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Understanding Stress Responses: Fight, Flight, Freeze, and Faun.

On the rollercoaster that we call life, we all encounter the thrills and spills of emotions, and one thing we’re all likely to encounter at some point is stress. It's like an uninvited guest that shows up, sometimes when we least expect it. But did you know that our bodies have some pretty interesting ways of dealing with stress? Below I outline the different stress responses.


1. Fight 💥

Imagine your favourite superhero - strong, courageous, and ready to take on any challenge. That's the "fight" response. When stress hits, your body can go into warrior mode. It's characterised by increased heart rate, heightened alertness, and a surge of adrenaline. You might feel agitated or aggressive. Early detection signs include irritability, restlessness, and a desire to confront the source of stress head-on. It's your body saying, "I've got this!"


2. Flight ✈️

Now picture a gazelle sprinting away from a lion. That's the "flight" response. When the stress feels overwhelming, your body wants to escape. Heart rate accelerates, and your muscles tense up, preparing you for quick action. You might experience racing thoughts, avoidance behaviour, and even panic. Early signs include the urge to flee or avoid stressful situations.


3. Freeze ❄️

Think of a deer caught in headlights. That's the "freeze" response. When stress is too much to handle, your body might go still, almost like pressing pause. Heart rate and breathing slow down, and muscles become tense. You may feel numb, overwhelmed, or even disconnected from reality. Early detection signs include feeling paralyzed, helpless, or unable to respond to people and situations.


4. Faun 🦌

The "faun" response is like trying to appease a predator. It's a less-known response, but equally important. You might find yourself trying to be overly agreeable, compliant, or seeking to please others. It's an attempt to avoid danger by being non-threatening. Early signs include excessive people-pleasing, difficulty setting boundaries, and neglecting your own needs.


So, why is it crucial to understand these responses? Because recognising how your body reacts to stress is the first step in managing it effectively. Everyone's stress response is unique, and it can vary depending on the situation. Being aware of your own reactions and those of the people around you can help you provide support and seek help when needed.


Remember, experiencing stress is entirely normal, and these responses are your body's way of trying to protect you. But when stress becomes chronic or overwhelming, it's essential to seek help from professionals, friends, or family.


Knowledge is power, and understanding your stress responses is a fantastic tool to navigate the ups and downs of life.


To find out more about how TRE® (Tension & Trauma Release Exercises) can help with managing stress, please click here.


To find out about my latest events which can help with dealing with stress, please click here.

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