When someone goes through any type of stressful situation, their body undergoes a certain state which allows them to be highly efficient for self-protection. The sympathetic nervous system’s fight or flight response is an important aspect of our natural self defence system.
So what types of situations can trigger the fight or flight response symptoms? Actually it may be anything that your mind is not conditioned to handle, for instance, a killer has pointed a gun at your head, or someone is going to attack with some kind of weapon, or you may find a dangerous animal, such as tiger or snake in front of you. Whatever dangerous or life-threatening situation there is humans are conditioned to either fight with the situation or to run away as quickly as possible. That’s how it has got the name; fight or flight response.
The situations that can trigger the fight or flight response symptoms are not limited to being real or actual danger. In the case of anxiety disorders, these threats are just imaginary. In these circumstances, our body sets off adrenaline which results in harrowing emotional and physical symptoms. As a consequence, a person starts fearing another dreadful experience called panic attack. The fear caused by this situation is called anticipatory anxiety, which often results in a never-ending cycle of fear and anxiety.
What exactly causes the fight or flight response?
Our midbrain (locus coeruleus and periaqueductal grey) and amygdala are particularly associated with anxiety and survival mechanisms. There are certain theories that state the interaction between the midbrain and amygdale can cause misinterpretations of various signals, which results in a panic attack.
Actually the whole process starts with stimulating the locus coeruleus by novel stimulus, which enhances the person’s alertness and sensitivity. These signals then reach our amygdale, which is in charge of our memory. This is one of the most common reasons a person’s memory get’s filled with terrifying and unpleasant experiences. These memories make the person believe that these perceived threats are something real, which often results in panic attack.
How to manage the fight or flight response
When you are in states of fear and anxiety most of your neural activity is in the left brain. If you can switch on the right brain hemisphere the stress response will be reduced. One of the easiest ways to do this is to become aware of the body.
|Your Big Toe Joe!
If you practice this simple technique whenever you start feeling anxiety you can learn to stop it in it’s tracks. It only takes 90 seconds for this switching to occur!