Fight, Flight, or Freeze
We all have things we are afraid of! Maybe for you it’s spiders, the dark, thunder or heights. Think about the way you feel when you are frightened, what comes to mind? Many people may have one or more of the following…
- Sweaty palms
- Increased heart rate
- Heavy breathing
- Body trembles
- Tight muscles
- Dilated pupils
All of these things are signs of your body responding to anxiety with your Fight, Flight or Freeze Response! Anxiety is what happens when we feel scared, overwhelmed or nervous. Your Fight, Flight or Freeze response is your body’s way of protecting you when your brain senses danger. This response is turned on by a little part of your brain called the amygdala. Once the amygdala signals the response your body does one of three things in an effort to protect you!
FIGHT: Embrace the problem head on.
FLIGHT: Run away or hide the problem.
FREEZE: Shutting down and avoiding the problem.
Here are some tips to help reassure your body that you are safe when your Fight, Flight or Freeze response kicks in.
- Try deep breathing. Make it fun by blowing bubbles, having a whistling contest or “blowing out candles” on your fingertips.
- Stretch your muscles. Stretching can begin to relax your muscles and soon your brain will follow suit. Bonus if it’s any kind of torsion or twisting motion because crossing your body’s midlines is a great way to reset!
- Reflect on what happened later. Once you are feeling better, reflecting on what happened and if you were actually ever in danger can help prepare your body to respond differently next time!