Fight or flight response in humans

By M.Farouk Radwan, MSc.

Fight or flight response in humans

the fight or flight response is the automatic defensive system that is built into your body that is triggered when your body senses danger.

The purpose of the fight or flight response is to either help you fight an enemy or to flee away and save yourself.

The problem that many people suffer from is that their fight or flight response is fired when its not needed. For example, the feelings you get right before doing a presentation in front of a large group is an example of firing of the fight and flight response in the wrong time.

While people can never harm you still your body thinks that you are in danger and so triggers the fight and flight response. We humans were designed for survival and that's why any perceived danger ,even if it was not harmful at all, could trigger the fight and flight response.

What happens when the fight or flight response is triggered?

below is what happens in the human body when the fight or flight response is triggered :

  • Adrenaline is released into our bloodstream.
  • The rate of respiration increases
  • Blood is moved away from our digestive tract and directed into our muscles and limbs
  • pupils dilate.
  • awareness intensifies.
  • sight sharpens.
  • impulses quicken.
  • perception of pain diminishes.

As you can see when the fight or flight response is triggered you become much stronger and less vulnerable to pain but at the same time you start think of everything around you as a possible threat and so your fears intensify which makes it very hard to think rationally or to concentrate.

The fight or flight response is an emergency state

Although the fight and flight response makes you much more powerful still its an emergency state that your body wasn't designed to work under for long periods of time.

The problem arises when this response is incorrectly triggered when you perceive a situation as a threat one while its not. For example if your fight or flight response was triggered as a result of seeing a spider, when you hear some noise while being at a dark place or just before you make a presentation then you must learn how to be more in control of your thoughts and emotions.

constantly triggering the fight and flight response could cause some serious health problems like headaches , high blood pressure ,irritable bowel syndrome and immune system problems.

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