As humans, we’re designed with our own powerful emergency system. The fight-flight-freeze response is our alarm system and automatic physiological survival mechanism. The body is designed to thrive under short periods of this emergency state. But, since the brain and body don’t know the difference between reality and imagination, the same chemicals that are produced when we are in physical danger – are also produced when we recall traumatic memories and feel negative emotions.
The Physiological Response of the Fight-Flight-Freeze State
When the brain registers a potential threat – whether that threat is real, or imagined; and whether that threat is physical, or emotional – the stress chemicals that are produced create a powerful response in the body:
- Blood is pumped away from the organs to the extremities (for running away or fighting)
- Digestion is halted
- The cells of the body go into protection mode – which means they are no longer receiving nutrients, and no longer in growth mode (which puts healing on hold)
- The prefrontal cortex of the brain (where we do our cognitive thinking: problem-solving; strategising; processing of information; communication; and other higher levels of thinking) – shuts down, since it’s not necessary for fighting, running away, or freezing
All of this is perfectly fine for short-term emergencies. However, when we are experiencing negative emotions frequently, the body is put into this state of emergency for longer periods of time. This means: the organs are not getting the blood flow they need; digestion is not working properly; cells are not receiving nutrients and the body is not able to recover or heal; and we are unable to think clearly, find solutions, and strategise effectively.
The Fight-Flight-Freeze Response and Disease
When the body is in a constant state of stress, the organs are not getting the blood flow they need – which means they’re not getting the oxygen they need. In addition to this, with digestion not working properly (because blood is constantly being redirected from the stomach and intestines to the extremities for fighting or running away) and the cells in protection mode (which means they’re taking in limited nutrients), you could be eating as healthily as you like… but if you’re living in a state of fight-flight-freeze, your body is not receiving the nutrients.
With the cells in protection mode instead of repair mode, healing is delayed until the “emergency” is over. However, if you are living in the fight-flight-freeze state, the “emergency” is never over, and that is why healing is hindered.
The Fight-Flight-Freeze Response Mental Ill Health and Chronic Illness
With the body in the state of emergency, you are on constant high-alert.
This can lead to:
- Lack of quality, restorative sleep (which, in turn can lead to depression)
- Anxiety, depression, diabetes, autoimmune and almost all chronic illness conditions (caused by the constant stimulation of stress hormones in the blood stream)
- An inability to process information effectively and think clearly (due to the prefrontal cortex of the brain being offline most of the time)
- A lack of nutrition and oxygen to the brain and gut, leading to a weakened immune system
FasterEFT is designed to reduce stress in the moment, as well as resolve the original cause of the stress in the first place – meaning the fight-flight-freeze response happens less frequently; and when it does occur, you’re able to recover from it much quicker. This means you’re able to keep your body and brain in a balanced, optimal state – allowing health and healing.
Using FasterEFT to change the original subconscious references that are causing the fight-flight-freeze response is the most powerful way to free yourself from stress. In addition to that, you can use the FasterEFT technique in the moment, to bring the stress hormones down, allowing your body to return to a calm, optimal state.
Being able to reduce the fight-flight-freeze response – and ensure that it is reserved for real emergencies, rather than a regular part of every-day life – is about more than just feeling better. It’s about physical, mental, and emotional health, as well as success and happiness in all areas of your life.
Watch this video with Dr Libby Weaver for a deeper understanding.