Human being are remarkably resilient to stress. We are expert copers and problem solvers. We cope through moments of pleasure, peace and fulfillment. We also cope by sharing love and receiving encouragement and support from family and friends.

Stress, trauma, panic attacks and anxiety can usually be traced back to the central nervous system. In particular the fight or flight respomse is a defense mechanism that is a response to a real or even a perceived danger. The fight or flight response is a universal and primitive defense strategy. If a situation calls for aggression, a threatened creature or in ancient times a person will fight. If the threatened animal determines they will likely loose the fight the threatened creature or person living in ancient times would run. These choices are not thought out they are instinctual. This is a basic defense mechanism to stay alive.

What happens when we are in situations when the fight or flight response is building up in us, but we feel the it is socially unacceptable to run or fight. Besides it wouldn’t solve the problem anyways. Our blood pressure is rising, our heart is pounding, our muscles are tense, and our stomach has a knot in it. This is the point when we are strained and pushed beyond our limits we render ourselves unable to adapt or cope with the stress.

What happens is we internalize the stress reaction we don’t get the resolution that fighting or running gives us. We don’t peak freeze make a decision then run or fight to discharge this built up anxiety, fear and heightened arousal. This energy stays trapped in our bodies; consequently, this energy causes destruction in our bodies. In a lot of cases this hyper arousal is the root cause as to why we stay trapped in stress reactivity.

I will elaborate more on this topic in part 2.