What should I do? How will knowing the "fight or flight" response help me with my stress? For some people, knowing that the "butterflies" in their stomach or the muscle tension in their neck is part of the body's normal response to stress can help them feel empowered to make changes. Understanding the physiological mechanism of the fight or flight response can provide people a sense that the "machinery" of the body can be manipulated in a healthy, adaptive way to respond to stress.
Chronic activation of this survival mechanism impairs health Updated: May 1, Published: March, A stressful situation — whether something environmental, such as a looming work deadline, or psychological, such as persistent worry about losing a job — can trigger a cascade of stress hormones that produce well-orchestrated physiological changes.
A stressful incident can make the heart pound and breathing quicken. Muscles tense and beads of sweat appear. This combination of reactions to stress is also known as the "fight-or-flight" response because it evolved as a survival mechanism, enabling people and other mammals to react quickly to life-threatening situations.
The carefully orchestrated yet near-instantaneous sequence of hormonal changes and physiological responses helps someone to fight the threat off or flee to safety. Unfortunately, the body can also overreact to stressors that are not life-threatening, such as traffic jams, work pressure, and family difficulties.
Over the years, researchers have learned not only how and why these reactions occur, but have also gained insight into the long-term effects chronic stress has on physical and psychological health.
Over time, repeated activation of the stress response takes a toll on the body. Research suggests that chronic stress contributes to high blood pressure, promotes the formation of artery-clogging deposits, and causes brain changes that may contribute to anxiety, depression, and addiction.
More preliminary research suggests that chronic stress may also contribute to obesity, both through direct mechanisms causing people to eat more or indirectly decreasing sleep and exercise.
Sounding the alarm The stress response begins in the brain see illustration.
When someone confronts an oncoming car or other danger, the eyes or ears or both send the information to the amygdala, an area of the brain that contributes to emotional processing. The amygdala interprets the images and sounds.
When it perceives danger, it instantly sends a distress signal to the hypothalamus. Command center When someone experiences a stressful event, the amygdala, an area of the brain that contributes to emotional processing, sends a distress signal to the hypothalamus. This area of the brain functions like a command center, communicating with the rest of the body through the nervous system so that the person has the energy to fight or flee.
The hypothalamus is a bit like a command center. This area of the brain communicates with the rest of the body through the autonomic nervous system, which controls such involuntary body functions as breathing, blood pressure, heartbeat, and the dilation or constriction of key blood vessels and small airways in the lungs called bronchioles.
The autonomic nervous system has two components, the sympathetic nervous system and the parasympathetic nervous system. The sympathetic nervous system functions like a gas pedal in a car. It triggers the fight-or-flight response, providing the body with a burst of energy so that it can respond to perceived dangers.The fight or flight response is a catch-all phrase describing the body's response to stress.
Fight or flight refers to the two choices our ancestors had when facing a dangerous animal or enemy. In that moment of stress (fear) the body prepares itself to be injured and to expend energy in the large muscle groups of the arms, legs and shoulders.
The fight or flight response is a catch-all phrase describing the body's response to stress. Fight or flight refers to the two choices our ancestors had when facing a dangerous animal or enemy. In that moment of stress (fear) the body prepares itself to be injured and to expend energy in the large muscle groups of the arms, legs and shoulders.
This fundamental physiologic response forms the foundation of modern day stress medicine. The "fight or flight response" is our body's primitive, automatic, inborn response that prepares the body to "fight" or "flee" from perceived attack, harm or threat to our survival.
the response of the sympathetic nervous system to a stressful event, preparing the body to fight or flee, associated with the adrenal secretion of epinephrine and characterized by increased heart rate, increased blood flow to the brain and muscles, raised sugar levels, sweaty palms and soles.
It triggers the fight-or-flight response, providing the body with a burst of energy so that it can respond to perceived dangers. The parasympathetic nervous system acts like a brake. It promotes the "rest and digest" response that calms the body down after the danger has passed.
The Fight Response. The purpose of the fight response is to allow humans to be ready to take anything down whether big or scary. If you were taking a hike with a friend in the forest, and a large animal attacks you, you might have to be ready to fight it.