The term ‘Fight or Flight’ is taught to us as kids, as we learn about our primitive survival response. You may even become accustomed to the idea of ‘Freeze or Faint’ and many of us understand it as a natural instinct embedded into our genetics ageing WAY back to the primitive ages.
But what most don’t understand is the impact that this survival response has on our overall health. The alteration that occurs within our cells when we are forced to choose FIGHT or FLIGHT, and let me tell you, this alteration ain't pretty. For those of you who are confused by this term: ‘Fight and Flight’ is an automatic response which comes about when we are faced with dangerous situations or situations that pose a threat to our comfort.
Let me paint a picture for you - it’s a Tuesday night, You’ve decided to head down to Cheaper Tuesdays at your local Hoyts with a few mates, you’ve heard of this new award-winning thriller that’s left viewers shaking in their boots. The movie is rolling, the lights are dimmed and the music is daunting. All of a sudden a loud - BANG - which makes you jump, losing half your popcorn in the process. This has sent your body into reaction mode - palms sweaty, heart racing and you’re wondering whether you should get up and run before the next jump scare. This, my friends, is our ‘Fight and Flight’ mode activating.
In primitive times, threats were easily identified and this alert system was essential for survival. All animals (including humans) used this rapid firing system to analyse threats and make quick decisions on the safest response to keep them out of harm's way: FIGHT: “let’s battle, I can take ‘em” FLIGHT: “run, run as fast as you can” FREEZE: “stay very, very still and they won’t see you” FAINT: “quick, play dead”
However, in modern times, threats have become harder to identify as they hide in unresolved issues and past traumas. This leaves us constantly searching or waiting for those experiences which we believe will negatively impact the lives we are trying to build for ourselves. We see previous negative experiences in current situations and activate defence mode to prevent the possibility that the threat will present itself again. This leads us to become stuck in a sustained survival response. Putting up walls, ready to Fight off any unwanted feelings or emotions that may arise from situations that may not even occur. This survival mode is in constant overdrive and alters our physical, psychological, emotional and behavioural state (and between you and me, this is not a good thing). This fight and flight defensive mode that you have built up is preventing you from change - not because you don't want to change, but because you can’t - at least not until you’ve resolved the motive behind your survival mode. It’s time to lose the survival mode and work towards living! Lose the need to survive through life and let’s get you into thriving through life!
Original Content written by Carolyn Farnan and sourced from Resolve Beyond Neurology
Blog post designed and edited by Allie Michelle Aitken
If you want to find out more about your survival response - chat with Aaron today to help you go from SURVIVING to THRIVING!