3 Signs Your Fight or Flight Response Is Running Your Life (And What to Do About It)

anxiety fight or flight stress Mar 08, 2023

The flight or flight response is a common topic of discussion here — after all, for many of us, this innate defense mechanism has a greater influence on our lives than we often realize.

Our fight or flight response is a natural survival mechanism that helps us respond to perceived danger. What we often are oblivious to is that this response can be constantly activated in our daily lives, taking a toll on our mental and physical health, and hold us back from the life we want to live.

And since it’s an automatic and unconscious process, we may not even recognize when fight or flight is in the driver’s seat of our lives – running the show. This week, we'll explore three signs that your fight or flight response may be dominating your life. By learning to recognize and manage this response, you can reduce stress and anxiety, improve your decision-making, and live a more fulfilling life. Here they are:

Chronic Anxiety. If you find yourself constantly feeling anxious or worrying about things that are not necessarily threatening, it could be a sign that your fight or flight response is in overdrive. This can make it difficult to relax, focus, or enjoy daily activities. You may make choices that limit your ability to live life fully, miss out on opportunities and not live fully in the moment.

Emotional reactivity. Do you find yourself getting easily triggered or reactive in response to everyday stressors, minor disagreements or life events? If so, your fight or flight response may be on high alert, making it difficult to respond calmly and rationally to situations. This can hinder our relationships and create life outcomes that hold us back.

Physical symptoms. When your fight or flight response is constantly activated, it can show up in your body as physical symptoms. You may experience physical symptoms such as headaches, muscle tension, or other physical symptoms.

Since this response system is an unconscious process, the first step to taking control back is to practice mindful awareness. 

The 5- step Rise 2 Realize POWER Process and the awareness tools we often discuss are powerfully effective in this process. Use the power of observation to notice when you’re feeling anxious or triggered. By paying attention to your bodily sensations, thoughts, and behavior, you can start to recognize when this response is being triggered and create space to effectively manage it.

Our fight or flight response is a necessary part of our subconscious survival mechanism, but it doesn’t have to control our lives. And when you learn how to tune into its signals with more presence and curiosity, you can start to take control back from your subconscious mind, and start making more conscious choices to create a happier and more fulfilling life.


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