Today will talk about an ancient behavior pattern or reaction, we as humans carry on as a survival instinct called fight-or-flight reaction. And we will describe what happens to our body when experienced with fear.
So, what is fight-or-flight reaction?
When the first human evolved he was equipped with this survival instinct. This powerful survival mechanism injected itself into our DNA. Today is known as fight-or-flight reaction. This mechanism was first described in 1929 by the US physiologist Walter Kannon.
In this description, we can see the explanation of what is happening in our most primitive brain when we face a situation that can harm our physical body. In other words, he describes our reaction when a situation crosses over the lines of what we think it is safe. When we face a situation that is life-threatening, we will react with one of the two survival options: To fight or to run, also known as fight-or-flight reaction.
How does our Brain react, when he detects a life-threatening situation?
First, our nervous system (The part of the nervous system that regulates all body functions) is starting to prepare you for what you saw as a life-threatening situation. Sending you a message, example: “there is a big chance you don’t make it if you stay here and it is better for you to run”. Then storms with his mission to get you fully prepared. Your brain knows no matter what you do, fight or run the action will overheat your body, and automatic sweating is the best way to lower your body temperature.
Next, your hormones will start metabolic processes on their own, that will help you carry on with the surprising circumstances your come across. Your adrenal gland will start to produce adrenalin, and other hormones that will increase your heart rate and it will raise your blood pressure. When the hormones of adrenaline and cortisol are in your blood your level of energy will significantly increase. Your Pancreas will start to produce a hormone named glucagon. This hormone will increase your sugar level as you have eaten a few chocolates at the same time. That will lead to increased flow of blood to your brain and muscles, necessary for facing your opponent or running away.
Your body and mind start to send really clear messages between each other. Example: Now it is not the time to worry about growth, your growth hormone stops producing. Now it is not the time to fight against disease, and your immune systems stop being active etc. And most amazing among all is that your blood platelets will become wider and gluey. Your body and mind are getting ready for a fight and they are even preparing your blood to stay in your body if the body gets injured.
All this will happen in a second. It will happen before you had the chance to reexamine the situation on the present danger. There are two outcomes, the danger might be real, or imaginary. If your brain sees it as a real situation you will get this reaction, it doesn’t matter if the danger exists or not.
These processes as described aboive, may and will cause many diseases like a heart condition, addiction type of personality, infections, diabetes, etc. This is presented as something we cannot have an effect on. Something that is into our DNA and that is how we behave as humans.
In a part of our future articles, we will analyze this behavior, and we will give really good techniques for calming your mind before it does damage to your body. One of the main issues that we will discuss on is: Your brain is reacting in this same way even when your needs aren't being met, when you do not have the social status you desire, when you lose someone you love - someone close to you, during a break up with your loved one, when you say something bad to someone and then you feel regret. More or less in a situation where your brain does not have a solution for a problem, and not a near death danger.