The “Fight or Flight” Response


This happens in all of us. It is a normal, natural part of our wiring. It’s there for our survival as a species. But, when it turns on when it’s not supposed to — in a traffic jam or in a long line at the bank — it is unhealthy and we get stressed out. “Turning within” through this Meditation switches on the “opposite of the fight or flight” response — you feel calm, centered, at peace — not stressed.

So, I tell people — you don’t even have to call this Meditation...you can just tell people you learned how to turn on the OPPOSITE switch from the Fight or Flight Response. Everyone understands that!

What is the fight or flight?

It’s what happens in our body when that part of our autonomic nervous system called the “sympathetic nervous system” kicks in, and releases epinephrine. Then, our adrenal gland gets triggered by hormones released by the hypothalamus, and cortisol is produced. Digestion slows, blood vessels constrict (except for those in our large muscles, which dilate), hearing lessens, vision narrows, heart rate goes up, mouth gets dry because the lacrimal gland which regulates salivation immediately gets inhibited.

why is it important?

You are ready to fight for your life. 

This is your body’s acute stress response. It is supposed to be temporary, to just allow us to manage the situation immediately...

So you will survive.

It is a “switch” that’s inside all of us that is supposed to turn on when the saber tooth tiger is at our cave door...and we have to make a quick decision: Do we FIGHT or do we FLEE?

So, it's there for our own good. But, as I said, it's meant to be temporary.

negative results...

But living in this state for long periods, or having it triggered in inappropriate situations (traffic jams, business meetings, school exams), creates negative psychological and physiological repercussions. For example: anger, depression, anxiety, chest pain, headaches, high blood pressure, insomnia, and a suppressed immune system.

Without intending to, we automatically turn on this “fight or flight” mechanism too often in our lives. And because we do not know how to manage stressful situations, our bodies simply react in this way. 

balance is the key

From a neurophysiological (mind-body) standpoint, what I teach is a technique to turn on the OPPOSITE of the “fight or flight” mechanism in us. This balances us. It allows us to develop a more balanced mental, emotional and physical state so our “fight or flight” response only gets turned on when it needs to.

By learning how to ‘turn within’ through Meditation, we can live a more enjoyable, contented, and productive life without being unnecessarily upset by the “fight or flight” mechanism. Without having it activated when it’s not supposed to — without getting stressed.