Updated: Sep 14
How do you stop the fight or flight fear response from controlling you?
What is Fear?
Fear an unpleasant emotion for many that is caused by the belief that someone or something is dangerous and likely to cause pain or a threat. Fear is the most powerful of all emotions. Fear can overcome even the strongest parts of our intelligence.
Fear kills more dreams than failure ever will.” - Suzy Kassem
In this article, we will cover the following.
How do I overcome my fear of street fights?
How do you overcome your fear?
How can I reduce my inner fear?
Fight or Flight and Freeze Response
Does fear serve a very important role? What is it for? Fear helps protect human beings by alerting us to danger and prepares us to deal with it. Feeling afraid is very natural — and helpful — in many situations. Fear can be a signal that cautions us to be careful. Everyone instinctively responds to fear and stress situations differently
Some individual's reaction is to attack the immediate thereat and flip the switch from friendly to the enemy without flinching.
Other people take off and run while others "freeze" completely and metaphorically go into their foxhole until the barrage is over and it's safe to come out.
What Are the Fight, Flight, and Freeze Reactions?
The fight or flight and freeze response to acute stress is an automatic reaction that takes over when humans come under a form of distress.
The distress could be from a sudden rush of emotion, like fear, or a modern-day psychological threat like public speaking.
It is a rush of hormones that are triggered by your brain, to activate a series of reactions, which is intended to help you perform better. Commonly referred to as the adrenaline dump it's your primal and natural response to intense fear.
What Are The Top Signs of Fear and Stress?
Many different signs show up when the response kicks in and it varies from person to person. Here are a few:
Your, pupils, may get dilated to allow for more light to enter the eyes, and that makes for better vision. Improved vision helps you see attacks more easily and be more vigilant of your environment.
Increases stamina and strength. Your heart rate and rate of breathing increases to rush more energy and oxygen to strengthen the muscles and brain function.
Injury resentence. You might become pale or flushed due to the increase of blood flowing through your body, . This response also improves your blood clotting ability to help prevent blood loss in the event of injury.
Shaking or trembling is seen as a bad response, but it means that your muscles are being stimulated for action!
Hyper Sensitive Startle Flinch. Hypersensitivity is controlled by the subconscious mind. During stress, some odors might draw your attention, colors and lights might trigger emotions and the slightest touch on your skin can make you react.
Increase pain tolerance. I didn't feel a thing! It's a common response from people after trauma that they only started to feel the pain after the confrontation? It can be of great advantage when faced with a life-or-death situation.
Memory Fade: You might remember things clearly, partially, or nothing at all!
Sometimes your body wants to get rid of extra weight or unnecessary tension. People have urinated themselves and worst. Don't worry its normal.
So we are saying we can have the following benefits what are we sacrificing? Let's take a look;
Physical fight or flight fear response:
Trembling - Facial twitches “grimacing”
Major muscle tension
Dry mouth & throat
Increase in blood pressure
Increase pulse rate
Stomach & bladder stops functioning
Mental fight or flight fear response:
The subconscious mind takes over “instinct”
A dramatic decline in conscious logical thinking
Loss of concentration
Highly tensed and emotional
Rapid brain function
Visual fight or flight fear response:
Blurred or magnified vision
Loss of vision
Auditory fight or flight fear response:
Hearing is blocked or dampened
Mental fight or flight fear response:
Heightened fear, anger, resentment & anxiety, etc.
Increased cultural sensitivity
Reaction due to social conditioning more evident
Physical fight or flight fear response:
“Freezing” - denial
The decline in fine motor control
Defecating, urinating, and nausea
Lack of reality perception
Mental Memory Flashes
Can it be controlled or re-trained?
We tend to exaggerate our abilities under normal conditions, and when suddenly met with aggression or stressors, the lack of control is visible. For some, they may be either overly aggressive in non-life-threatening situations, such as someone simply wanting to frighten you, and others might be too docile when it's time to be more aggressive, like when facing a life or death situation.
Training Prior- Gradually progressive desensitization through training. Desensitization is a treatment or process that diminishes emotional responsiveness to a negative, aversive, or positive stimulus after repeated exposure to it. It helps in all areas of your life.
Accept fear as what it is, a natural response, and not a moral failing.
Controlling your breathing beforehand
Fight or flight and freeze response is a primal and important reaction that takes-over automatically.
Not understanding or controlling fear could make you more stressy. Your brain may be having a hard time differentiating life-threatening and non-life-threatening situations. Obviously many of us run our minds and bodies under a constant state of stress needlessly which causes other problems.
Educate Your Flight or Flight and Freeze Response
You will also be unable to recognize a real life-threatening situation when it calls for reaction from your flight or flight and freeze response. You need to learn more about yourself, both mentally and physically.
Learn what triggers your for fight or flight response? The activities described in this article can help you minimize the overwhelming emotion and what allows you to respond more preferably the next time the trigger appears.
It may be more sensible for you to hand over your possessions when confronted. You may need to put up the fight of your life in other situations.
Anaerobic or aerobic fitness can decrease stress overall, by improving heart-rate, better sleep, and increasing endorphins. Practical training, such as first-aid and some types of martial arts can greatly improve the way you react under stress.
You might find that spending time with friends, family members or your significant other reduces your stress levels. Social support is proven to be very helpful to reduce stress.
How to Manage Fear in Violent Self Defense Situations reduce the less than ideal responses and improve performance. pressure testing using SBL scenario-based learning can introduce behavioral, emotional, and psychological elements into training through the use of scenario replication.
How Accepting Fear and Can Controlling Benefit You
It might not seem so significant to try and improve your stress reactions and take more control over your natural responses such and not let the fight or flight and freeze response run amuck.
Getting more comfortable with fear can certainly help improve your reaction time, and help your decision making when you need to think and act fast. It also allows you to think more logically regarding whether you determine it is much better to run or to stand your ground.
Studying your own body and its natural responses are interesting and can improve your skillsets infinitely!
More How To Resources on How to Overcome Fear In Self Defense
The Gift of Fear Book by Gavin de Becker
The Talent Code by Daniel Coyle
More Self Defence Resources Skills & Tradecraft
About AxxNox Self Defence Skills and Tradecraft Magazine
AxxNox self-defense www.AxxNox.com magazine focuses on self-defense industry, education, news coverage, article stories. AxxNox represents numerous thought leaders and subject matter experts from a wide range of backgrounds. Our goal is to provide evidence-based analysis that can help men and women avoid and respond to a real-life crisis. The online magazine creates, curates, and reviews various types of self-defense skills and tradecraft. Education, techniques, and tips are delivered in quick how-to guides and videos.
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