Survival Instincts: Fight, Flight or Freeze

When stressful moments occur in one’s life, the three responses are fight-flight-freeze. Everyone reacts differently to trauma. The brain sends out signals to the victim to fight back, flee the scene or freeze up with no response.

The limbic system is a built-in alarm system in the brain that signals when possible danger occurs. There are three primary ways we respond to danger: FIGHT back, run away (FLIGHT), or FREEZE. What we choose to do often depends on the type of danger and, or personal past experiences.

Here is an example of each Response:

You are at the local park with your children when you notice a stranger approach your youngest child. You react by quickly running to your child while demanding the stranger to leave your child alone or else. That’s your FIGHT response.

Someone close to you is in a rage of anger. They come at you with a knife in hand making threats to your well-being. You automatically run for safety. That’s your FLIGHT response.

You walk upon a snake and you automatically stop because you know if you move any further it may trigger the snake to strike. That’s your FREEZE response.

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