We use our peripheral nervous systems when we want to perform any task, such as writing with a pen, or walking. While both of these actions seem routine and žsecond natureÓ, they require the use of the somatic nervous system, a part of the peripheral nervous system that regulates such voluntary actions as writing or walking. The Autonomic Nervous System
The other division of the peripheral nervous system is the autonomic nervous system, which regulates subconscious functions of the body, such as the beating of the heart and the muscles of the digestive tract. All of the actions executed by the autonomic nervous system are outside of the borders of the conscious mind, in that they are executed without thought from the brain. Many of the actions of the autonomic nervous system occur solely within the spinal cord and brain stem, bypassing the brain completely.