The fight or flight mode

the fight or flight mode
Drawing by Adrian Serghie

   The fight or flight mode is a response we have for situations that fucks with our normal homeostatic state. When we’re out of our comfort zone, this is triggered and our heart goes on like crazy, because of this our bodies temperature raises, the blood is redirected from our internal organs towards our muscles, adrenaline is released for a boost of energy, and our senses are directed towards those situations. Being too often in this state, our internal organs have to suffer because they are over used.

   Our core beliefs (beliefs like “I’m useless.”; “I’m unlovable.”; “I’m awesome.”; “I deserve everything.”; “I deserve nothing.” and so on) are the ones deciding if those situations are positive (e.g. exciting) or negative (with potential of hurting us) and automatic thoughts are inserted accordingly (“That person is looking funny at me. I guess he/she likes me.” or “That person is looking strange at me. I guess he/she hates me”.). These thoughts decide if we should feel good or bad and our brains start to release the required neurotransmitters so we can have those feelings. Based on these thoughts, our brain starts to search for reasons to prove they are true while the amygdala is triggered to process the feelings. Once the amygdala is triggered, those feelings take over our brain. Now the feelings are the filter our brain has in place so we’re going to think and behave based on them.

   “Hmmm. Okay. Two questions here. First, can the amygdala process emotions without triggering the fight or flight mode? If so, when it decides to switch that button?” Yes, it can. It will process emotions without triggering the survival mode as long as the situation is not messing too much with the homeostatic balance. Once we’re leaving our comfort zone, the fight or flight mode is triggered and our bodies respond.

    This is tough because just knowing these things can get us out of our comfort zone so the survival mode is triggered. It sounds like we’re all victims of our surroundings and therefore, of our brains. It can be very frustrating because we thought that we’re the ones in control when actually we might not be. Also, just knowing this doesn’t do any help because we cannot change overnight. But knowing this can be the first step. We are untrained dragon slayers. Now, let’s not transform mice into dragons. We don’t need that energy loss.

*Passage from my book -> Fighting the Inside Dragons* (You can find it here on Kindle and Paperback)

   How often do you go into the fight or flight mode?

23 thoughts on “The fight or flight mode

      1. In fight or flight mode? A few years. Anxiety is a HUGE problem for me. My therapist and I are starting to chip away at it, but it seems insurmountable.

      2. Good question. I have PTSD as well as bipolar disorder, generalized anxiety and panic disorder so it’s just kind of an issue. I think it’s a combination of a lot of things.

      3. Tasks, appointments…. breathing… sometimes I can be perfectly fine and then just not okay. I think sometimes I get overwhelmed the day before and it carries over.

  1. My problem is I only have one mode it’s a fight the problem is everything doesn’t require a fight but the perception of the black man is interlaced with confrontation read any newspaper watch any news program. The flight never enter my mind if I do it in my mind it’s never ending and so I don’t I won’t

      1. I blieve you should carry yourself with respect and digity I give it and demand it’s return. I blieve respect is earned but digity is deserved atemp to take my digity I will take your well being. I can ignor most foolishness from people who are irreverent to a point

  2. There’s one thing in the whole world that will get me to run. A snake! Put a snake within five feet of me and there’s not an Olympian born that can catch me. The bravest thing I ever did involved a snake. I was in college, and taking a course in Television Production. We went over to one of the Biology Profs homes to record her animals. What I didn’t know was she was the proud owner of the Python from Hell. She takes it out of it’s case, puts it one the floor and so here’s this incredibly big snake slithering around, and attracted to the lights on my camera. So I’m taping it, and all I wanted to do was drop the camera, and bolt from the house shrieking in stark terror. I stood my ground, and got some great footage. I always thought it was good training for some the stuff I had to do later in life.

    1. Interesting. Would you say that from a biological point of view, the reactions are the same (blood rushing towards the muscles, hyper-vigilance and so on)?

      1. Like a deer in the headlights. Not sure of the biology— i would guess yes on the blood rushing toward muscles but no on hyper vigilance. Overwhelming, choking fear.

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