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Fight Or Flight Response

fight or flight response

The Fight Or Flight Response

Biologists refer to this as the fight or flight response, a physiological sequence of events triggered whenever we sense that danger is close at hand.

While the threat itself may be genuine (an oncoming car abruptly turns in front of you) or imagined (you mistake a random noise outside your bedroom window for someone trying to break into the house), the response itself is always real.

Adrenaline and other hormones quickly flood your system, your pupils dilate, your heartbeat quickens, your blood pressure rises, your blood sugar level escalates, and your muscles contract.

Your body, in short, is now primed and pumped to either bonk someone on the head or run the other way with the speed of a freshly launched bottle rocket.

But since the threats that confront us today are chiefly emotional or psychological in nature, all of this intense preparation for physical action usually winds up going for naught.

Anxious Young Woman

What Is Stress

Cncerned Young Woman

We can’t, after all, jump up from our desk and run away from a test we’re worried about failing— the way primitive man might flee a charging rhino—nor engage in hand-to-hand combat with a rival who constantly flirts with our boyfriend (though the thought may have crossed our mind once or twice).

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Fight Or Flight Response
Updated November 14, 2012

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