The Fight, Flight or Freeze Response

The fight-flight-freeze response is the body’s natural reaction to any kind of danger.  It is a survival instinct that our ancient ancestors developed many years ago. This response kept us alive because we needed to be on full alert from attacks by wild animals, warriors etc.

Fight: Face and fight

Flight: Turn and flee

Freeze: Stay still and become paralysed

Fast forward to today and this built in response mechanism is still programmed into our bodies. The fight, flight or freeze response is not a conscious decision we make, it is our body and mind reacting immediately on auto-pilot when faced with instant stress. The response triggers the nervous system to release hormones such as adrenaline which leads to body changes such as:

  • Your heart will beat faster to pump blood to your muscles and brain.
  • Your hearing will sharpen to hear signs of danger approaching.
  • Your lungs will take in air faster to supply your body with oxygen. 
  • Your eyes will widen to see better. 
  • Your digestive system will slow down allowing your body to concentrate on more important matters. 
  • Your skin will start to sweat as it tries to reduce your rising body temperature. 

Although this mechanism evolved in days gone by to protect us, it does not always assess the situation correctly and can have trouble making the distinction between a real and a perceived threat.

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Providing people with the skills they need to manage their condition and work towards recovery.
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