Tigers and Tunnel Vision

by Ralph Strauch

Is our biological reaction to stress maladaptive in an urban society? It’s a beautiful summer day. You’re walking through a tropical forest, feeling the sun on your back and the breeze brushing your face. A burbling brook accompanies the birds in the trees. You are one with your surroundings, in a soft, unfocused way.

A tiger steps in front of you, less than 50 yards down the path!

The world suddenly changes. Your heart pounds; your muscles tense. The sun on your back disappears, the brook and the birds go silent. Your awareness narrows sharply now — focusing only on the tiger. Your entire being is poised and ready — to run if you have a chance, to do battle otherwise.

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