Of all of the things which impact me negatively on a regular basis it is the fight or flight reaction. By the way, most of us share this response. Some of the ways the flight or fight reaction manifests itself, at least in me is, for example, in the past whenever I have found myself raging in a man who cut me off on the freeway and then, an hour later, still being pissed off at the man.
Does this happen to you also? The flight or fight response is truly a protection device of the best quality. It’s your body’s primitive reaction to a perceived threat or danger. You see, eons ago when we were being chased as supper by saber toothed tigers, it gave us the power to run quickly, to scamper up trees to use stones and other weapons at hand to defend ourselves.
Additionally, it gave us the reflexes and power to fight unfriendly humans who wanted to remove items from our camp like our food or grandparents and children. When you’re in actual physical danger that is the absolute best way for your bodies to react. Let’s examine how the flight or fight reaction affects your body.
When activated, you are given a enormous surge of adrenaline and other stress hormones throughout the entire body. These naturally provided stimulants have led to mothers with the power to lift cars off their trapped kids. They also offer the corpsmen the excess speed and courage to run to the aid of a fallen soldier in battle. This adrenaline rush provides you with the chemicals you will need to assist you escape from threats to your life in addition to protect the lives of your nearest and dearest.
Scientist who have studied the flight or fight reaction have discovered that the release of those stress hormones cause some pretty extreme things inside your body. These chemicals accelerate your heart rate, slow down your digestion and reroute your blood flow in the gut and peripheral systems into your major muscle groups, such as your legs and back. Your pupils dilate as a process of sharpening your vision.
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You perceive things more quickly and clearly as you become more intensely concentrated. Your own bodies can become impervious to pain. Your autonomic bodily functions are improved that can throw your immune system into overdrive to fight off the infections you could receive because of injuries. Your body gets ready both physically and emotionally, to participate either to combat the threat or to run away.
This response can offer your body explosive power and superhuman strength. You become as ready to run or fight as a human can possibly be. When you face real risks to your survival or the survival of a loved one, the flight response is vital. If your home catches on fire this reaction can allow you to get out safely. If your child starts to run out to the road you will run and grab them before they could hurt themselves. If a bunch of Outlaw Bikers comes to a bar you’re in it is going to ask you to leave.
What is the problem?
The problem with the fight or flight reaction is that the majority of the events you encounter in your everyday life do not threaten your physical survival. Unlike the actual danger of a saber tooth tiger, now your fight or flight response can be triggered during discussions with your spouse or whenever you speak with a woman you have not met before. It can be triggered because traffic is stalled and your boss told you you’d be written up if you’re late to work again.
If funds are low and your car is making that exact same strange sound it made as it cost you over $1000 final time that the response is triggered. Maybe, like me, a man cuts you off or somebody seemed to drift into your lane almost knocking you off your bike. When events like this occur your fight or flight system could be activated and cause your body to secrete a lot of stress hormones.
What is the Hypothalamus?
When you activate your fight or flight system the hypothalamus, your primitive reptilian brain, initiates a sequence of neural cell firing and release chemical compounds that prepare your body for fighting or running. Because this is a crude system of the mind, it bypasses the conscious or rational part of your head, the portion of the brain that you think of, and moves you into a deeply unconscious fight or run away trend.
At this time you start to see nearly everything in your surroundings as a potential threat to your survival. Now that your body is all hyped up you have a propensity to perceive everything and everyone as a potential enemy. You’re looking out for each possible danger, exactly like a Special Forces combat veteran on patrol. The smallest comment might set you off. You might become fearful of the most innocent or typical occasion.
Your brain may start to “turn off” a number of its rationality, causing your thinking to become twisted. Your entire body mind system becomes stressed. This stress causes your mind to”feel fuzzy”. Rather than being able to examine and react to events logically, your own fears cause you to respond instantly in ways which are much less than beneficial. When fear becomes the lens through which you find the world you become helpless to control your head against your crude reactions. If this stress is allowed to continue unchecked for a long time period it may kill you.