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To Fight or Not to Fight in A Stressful Situation

Have you ever experienced a stressful situation? What was your reaction? How did you respond to the situation? In times of stress, there is one thing that helps you react to the situation. This is called the fight or flight response. This response is a normal reaction to a certain situation. Once the brain perceives something as dangerous or threatening, this happens. When you are placed in a dangerous situation, the brain releases hormones that helps you decide whether to flee or face the situation.

What happens to your body?

When you are in a stressful situation, sympathetic response occurs. Here are some of the responses your body undergoes.

  • Sharpening of the senses
  • Dilatation of pupils
  • Increased heart rate
  • Increased respiratory rate
  • Increased jitteriness
  • Increased anxiety
  • Flushing of the face
  • Dry mouth
  • Cold and clammy skin

Fight and flight responses happen in situations like being nervous due to an upcoming event in a person’s life like singing in front of a huge crowd, delivering a speech in front of the entire university or when a robber points a gun on your side to get what he wants.

What can you do to overcome this situation?

There are several ways to help in the reduction of anxiety in a stressful situation. Listed below are some of the techniques to calm you when placed in this kind of situation.

  • Focus on your breathing
    • Transfer to a quieter place and make yourself comfortable.
    • If music is available, try listening to relaxing and soothing sounds. This will help you calm down and focus on the regulation of your breathing.
    • Close your eyes and concentrate on the flow of air that enters and leaves your lungs.
    • Do some deep breathing exercises. Inhale some air and hold for two to three seconds, then slowly release the air inside your lungs.
    • Repeat the breathing exercises until you become calm and less jittery.
    • Reduce flushing
      • Relax and calm yourself by concentrating on your breathing. Do some breathing exercises several times until you calm down.
      • Place your hands under cool, running water. This will help improve blood flow and circulation.
      • Place your palms on your cheeks and forehead and let it stay for a while.
      • Repeat the process until your cheeks return to their normal color and they become cooler.
      • Minimize dry mouth
        • Sip some water. Make sure you take only a small amount.
        • In the second time around, take a sip of water, but before swallowing it spin it around your mouth to moisten the other parts of your mouth.
        • Place a bottle of water near you and take a few sips from time to time. This will help minimize dryness of your mouth.
        • You may also want to chew some gum to increase salivation and minimize drying of the mouth.

Take note: if you experience severe manifestations, seek medical help immediately.

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