Stress: A Fight or Flight Response
When you find yourself in a threatening situation---such as when a car suddenly cuts you off in traffic---your body responds with physical, mental and emotional changes. You may notice that your heart races, your mouth gets dry or your skin becomes clammy. This is called a “fight or flight” response. Your body’s immediate and natural response is to re-direct blood flow to deliver more oxygen to your arms and legs, speed up your digestion, and release a variety of hormones such as adrenalin. These changes are designed to protect you and to give you the energy you need to respond, physically and emotionally, to the situation that you are facing. But when a “flight of flight” response is prolonged or when it occurs frequently in response to everyday demands and events, this protective energizing response can have negative effects and result in stress and anxiety.
Your body is not designed to endure ongoing stress. Having your body continually “on alert” can have harmful consequences, including:
•Physical: headache, tight muscles, sleep problems, dry mouth •Emotional: sadness, fear, anger confusion
•Mental: increased anxiety, depression, eating problems