Fight or flight is a natural healthy response within our body to a perceived threat or danger. Thousands of years ago we led very different lives, much more physically challenging and dangerous lives. We didn’t have sharp claws or teeth to protect us from the world around us, and we had to be able to react very quickly to threats around us. In those days there were two simple choices, we could either fight or we could run (flight).
The fight or flight response is one of the most important parts of our make-up and a highly efficient survival response for dangerous times. When we are in fight or flight mode hormones like adrenaline and cortisol are released; these speed up the heart rate, slow down digestion, and shift the blood flow to major muscle groups, giving the body a burst of energy and strength so we can react to the situation at hand. In the times of cavemen the threats were simple and straight forward - a wild animal or a member from an enemy tribe for example - these were very serious and dangerous threats requiring a quick reaction.
Nowadays we still have our fight or flight response; the dangerous situations have changed, but the biggest difference is that we now don’t always release that pent up stress.
Our bodies are built to deal with short times of heightened awareness and stress, it is a vital part of our survival, but the problem comes when we continue to keep our bodies in the heightened state, the stress state.
Our body/mind can’t differentiate between a real threat and a perceived threat. You can get the same chemical reactions just by thinking about a stressful situation, for example, a bill needing to be paid, going over a situation you experienced – reliving it in your mind, or worrying about an upcoming situation; then when it happens it was so much better/easier than you thought, but all that energy you spent worrying about it has had a harmful effect on your body.
Our body tries to re balance but the hormones are still flying around; gradually they begin to have a permanent effect on our health, long-term health problems start to develop.
The wonderful thing is that you can control this; you can learn what your stressors are and how you can de-stress yourself. A hypnotherapy, CBT & NLP session can help you by working out a range of mechanisms with Erika which will equip you to deal with stress better for the rest of your life.