Fight or Flight: Anxiety Reintroduced.

Anyone with anxiety will tell you it feels like an integral part of who they are and not something they brag about. Although it has its uses in helping us bond with our fellow anxiety sufferers, we want to learn how to cope with it and not let it destroy us. So after watching numerous videos and reading multiple articles, I’m here to tell you that your anxiety is lying to you! You are not actually getting chased by a wild animal like your “fight or flight” instincts want you to think. 

Lets get reintroduced to our own anxiety.

I think we should thank our anxiety for trying to watch out for our backs. Without it, the human race would probably have been extinct. Why? Anxiety is the offspring of our fight or flight response. With that knowledge we can now understand that when an anxiety attack hits, our heart rate and breathing intensifies. Our body wants to RUN. Except in today’s day and age, there are no lions around every corner. We have the comforts of our globalized modern world. However, whenever your anxiety hits it takes us back to those days of hunting and gathering. Our instincts saved us then, but it’s totally worthless to have the same instinct show up before a public speaking presentation or going on a first date. However, realizing that our anxiety stems from our body’s natural fight or flight response helps us know how to manage our anxiety.

If you are in the beginning stages of an anxiety attack, don’t run from the environment your experiencing anxiety in. Stay there. This will save you from identifying that certain location as a “danger zone.” Instead you can conquer that anxiety then and there. Saving yourself from future anxiety attacks.

So what do you do now that you are there having anxiety? You have some choices:

  1. Chew gum. Ever notice that your mouth gets dry when anxiety hits? Biologically, your body thinks you’re in danger and there is no way you would eat at such a time. So no need for salvia to help digest food. This is where we try to trick our body into calming down. If we chew gum and start salivating, our body thinks “oh you must not be in danger if you’re eating, we must be chill.” So then your body will calm down.
  2. Breath in, but mostly out. Breath in for 5 seconds, but then breath out 7 or 9 seconds. The key here is to breathe out more than you breathe in. Why? Just like sighing when you’re stressed out, your body is trying to calm down. Breathing out helps relax the muscles.
  3. Jog it out. If you’re already super hyped up, you gotta complete the battle. Fight or flight? Time to accomplish one of those, but not really. We are going to make the body think we accomplished one of those. Jog in place or do as many sit ups or push ups you can. Why? Once you’re all exercised, your body will relax because it will think it accomplished surviving the lion assault or whatever life or death situation our ancestor’s fight or flight instincts saved them from.

These tactics can help you manage your anxiety, but don’t forget to seek out therapy!

What has helped you manage anxiety? Comment below, lets all help each other out.

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Ashley Smith View All →

Mental health advocate with the motto “be the light you wish to see in the world.”

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