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FIGHT OR FLIGHT TRIGGER RESPONSE ON MIND/BODY

Updated: Jun 12, 2021

When you are in survival mode, "FIGHT OR FLIGHT" responses are signaling in your brain and transmitting neurons to respond in a defensive metabolic way.


  1. Nervous system turns on flight or flight in the amygdala (emotional response center)

  2. The neocortex associates the image in the external world with the image printed in the brain (trigger)

  3. Mind feels external threat from your fear (The amygdala sends a distress signal to the hypothalamus, which is the command center and communicates through the nervous system to the rest of the body)

  4. The brain sends a signal to the limbic part of the brain which is for survival response

  5. That sends electro chemical signals down the spinal cord and it turns on the adrenal gland (Adrenal Gland - produces hormones that help regulate your metabolism, immune system, blood pressure, response to stress and other essential functions.)

  6. The adrenal glade releases a certain amount of adrenaline

  7. The moment adrenaline is released its physiological change that happens within your body.

  8. Your mind/body go into survival mode (pupils dilate, salivary glands shut down because it's not time to eat, heart rate increases, respiratory increases and blood is sent to your extremities.

  9. Now you're in survival mode and your body isn't functioning in a peaceful, healthy state.

  10. You are triggered and your brain tries to predict what will happen in that present and future moment, based on past memory of that feeling. (anxiety, OCD, depression)

THAT - is how you stay stuck in your negative emotions and unhealthy pattern physiologically.


You have to RE-TRAIN your brain to perceive events differently, so your response won't be survival mode when it is not necessary.


Francis Crick’s 1994 book, The Astonishing Hypothesis: The Scientific Search for the Soul, he wrote the following oft-quoted passage:

“‘You’, your joys and your sorrows, your memories and your ambitions, your sense of personal identity and free will, are in fact no more than the behavior of a vast assembly of nerve cells and their associated molecules.”

When your body feels stress and constantly as if it is in survival mode, you don't produce hormones or chemicals within your body properly. You do not digest or absorb nutrients correctly. Your body responds to everything as a threat. Your immune system, digestive system and cardiovascular system don't function healthy.


Your mind doesn't always know the difference between reality and imagination. It’s not just our memories that influence our imagination, but our imaginations can also influence how we remember our reality. The body responses to the memory we keep mentally. That is why imagination can nourish a person to become more creative or intrusive memories can debilitate those with PTSD. They are not presently living in that moment of the memory but their mind and body think/feel as though they are re-living it.


There is a book called, The Body Keeps The Score" and it is one of the most informative and powerful books you can read to learn how the body hold trauma and due to that, it mentally and physically effects us.



Reference: https://www.health.harvard.edu/staying-healthy/understanding-the-stress-response

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