Fight or flight is a normal response to a threatening situation. Although this response was most needed as a survival mechanism centuries ago, we rarely need this response today. However, this response misfires for different reasons, including what we consider a threat in our own minds. With anxiety it is not uncommon for this response to be triggered by our own imaginations. It's important to realize that fear is also known as:
False -Evidence -Appearing -Real.
By recognizing the response, we are more able to control it and put it in proper perspective.
There are 3 different levels to the fight or flight response
By learning what they are you will be better equipped to recognize them as soon as possible so that you can take action in order to avoid the later stages.
1. Warning Level - This level is what activates you and prepares you for a threatening situation. It also activates the sympathetic nervous system. Adrenaline is produced in order to give you energy to stay and fight or to turn and run from your situation. The fats, sugars and cholesterol levels rise in our bodies. The heart rates accelerates and blood pressure rises. Breathing patterns change by becoming rapid and more shallow which can bring on many uncomfortable body symptoms such as dizziness and/or breathlessness. Perspiration increases causing feelings of hot/cold flashes and our other senses become more sensitive.
2. Adjustment Level - In this level the body attempts to adjust to the situation. This is the perfect time to use the stress management tips . However, if stress is allowed to continue, energy is drained and the body becomes begins to lose the ability to bounce back to normal and exhaustion symptoms begin to occur. The body loses important vitamins, minerals and amino acids and brain chemicals become off balanced. Relaxation methods are very important as they help give the body and mind a temporary break. By taking this break you will help minimize the chances of entering the exhaustion level. When you don't listen to your body's built in warning system (warning level) by taking measures to de-stress, you set yourself up for the beginning phases of various anxiety and depressive disorders. These disorders develop just as bad habits develop, most of the time, when we are not even paying attention.
3. Exhaustion Level - This level of fight or flight has many different symptoms such as physical illness, poor memory , poor concentration, anger issues, sleeping issues, physical-mental fatigue, changes in appetite, feelings of distrust, anxiety , depression and lowered self-esteem, etc. Another name for the exhaustion level is burnout. Although it's not too late to use the stress management tips, it will take longer and more patience to get back to a normal, balanced level with your mind and body. Some people may even need the aid of a therapist and medications to bring them back to a normal, healthy state. In this level, you must know that it is never too late to begin taking good care of yourself. It is, however, more important for you to be more compassionate with yourself and your physical and emotional needs.
When looking at these levels, you can see that stress can lead to serious
problems if allowed to continue for long lengths of time. Although we cannot
eliminate stress entirely. We can learn to manage it through stress
management and even learn to use stress to our benefit.
To learn more about fight or flight, it's necessary to learn the symptoms of panic attacks and a self-help treatment that works.