Whenever your brain perceives some type of danger, it activates your stress response, aka fight or flight response. It causes a physiological reaction felt as anxiety symptoms. This is a natural survival mechanism that occurs within a blink of an eye.
The type of danger that activates your stress response may be physical or psychological. And fight or flight response improves your focus, strength, stamina and alertness. These all get you ready to either stay and fight or flee.
Fight or flight response is critical for your survival. But it can be detrimental to your health as well.
This natural response becomes unfavorable when a perceived danger is ongoing or out of whack with reality. This natural stress response reaction creates a health issue when it overreacts or fails to turn off. Long lasting anxiety reaction depletes your hormonal reserve and weakens your immune system.
Danger activated fight or flight response increases the hormonal production of:
These hormones facilitate an immediate physical reaction that prepares you for powerful action. Body wide reactions involved in a stress response are:
- pupils dilate to improve vision
- non muscular vascular constriction
- gastrointestinal action is shut down
- sweat is produced to keep you cool
- muscle fed blood vessels open up to increase flow
- sped up heart rate, breathing, blood pressure, metabolism
- liver releases stored glucose for increased energy availability
All of these physical changes prepare you for a quick and effective reaction to whatever danger you’ve perceived, real or not. And the anxiety symptoms you may feel or notice as a result include:
These symptoms are caused by a rush of hormones for surviving a danger by fight or flight.
It’s natural for new, unfamiliar or challenging situations to prompt symptoms of anxiety or nervousness. However, it’s hard on your body systems when stressful situations produce a lasting, low-level stress.
- irritable & moody
- abuse alcohol, drugs
- anxiety, panic attacks
- episodes of sadness, depression
- feeling constantly pressured, hassled, hurried
- experience allergic reactions, eczema, asthma
- physical symptoms ~ digestive problems, headaches, chest pain
Post traumatic stress disorder (PTSD) is a very strong stress reaction that develops after an extremely traumatic event. And if you frequently feel tense, upset, worried or stressed, it may be a sign of an anxiety disorder.
Focused breathing and an optimistic attitude can help you trigger this anti-anxiety response. Exercise is a healthful way to combat anxiety symptoms too. Also, a healthy diet keeps your body ripe with appropriate nutrients to advantageously function and offset any stress response caused depletion.
Because anxiety makes you alert, focused and ready to fight off potential dangers, a little can help you do better in performance circumstances. Yet, too much of a stress response can interfere by making you feel overwhelmed.
Relax and breath!