Biologically, We Are Nature
In a previous post I wrote about mutualisms – cooperative relationships – that govern the way organisms in nature behave in response to change. When disturbances happen in nature, such as earthquakes, floods, or fires, mutualisms increase. Essentially, when nature experiences stress, she focuses more on relationships, cooperation, and communication.
Well, guess what? So do we!
Research indicates that we humans respond to stress with a “tend-and-befriend” tactic, which reduces fear and increases optimism through social caregiving (via the biological hormone oxytocin), a reward system (via dopamine), and attunement or heightened intuition and self-control (via serotonin). Perhaps even more importantly, whenever we choose to help others, we activate this state, which Kelly McGonigal calls the “biology of courage.”
Now, if nature and humans are wired to behave in exactly the same way when responding to stress, doesn’t that make humans and nature…the same?
One of my big questions right now is how we might expand biomimicry to include emulating human practices that are in tune with nature, such as the practices of indigenous peoples living in subsistence? I call this “social biomimicry.” I realize that another potential arena of interest is “human biomimicry:” how human biology is wired to behave in the same ways that the rest of nature behaves in response to change and stress, and how we might learn from these similarities.
As one of the Life’s Principles states, we must “Evolve to Survive.” This is especially true in this time of profound change and uncertainty. How might we look more deeply at nature by going outside, and by going inside through biological and meditative inquiries to understand and adapt our practices to be in harmony with the Earth? That is, to me, one of the most important questions of our time.
Are you stressed? Try reaching out to others. Connect. Communicate. Our strength grows through our relationships.