The ‘fight or flight’ response is our body’s automatic, inborn response to danger which prepares the body to “fight” or “flee” when faced with a perceived threat to our survival. It is a physiological response initiated by the sympathetic nervous system which maximises our ability to survive by mobilising us to fight or flee.
When our “fight or flight”response is activated, our body releases adrenaline , noradrenaline and cortisol (the ‘stress hormones’) into the bloodstream. These stress hormones cause a series of changes in the body, including:
Together, these physiological changes prepare our body to fight or flee in order to survive a dangerous situation.
These changes, in turn, can bring about additional changes in the body, such as reddening of the skin, dry mouth, difficulty speaking / shaky voice, “butterflies” in the stomach ( as a result of blood being diverted away from the digestive organs to the skeletal muscles) and sweating in the palms of the hands, soles of the feet and armpits.