From the Outside Looking In
Updated: Apr 1, 2021
You are not alone with your thoughts- if you re thinking something its guaranteed so are a million other people - thoughts can be destructive as it is your brain trying to work through flight or fight scenarios to protect you.
Researchers have identified numerous physiological changes that occur during the flight-or-flight stress response. Changes are believed to be triggered by the sympathetic nervous system through the release of stress hormones into the bloodstream. This release causes immediate physical reactions in preparation of the muscular activity needed to fight or flee the threat.
Some of the changes during this process include:
Increased heart rate
Changes in blood flow: Increased blood flow to muscles necessary for escaping, such as skeletal muscles, and decreased blood flow to tissues not necessary for escaping, such as the smooth muscles associated with digestion
Dilation of pupils
Auditory exclusion, also known as hearing loss
Tunnel vision, or a loss of peripheral vision in order to fully focus on the danger at hand
Sweating to cool the body in response to the heat generated as your body gets ready to contend with a predator
If one were experiencing a life-threatening event, they would be expected. But, when they occur while picking up a few groceries for dinner or sitting in a meeting at work, they can be quite frightening. Since much of the stress in our current day society is psychosocial stress, this prehistoric response which once was necessary for survival can be damaging.
Fear Without Danger
In most scenarios we are not actually in danger at all - just in the mind - so what to do? Breathing exercises to calm the heart, mind and body. Meditation, mindfulness and even EFT at the point of stress as this can be done subtly and anywhere without anyone else even realising what you are doing.