. The autonomic nervous system, as a product of synchrony, can be described as the accelerator of the body in the case of the sympathetic system and the braking system in the case of the parasympathetic system.

The sympathetic nervous system is responsible for responses to stimulation, including the fight or flight response. It was named sympathetic (sympathos) by the Roman physician Galen about 2000 years ago due to its activation by emotions. It typically manifests during physical activity, when facing a stressful situation, or when perceiving any danger, leading to physiological reactions such as increased heart rate, enhanced respiration, salivation, and dilation of the pupils. The sympathetic nervous system increases adrenaline levels in the body by transporting blood to the muscles, speeding up heart rate, and raising blood pressure.

When any danger is perceived, the sympathetic nervous system activates spontaneously, leading to the release of adrenaline in the body, which increases blood pressure, resulting in an overall heightened state of arousal.

Heart rate increases, allowing more oxygen and nutrients to be transported, blood vessels narrow, which raises blood pressure, the heart contracts strongly and arteries dilate, breathing accelerates, becoming deeper and faster for increased oxygen intake, pupils dilate to enhance vision sensitivity, adrenaline is released from the adrenal glands, glycogen stored in the liver is released into the bloodstream, providing rapid energy, temporary slowing down of the digestive system can occur, leading to physical symptoms such as nausea, abdominal pain, indigestion, bloating, reduced salivation, increased skin moisture (sweating), and increased muscle tone. All these symptoms occur to prepare our body to cope with the perceived danger.

The activity of the sympathetic nervous system can be considered as a survival mode, also known as the fight or flight system, which in primitive times protected us from lions, tigers, or deer, or today allows us to survive a dog's attack by fleeing. It can activate these physiological symptoms in many other systems perceived as anxiety-inducing. Perhaps the lion or tiger of primitive times today can be exams, presentations, streets, or performance at work, among many anxiety-inducing factors. When the autonomic nervous system activates the sympathetic nervous system in response to any danger, a person experiencing anxiety may experience panic with all these physical symptoms.

Did you know that the sympathetic nervous system, which comes into play in moments of danger, has some bodily symptoms that are not as sympathetic as its name suggests but open our survival mode?

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Psikodramind Akademi

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