What Is Happening To Me? Fight, Flight, & Freeze Responses.

Your BODY is designed to respond to threats. We have all been there whether it was a close call on the freeway or an actual threat to survival. Your body’s response is miraculously instantaneous. This emergency response system is a region of the forebrain, the hypothalamus. This is right below the thalamus. Together they jolt the automatic nervous system ( in control of the ability to move, breathe, see, think, etc,), and your endocrine system ( in control of mood, growth and development, the way our organs work, metabolism, and reproduction. )

Physical Symptoms.

  • Increasing heart rate & blood pressure.

  • Body temp may increase & cause an increase in perspiration.

  • You might feel your muscles tighten while veins may become constricted to channel blood to the muscles in need.

  • Dilated Pupils.

  • The feeling of an adrenaline rush.

  • Trembling sensation.

  • Interference with digestion. Digestion may slow down to use your energy to deal with the threat.

  • The immune system may slow down to manage stressors.

  • Blood sugar levels could increase.

Likewise, your MIND is designed to signal perceived stress. Here are some things you may notice if your mind is reacting to threat.

Psychological Symptoms.

  • You may feel more easily agitated which might increase your anger.

  • Anxiety is a common symptom.

  • Difficulty focusing on the smaller task or blanking out.

  • Struggling to make decisions.

  • Nervousness.

All reactions assist your body and mind to shift into survival mode when needed. Throughout history, these responses have given us a chance to overcome danger when facing a threat or escaping it all together so we can stay alive.

While these responses are necessary when facing a threat it is important to note they can also be triggered at times when they aren't needed at all. These drastic changes can damage our physical and mental health. I discovered this after an abusive relationship kept me battling health issues as well as PTSD. I had to make a decision to learn to manually turn off flight, flight, freeze when it fires false alarms.

How To Turn Off The Alarm

  1. Therapy. Find someone who can guide you towards a healthy thought life. Certain kinds of therapy even deal specifically with “triggers”.

  2. Find a calming space and lie down to breathe. Breath to my count. 1, 2, 3, 4, HOLD, EXHALE, 1, 2, 3, 4, 5, 6, 7, 8. Dedicate several minutes to this breathing pattern.

  3. Exercise even if it’s just a 10-minute walk.

  4. Make a list of activities that “cue” safety to your mind and body. Put them to practice when needed.

  5. Call on a safe friend. Remind yourself you are not alone.

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