Understanding “Fight or Flight”

The Flight-or-Flight Response is a physiological reaction – the release of the hormones adrenaline and norepinephrine – to a stimulus that the brain perceives as danger. The release of these hormones, from the adrenal glands, facilitates an immediate physical reaction – to flee or fight the perceived danger. These reactions include, but are not limited to: increased heart rate, faster and more shallow breathing, digestion stops, an acceleration of instantaneous reflexes, and constriction of blood vessels in many parts of the body.

Generally speaking, we rarely encounter situations in our day-to-day living that warrant the flight-or-flight response as our early ancestors did; we do, however, still have stress responses to perceived dangers. Unfortunately, in these times of chronic stress, our body systems tend to not return to its natural homeostasis – a maintained/constant internal equilibrium – once the perceived threat is gone or finished.

The problem with maintaining this new state of equilibrium – i.e. when the brain gets used to prolonged negative stress – is the variety of long-term negative physiological and psychological problems that can arise. The “new” homeostasis is far from the actual equilibrium the body needs to function effectively and efficiently.

Complete this simple Stress Quiz to assess whether you need to consider how you manage stress in your life. Daily full body relaxation and Meditation practices are excellent tools!

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