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Fight or Flight Response - Why Should I Care?

By Lainey Ebright

Our built-in and automatic stress protection, which has the useful function of saving our lives, is known as the "fight or flight response".  It is an ancient device the body utilizes when we experience physical danger or what our mind interprets that way.  We are then literally prepared physically to run or fight, as in escaping from a wild animal or defending ourselves from a tribal enemy.  Our muscles become tense, our breathing rate increases, our minds go into survival mode, and the adrenaline flows.  By the way, digestion is put on hold during this experience.  Think about the implications of that!  Why, for example, are there so many digestive disorders and related problems?  

In our civilized world the mechanism can be triggered by many non-life-threatening situations.  It's as though some part of ourselves tricks us into interpreting a stressful experience as life-threatening!  Anger, confusion, anxiety, embarrassment and fear become actual challenges to our bodies and minds, often making appropriate action more difficult.  Maybe you recall seeing someone becoming quite impatient or overreacting in a situation that didnít seem to warrant such a response.  Possibly you yourself have become overly upset about being put on hold or having to wait in a slow line. 

If you wonder what this information has to do with you, consider this:  the bodyís immune system becomes compromised by frequent, continued experience with the fight or flight response.  In other words, it becomes dangerous to a personís very health to remain overly stressed for too long. 

We do automatically react to something perceived as danger/stress/threat with our ancient protective reaction.  We do not automatically know how to turn off these manifested responses when we realize they are inappropriate for the situation. 

Fortunately, we have an inherent ability to relax ourselves out of unnecessary fight-or-flight responses.  However, we need to learn how to access it.  Taking "relaxation lessons" can help us save our valuable personal energy.  By using natural abilities to "turn off the switch" on unwanted stress responses, you not only can improve your health, but add confidence and grace to your life.

With enjoyable relaxation practice, you can build-in the ability to choose more effective and efficient ways to manage the stresses of life.  Although there are no Olympic prizes for expert "relaxers," the rewards can be great, sometimes even life-saving!  


For more about this and related topics, please call Lainey at Circleville Hypnotherapy.

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