There are a lot of things that happen in your body when you encounter a threat. Thousands of years ago, our ancestors had to contend with wild animals that wanted to eat them, threats from other people, and many other things that could kill them in the wild. Today, we still have the same response to threats. Usually this is referred to as the “fight or flight response”| but there are also a few other ways our bodies respond to threats, such as ‘freeze”, “flop”, or “fawn”.
What is actually happening in your body during the fight or flight response? Usher Khan is a medical assistant and registered orthopedic tech with a B.S. in Neuroscience. He is also a dedicated science tutor. Today he explains the internal process of the fight or flight response.
It is important to understand that the fight or flight response is automatic, meaning you have no control over it. Your nervous system is automatically preparing your body to either fight off a threat or run away from it. During this response you can experience the following symptoms:
- Dilation of blood vessels.
- Increase of blood flow to major muscles, while blood flow to non-essential parts of the body is reduced.
- Increased heart rate and blood pressure.
- Rapid breathing.
- Pale skin.
- Dilation of pupils.
- You may not feel pain until you have returned to baseline.
- Heightened senses.