Fight, Flight, Freeze’ Stress Response 

Fight, Flight, Freeze’ Stress Response 

Fight, Flight, Freeze’ Stress Response 

The fight, flight, freeze stress response is the body’s reaction towards something that it perceives physically and mentally terrifying. You might have experienced moments like this in your life too. However, not all such stimulation falls under that category. Through this blog, we shall remove the mysteries shrouding this phenomenon and how you can overcome it. 


The phrase ‘fight or flight’ portrays the selective choices that animals have in the face of danger. You can either fight it with all your strength, or you can run away from it. This instinct is engraved in all living beings and is a great tool to combat stress. This response becomes active when the body releases massive amounts of hormones. Consequently, it prepares the body for a huge challenge. 

American physiologist Mr. Walter Cannon is accredited with describing the fight or flight stress responseHis research concluded that through the chemical reactions occurring inside the body, it can efficiently utilize its resource. In addition, it helped the body to deal with life-altering circumstances.

Nowadays, the fight or flight response is a part of Hans Selye’s general adaptation syndrome.


When the body is under stress, the nervous system reaches overdrive. It releases hormones rapidly and works on the adrenal glands. Likewise, it releases catecholamines that consist of both adrenaline and non-adrenaline. When these functions are running inside the body, the heart rate, breathing rate, and blood pressure increase dramatically. This change subsides when the body believes that the threat is no more.

Normally, it takes at least 30 minutes for the body to heal from this stress response. You might have felt something like this in your life too. Some cases where the fight or flight response activates are:

  • Giving a speech in front of hundreds of people and you suddenly forget what you are about to say
  • When the teacher takes a test without prior notice
  • When you have to complete a game and time is running out
  • When you reach class just before the bell rings

These are some examples of cases where you can experience the fight or flight stress response. However, it is not limited to the above cases only!

fight, flight, freeze’ stress response


While there are hormonal changes going inside the body, on the other hand, there are physical changes underway too. The changes that once can see in this stress response are;

1. Fight 

  • Increased desire to kick, punch
  • An immense feeling of rage
  • Burning stomach
  • Crying 
  • Clenched jaw
  • Growling and snarling


  • Leg movements
  • Excessive breathing
  • Huge eyes
  • Restlessness
  • A feeling of being trapped
  • Anxious


  • Slow heart rate 
  • Restricted breathing
  • Pale skin
  • Feeling numb
  • Feeling stuck in time 
  • A feeling of heaviness and stiffness


The fight or flight stress response prepares your body to take action. In some cases, people perform better under pressure. This stress may prove a beneficial factor in helping you succeed. By transitioning into this stress response protocol, you can increase your chances of succeeding. 

On the contrary, not all fight or flight responses are helpful. For example, people suffering from phobias are at an extreme disadvantage. This response may activate when they get the notion that a threat might be there although it is not actually there. If the stress response goes into overdrive then it can lead to more serious complications.


You should understand that the stress response cannot be eradicated completely. However, you can reduce it to a certain extent. The methods to decrease them are:

  • Do not run after the idea of perfection. Accept this principle and observe as stress slowly melts away.
  • Observe situations through a neutral perspective.
  • Try to master breathing exercises
  • Develop hobbies
  • Accept life events. Good and bad. 

You can take part the stress management training in order to control such stress problems. Also, you can take live consultation, watch youtube channel of stress management professional, Read the article and blogs related ro stress or you can buy some popular books which helps to control and manage your stress and take you out from such stress responses.

You may like our post related to stress: Yoga poses for the stress relief, those techniques work for you to de-stress.