Our Fight, Flight, Freeze Response
Our flight, flight, freeze response is a stress response, which occurs when the demands of the world around us are greater than our perceived ability to cope with them. But why is it so important for you to recognise the fight, flight, freeze response?
The stress response is great for priming the body for action, and it allows you to operate under pressure. In fact, each stress response is vitally important, making it more likely that you will deal with whatever is concerning you. However, while the fight, flight or freeze response happens automatically, sometimes it is activated without real reason or danger. In this overstimulated, busy world, modern-day stressors can look quite different from historical ones. Our days can be filled with micro stressors that trigger the same lifesaving stress response; when our alarm goes off in the morning, when an email arrives from our boss or when rushing to get our kids to school.
If these micro-stress moments aren’t counterbalanced with moments of relaxation and calm, then our nervous system can get overwhelmed, and you can find yourself living 24/7 in a stressful, highly anxious state.
Knowing the signs allows you to manage your symptoms early. It gives you time to add balance to your life, to consciously give your nervous system the love and attention needed to keep your body and mind healthy.
When you feel in danger but believe you can overpower the threat, you are in fight mode. When fight mode is triggered, your brain sends signals throughout your body to prepare it for fighting.
Signs that tell you, you are in fight response include:
- Grinding of the teeth or tight jaw
- Urge to hit someone or something
- Desire to kick or stomp
- Feeling like you want to kill someone, even yourself
- Feeling intense anger
- Glaring at people
- Talking angrily
- Having an upset stomach or feeling like it’s in knots or burning
- Attacking the source of the danger
When you believe you can defeat danger by running away, this is the flight response. For example, take a house fire; in this scenario, it’s probably best to get out of there as fast as you can.
The following physical and emotional responses signify you are in flight mode:
- Feeling tense, fidgety or trapped
- Constantly moving arms, legs, and feet
- A restless body that won’t stop moving
- Overly exercising
- Feeling of numbness in extremities
- Darting or dilated eyes