So often in the wellness world mental health is depicted as something that you just sit down and “work on” or practice throughout your journey. I am here to tell you that it is more complicated than that. Sorry about that! There are physiological responses that get in the way of trying to meditate, do breathwork, or think positive. Just “doing the work” looks and feels different for everyone and I want to explain why and how the fight, flight, and freeze response influences you.
Reasons your Fight, Flight, or Freeze Influences you
If you struggle with anxiety, stress, triggers, or have experienced any amount of trauma, your fight, flight, or freeze response can come online quicker than you would like even when there is no actual threat and here is why:
- It is trying to keep you safe from the “perceived threat”
- The body’s alarm system is located in the brain where we experience all emotions and memories
- Your brain sees higher tasks like logic and planning as nonessential when you are stressed or in a heightened state
This means that unless we are in a rest and digest state, it becomes nearly impossible for our brains to process and relax to do the tasks of meditation or breathwork.
Here is what these systems can look and feel like to you:
1. Fight – engage in arguments, feeling irritable, planning scenarios where the person has to fight, rage, anger, frustration
2. Flight – refusal to engage, reluctance to participate, passive communication styles, or people pleasing, panic, fear, anxiety, and worry and concern
3. Freeze – numbing behaviors, dissociation, shut down, trapped, or hopelessnes
I am sure you can identify which one your body defaults to when in stressful situations, but note that different situations or triggers can put you in fight, flight, or freeze. Not always just the same one. So what does this mean for you because I am sure (since your reading this) you care deeply about healing and your journey.
This means that we have to be patient and understanding of the process and give ourselves grace when we feel frustrated at our inability to meditate or “do the work” in some capacity right away.
Discipline and our want to just do it is often not enough when it comes to navigating healing. If this resonates with you and you are wanting more support, book a clarity call with me to find out how I can guide you further in your journey.
As always, thank you for saving room for me in your inbox and I look forward to connecting with you further. If you don’t already, follow me on Instagram where I share posts about all things psychology, self-care, and neuroscience.