Christian Stress Release

What Is Stress Really – Fight, Flight, Freeze (Part 4)

Woman in a panic screaming. High stress can include the survival states of fight, flight and freeze.

Have you ever suffered from a panic or anxiety attack, or depressive incident? These are the states of Fight, Flight and Freeze.

The Science of Stress

Have you ever had a panic or anxiety attack? That crippling state leaves you helpless, trapped and convinced the world around you must stop in order to be ok. This is the high stress state of Fight, Flight or Freeze.

Fight, Flight, Freeze

Parts of your brain are constantly scanning your surroundings trying to determine if you’re safe or not. When they sense that you’re safe (whether physically, mentally, emotionally or spiritually), they put you in the state of Rest & Digest. When they determine that you’re not safe and need to protect yourself against danger (whether physically, mentally, emotionally or spiritually), they put you in the state of Fight, Flight or Freeze.

 

These 3 states keep you alive against satan’s evil in this world. They’re your survival mode.

 

While we often call these panic or anxiety attacks, and shame them, they’re actually God’s perfect design to protect you in this fallen world. When you’re in survival mode, your brain and body are actually in their proper state to help you survive danger. It’s just satan’s manipulation of these states when you’re safe, that leave you drowning in panic or anxiety.

Fight

When your brain senses that you are not safe, and the best way to survive is to beat your opponent, you’re in the state of Fight.

 

Physically, this is where your nervous system revs up with enough cortisol and adrenaline to fight and win against the danger. In this state you might have the desire to punch or kick things, or even cause real harm to the person in front of you. (This is where the desire to kill people comes from, in a psychological sense).

 

Emotionally, you’re filled with anger and rage. Jesus refers to this when He speaks of the root of murder, advising the disciples not to call their enemies ‘Raca’.

Woman with boxing gloves set up to fight. The high stress state of Fight is God's design for us to fight an opponent when we're in danger, and survive.

In this state you’ll often pick fights with people around you verbally (or physically). You’ll insult others, blame them for your problems, or mistreat them. Your brain will think you’re in danger and must fight to survive, so you will.

 

As women this is most often verbal and emotional fighting; with men it’s more often physical.

Woman running. The high stress state of Flight is God's design for us to run away from an opponent when we're in danger, and survive.

Flight

When your brain senses that you are not safe, and the best way to survive is to leave or run away, you’re in the state of Flight.

 

Physically, this is where your nervous system revs you up with enough cortisol and adrenaline to run and outrun danger. You’ll have the desire to run or walk quickly, usually in a panicked sense.

 

Emotionally, you’re filled with fear, panic and anxiousness.

 

In this state, you’ll often avoid certain situations or people. You’ll make excuses for why you can’t go to things or commit to responsibilities. Sometimes you’ll create roadblocks for yourself, in what we call self-sabotage, because your brain doesn’t find these situations safe. Frequently you’ll hide from the things you’re scared of, maybe even the world around you.

Freeze

When your brain senses that you are not safe, and it is not safe to Fight or Flee, you’re in the state of Freeze.

 

Physically, this is where your nervous system revs you up with enough cortisol and adrenaline to fight or run danger. But then it immediately determines that you wouldn’t win in a fight against, or a chase with, the danger. So, it freezes and puts you in a physical and/or mental state of paralysis.

 

This leaves you immobilized, meaning you can’t seem to do anything. You can’t get yourself to get off the couch, text that person back, sign-up for that event or leave your house. You’re stuck and incapable of doing the thing you need to do.

Woman with hand over her mouth and scared eyes.

Emotionally, in this state, you’re shutdown, numb and detached. You don’t connect with the positive emotions you usually feel about these things in your life. You may even be detached from the negative emotions as well, not feel anything at all.

 

This state can bring a few different outcomes to your behaviors. Sometimes you’ll justify and rationalize not doing the things you need to, avoiding them out of numbness. Sometimes you’ll comply with what others tell you to do, because you can’t think for yourself in the moment.

 

You can become robotic, going through the motions without thinking or feeling anything. Sometimes you’re so detached from the world around you, you can’t even seem to be in it. This is where depression lives.

How Do You Come Out of These States of Fight, Flight and Freeze?

The first step to coming out of the state of Fight, Flight or Freeze is awareness. Become aware that you are in this high stress state that is causing anxiety, panic or depression.

 

Once you’re aware that you’re in survival mode, you can begin to get yourself the right help to come down out of it.

On-Demand Help (Turn Off Your Stress)

To turn off your stress response in the present moment, you need mental health techniques designed for stress. These techniques speak to your survival brain, helping it realize that you’re safe and don’t need to be in Fight, Flight or Freeze.

 

The Membership has a wide variety of these techniques, guided generically on camera, so that you can have access to them 24/7. They’ll safely and gently guide you out of these states of survival mode, back into the present moment (the state of Rest & Digest, also known as peace).

One-on-One Help (Heal Your Stress)

Healing the root causes of your stress removes the triggers that keep putting you in survival mode in the first place. To do this, you need to work on-on-one with a  trained mental health practitioner (either a therapist or trauma coach).

 

You can find Practitioner Directories for both therapists and trauma coaches here.

I’m praying for God to help you find the right help for you to find peace in your mind and body.

 

You deserve that

   – L aura

Want Laura On Your Blog?

Hey Beautiful Lady,

I’m currently moving across the country and unable to give the weekly podcast, blog and newsletter emails the attention they need and deserve. As such, I’m postponing them until Tuesday (6/4). If you need help healing, you can find links for Practitioners here. I’m praying for you 🤍

Laura