Whenever I stop long enough to think about it, I am awed by the truly miraculous nature of the human body. It never ceases to amaze me that our bodies can transform food into energy, deliver a constant flow of life-giving oxygen, energy and nutrients to cells, create new cells, produce a vast array of chemical messengers at exactly the right moment and in exactly the correct amount and perform thousands of other intricate tasks with exacting precision, all the while going about the constant and varied mental and physical tasks of work, play and home life.
Even more amazing is the abuse our bodies will take and keep on going. Our body is designed to adapt to changes and stresses. We take it for granted that our nervous system will detect temperature changes (it actually can detect a change of a degree or two) and react to keep our internal temperature in a safe range by sweating or shivering. Our immune system is designed to recognize foreign invaders such as bacteria and viruses and respond in the best way to eliminate these potential health threats. We are not usually consciously aware of, and tend to take for granted, all the tiny (and not so tiny) changes our bodies constantly make to adapt to the stresses thrust on it by our internal and external environment on a daily basis.
Looking at how many additional stresses and pressures have been produced in recent times by environmental changes, advances in technology, population explosion and our fast-paced lifestyle, it is a wonder any of us are still able to live a reasonably healthy life! All of this is a testimony to the truly wondrous adaptability of the human body. Living things want to live. And they will do so if there is any way possible.
We have to be careful not to push a good thing too far though. It is possible to overwhelm our body’s ability to adapt. Although some stresses are just plain unavoidable, we need to be constantly mindful of reducing the load on our bodies by consciously eliminating those stressors that are under our control.
One of my favorite metaphors for health and sickness is to compare our body’s ability to maintain health to the ability of a cup to hold liquid. Your body’s adaptability cup gets filled up by the normal daily processes such as digesting food, working against gravity, injuries and adjusting to weather changes, plus the added stresses of today’s environment such as medications, food additives, radiation, exposure to a vast array of toxic chemicals, unrelenting stress, mental negativity, lack of proper nutrients needed to build new cells and make energy, and our modern beefed-up viral and bacterial invaders. The cup can hold just so much and then it overflows. The overflow appears as symptoms. The symptoms tell us that the system is out of balance – dealing with too much.
Once your body is showing signs of adaptability overwhelm, you can tip the balance back in the direction of health by taking away some of the negative stimuli and adding things that aid our bodies in adapting. These are lifestyle changes such as good nutritious food, positive thoughts, gratitude, exercise, plenty of water, relaxation, reducing toxic exposure, meditation and a host of holistic healthcare practices such as massage, chiropractic, acupuncture, naturopathy, herbs and many others.
All of these suggestions are aimed at returning the body to homeostasis, or balance, by stimulating the healing response, boosting the immune system, and removing things that block or interfere with healing. So, the gist of it all is, be grateful for your amazing adaptable body, then help it along as much as you can by reducing the load!