Saturday, January 2, 2016

Fight or Flight Part 2

A freezing reaction is accompanied by a hormonal surge that helps one to mobilize energy and to focus one’s attention. Unfortunately, in highly stressful situations, these secretions can be excessive and create impediments in making the best choices. In 1996 at the Summer Olympics in Atlanta, Georgia, there was a video of a bombing that captured the freezing concept. After the bomb went off, many people froze and then some began to try to escape or run. As a result, there is significant variability in the human response to danger. Sometimes freezing is brief and sometimes it persists for longer periods of time. It’s believed that this variability is based on the particular situation, as well as an individual predisposition. Some people have the ability to think through a stressful situation or to be more motivated by it, and therefor will be more ready, to run, hide or flight. For others, additional assistance is definitely needed. Let’s hypothesize, that you’re armed and in a dangerous situation. Someone begins shooting in your direction. Do you know for sure, that you’re going to quickly retrieve your weapon and shoot back, as opposed to freezing? If you’re going to freeze, that armed gun of yours might result in placing you at a serious disadvantage. If that’s the case, it won’t matter how many guns or bullets you have. Consider, a relearning program. Hopefully, you can retrain your amygdala [per psychological training] to cognitively reappraise dangerous situations in order to not dampen your neural pathways. And more importantly, replace them through learning with better adaptability strategies. The idea is that if you can cut off a few seconds off freezing, it might result in the difference between life and death. Be smart, don’t purchase more weapons and ammunition. Instead, spend the money on understanding how your brain deals with fear and anxiety. Further, as Selye says, think about adaptation strategies to increase your odds of survival. Ralph Waldo Emerson has it right when he said “fear defeats more people than any other one thing the world.”

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