Understanding the Fight or Flight Response Better
The fight or flight response is an automatic reaction to events that are perceived by our brain as threatening, stressful, or frightening. It is designed to be an innate primal response to save our lives. It activates the sympathetic nervous system to help us handle the threat that we’re faced with.
The sympathetic nervous system
The sympathetic nervous system (SNS) is one of the two systems that work unconsciously and oppositely in regulating the functions of the body.
It governs the fight or flight response and prepares the body for physical activity. It is the system that affects most of the organ systems and is responsible for blood flow to areas of the body that are heavily utilized during physical activity.
What happens when the SNS is triggered?
The fight or flight response appears differently in people and it is not something that we always understand. When your brain perceives a threat and activates your sympathetic nervous system, it triggers over 1,200 chemicals to be released into the body within 90 seconds.
Those chemicals that are being released all at once flow through blood that is shunted from the vital organs in your body that are resting, digesting, and healing, and are brought out to your extremities so you can literally fight or flee.
When the SNS is turned on, your senses are turned way up and get heightened so you can move really quickly as the situation calls for it.
Fight or flight can be triggered by many things.
With all our senses and today’s culture, what can be perceived as a threat by the human brain can literally come from anything. It’s not as isolated to what threats were when technology wasn’t so advanced yet.
It could be something as simple as scrolling through social media, listening to the news, dealing with your child or people around you, driving in traffic, and the list can go on.
Why is it important to understand the fight or flight response?
The fight or flight response is important for self-defense and survival, but as the line between something normal and something threatening fades, frequent triggers of the sympathetic nervous system can also be detrimental to a person’s wellbeing.
As your senses get heightened, the blood that’s shunted by your sympathetic nervous system throughout your body suppresses the nice, calming, organized, and creative part of your brain and the information your brain is processing goes to the back where reactions and impulsive decisions come from.
Does that sound like something you or your child gets stuck in on a regular basis?
If you are noticing this in yourself or your child, your health could be at great risk. Your vital organs aren’t getting the health that they need, your immune system starts to struggle, your gut gets affected, your blood pressure doesn’t go down, and your body will start to depend on those stress hormones.
When your body is constantly in fight or flight mode and your organs aren’t healthy, it doesn’t want to digest the fat that we need in case we don’t get food later on. The carbohydrates we consume are instantly turned into fat inside our bodies, mostly appearing along the waistline.
Nerves that fire together wire together.
We start to make neuro pathways to correct this because just like riding a bike, driving your car, or taking a shower, that fight or flight response can be automatic for you too, and that’s a very common problem in many people.
What we don’t do is override the signals that our bodies are giving us. We don’t stop it, we don’t try to get it into the reverse, we don’t try to get into a better state, and when we don’t do anything about it, you can start being really hardwired for fight or flight.
We are here to help you learn how you can navigate through your sympathetic nervous system.
We did a women’s retreat and we helped the participants set themselves up for success by being able to control the sympathetic nervous system and turn it off so you can calm down and make use of the parasympathetic nervous system more.
There are activities that can help you stimulate the parasympathetic nervous system to help you function normally and keep your entire system in check such as journaling and the classes that we are offering.
It is important to talk about issues like this because there are kids that are born into fight or flight. These kids experience that from birth and they don’t become capable of turning it off or turning it off very often, and that affects their development.
They miss out on sleep, socialization, digestion, and other milestones in life. The development in their speech, learning, and motor abilities get delayed, causing a lot more problems as they grow.
We understand how important it is for you and your children to live healthy and successful lives.
The best time to get under care is as soon as possible. Get the right education and guidance to help you and your family navigate through issues such as the fight or flight syndrome so you can all experience a higher quality of life, and you can change the world, for those who mean the world to you.