Are You in Fight-or-Flight Mode All Day?

Published October 24th, 2019 by Craig Kaler


Are you in fight-or-flight mode all day? 

Any stressful incident can make your heart pound, your breath shorten, your jaw clench, and your muscles tense up.

A combination of reactions to stress is known as the "fight-or-flight" response. It’s there to save your life.

How much do you have going on in your life right now?

Any stressful situation in the office, with your kids, with your partner, etc., can trigger a cascade of stress hormones that produce well-orchestrated physiological changes in your body. Even though it’s designed to fight the threat or flee to safety, it can also cause the body to overreact to stressors that are not life threatening: traffic, stress at the office, and your family to name just a few.

Over the years, researchers have learned not only how and why these reactions occur, but have also gained insight into the long-term effects chronic stress has on physical and psychological health. Over time, repeated activation of the stress response takes a toll on the body. Research suggests that chronic stress contributes to high blood pressure, promotes the formation of artery-clogging deposits, and causes brain changes that may contribute to anxiety, depression, and addiction. Other research also suggests that chronic stress may also contribute to obesity, both through direct mechanisms (causing people to eat more) or indirectly (decreasing sleep and exercise).

When someone experiences a stressful event, the amygdala, an area of the brain that contributes to emotional processing, sends a distress signal to the hypothalamus. The hypothalamus functions like a command center, communicating with the rest of the body through the autonomic nervous system (ANS) so that the person has the energy to fight or flee.

The ANS controls such involuntary body functions as breathing, blood pressure, heartbeat, and the dilation or constriction of key blood vessels and small airways in the lungs called bronchioles. This is how chronic stress affects every function in your body, potentially leading to premature aging and death. Your body virtually burns itself out way to soon.

Three tips to stop this from happening to you:

1) Instead of starting your day on someone else’s agenda, start every day on your terms! Rather than grabbing your phone while still in bed take 15 minutes or longer and nourish your soul, through a short meditation or inspirational reading. Jumping on life’s daily treadmill by responding to emails or getting your kids ready for school without taking care of your needs first can put you into “fight-or-flight” all day. Taking some alone time to set your intention for the day set you on into a “frontal-lobe” course the entire day. You only need 10-15 minutes!

2) Get up and exercise before you start the daily grind.

-Morning exercise has been proven to boost your mental and physical    energy and shift you into a  “frontal lobe” mindset. The frontal lobe is where all executive decisions take place. In “ fight-or flight” you are in a “run and shoot offense” all day (for those of you that are not football enthusiasts, this means that you are reacting to what comes at you instead of charting your own course).

            -Morning workouts also help enhance your metabolism and to sleep better at the end of the day.

3) Take a vacation! Even a long, three-day weekend can make a huge difference. Get out of your zip code and shut down.

4) Go see your chiropractor and get adjusted! One of the benefits of having a chiropractic adjustment is that it can trigger the body's ability to heal. Moreover, it improves the communication between the brain and the rest of your body, reducing the chances of chemical imbalances such as mood swings, headaches, or lack of sleep.



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