Stress, Fear and 'fight or flight'

Stress and fear and fight or flight...how the bodies red alert signal, signals trouble.

Imagine...

You take the short cut through the quiet back road, you’ve done it a hundred times before but now it’s dark with no street lamps. Suddenly you realize someone is coming up behind you....

In that moment something amazing happens in your body:

Within seconds the body releases stress hormones which act as a ‘red alert’ signal  kicking things into action. You might take a big inhalation of breath... a gasp of fear...this is the body getting more oxygen to the lungs.

Your heart rate speeds up, blood rushes away from your tummy and internal        organs (giving you that peculiar butterfly sensation).

Blood and oxygen are diverted to the muscles in your arms and legs, which stiffen and tremble ready for immediate action.

Your body ramps up the blood glucose, shooting you full of ‘sugar’ equivalent to a bucket full of Red Bull!

Your awareness intensifies, pupils dilate, eyes widen and sight sharpens...you become aware of the slightest sound.

Any pains disappears (those new shoe blisters you’ve been complaining about all   night aren’t hurting now) and, for guys, their balls can draw up into the abdomen for safe keeping.

In a rather embarrassing aside and depending on how threatened you feel, you can vomit with fear...wet yourself and the other..The expression:  I was so frightened I crapped myself, isn’t just a turn of phrase, it’s the body's way of getting rid of any unnecessary stuff that will weigh it down.


In fact it’s just a guy running after you with your purse you dropped on the street,

No threat at all

but it takes a good ten minutes to feel near normal again, all the excess adrenalin and cortisol has to work through your system draining the body and mind as it does.

This ‘fight or flight’ response, an essential part of life; it evolved to keep us alive, Your whole system is primed to deal with the threat either by legging it- running away as fast as you can or, alternatively, fighting your way to safety.

Everyone feels stressed, frightened and anxious at times, It is a normal and natural response to threat and danger.

It is also the underlying cause of many of our negative responses to modern day strife;  particularly stress, fear and anxiety.


Millions of years ago...

when interior design meant a shade of grey that went best with your style of cave;

the food you ate was always organic, only came in one flavour (mammoth)

and a leather bikini was the option of choice for a smart girl on the go,

...Then, the skill  to react fast  threats made the important difference between eating lunch and being lunch!

Faced with a sabre toothed tiger there was no time to think...Oh dear he looks hungry,

You’d be dead already, that’s why the fantastic  unconscious mind who is much faster at reacting, takes charge and hopefully keeps you alive at least  for another day.

But our 'fight or flight’ response was designed for short bursts, it’s like we get temporary super powers.

They can aid us in an emergency,

but they come at a price and are not for everyday use.

Long term they cause damage to the body and mind.  


Most of us, Smart girls included, say

Yes I'm slightly stressed, moderately fearful or just a little bit anxious

and that maybe true; but  these constant pressures wear us down.

We don't always recognize we have a problem because it feels so normal, so familiar.

In fact we believe it’s an inevitable part of life

But constant stress, fear and anxiety is not normal and it’s not Smart.

Lots of everyday scenarios  might come under the ‘threat’ status and causes the body to react in negative way with the fight and flight response; 


  • Having to squeeze on to an overcrowded bus or train
  • An imminent exam or appraisal,
  • That all important family gathering
  • The problems your boyfriend is having
  • Loss of someone through death or relationship breakdown
  • The thought of getting on a plane
  • Chatting to the cute guy at the bar
  • The job interview
  • Arguments with friends
  • Losing or changing job  
  • Worrying about what others thinki of you 
  • Life changing event like getting married, having a baby, moving house

It may be normal to experience stress, fear and anxiety when faced with any of these situations but it’s not Smart.

And it's not healthy, check out the ways in which our natural  'fight and flight' survival response can wear down down our body and make us ill and unhappy. 


But all the negative symptoms of the fight and flight response can be greatly reduced,

check out hypnosis for stress to see how hypnosis is a technique to do this and listen free to one of my relaxing hypnosis audios for easy stress relief.

Hypnosis can help our body to react to everyday situations without turning on the  'fight or flight' response but react, when appropriate, with calm and claret, meeting the everyday in a Smart way.



If you are feeling deeply unhappy, desperate or out-of-control, Hypnosis 4 smart girls is not what you need at this time. Don't suffer in silence, speak to someone; trusted friend, colleague, family member or G.P. However bleak things seem, help is out there for you so please keep looking. Click here for suggestions of where to start.

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Don't Get Scared: Get Smart!


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