3 Powerful Ways to Calm the Flight Or Fight Response

Overcome Your Fears and Calm

What if you experience fight or flight responses in everyday situations? Perhaps you have post-traumatic stress disorder, social anxiety disorder, specific phobias, or another type of anxiety disorder. In these instances, your fight or flight response gets triggered when there isn’t any imminent danger. Here are 3 powerful ways you can overcome your fears and calm that automatic response so you can function normally again.

Breathing Exercises

One of the best ways to calm the fight or flight response is through breathing exercises. By controlling your breathing, you can activate your parasympathetic nervous system, which is the part of your nervous system responsible for relaxing your body. There are many types of breathing exercises you can try out, including:

  • Centering breaths: As each breath enters your body, imagine it bringing positive energy and strength into your body. As each breath leaves your body, imagine that all your thoughts and worries are leaving with it.
  • Imagery: During this exercise, you imagine yourself in a peaceful or calm situation. Alternatively, you can imagine yourself in a situation where you felt safe and secure in the past.
  • Meditation: There are many different types of meditation that you can try out, such as mindfulness meditation, Zen meditation, or breath meditation.
  • Progressive muscle relaxation: During this exercise, you focus on each group of muscles in your body as they relax. By doing so, you can help all your muscles relax, including the ones that are associated with anxiety.
  • Visualization with breathing: To do this exercise, begin by focusing on your breath as you slowly visualize yourself in a safe, peaceful situation. Next, focus on each muscle in your body as it relaxes, including the ones in your face and around your eyes. 

Exposure Therapy 

Exposure therapy, or exposure-based therapy, is a type of therapy that can help you overcome your fears. There are several types of exposure therapy you can try out, including: 

  • Interoceptive exposure: This type of exposure therapy involves practicing mindful breathing and being mindful of your heart rate and blood pressure to help reduce your anxiety. 
  • In vivo exposure: This type of exposure therapy involves directly facing your fears and experiences that trigger your anxiety or fears. For example, if public speaking triggers your fears, you could sign up to give a speech at your school or workplace. 
  • Virtual reality exposure: This type of exposure therapy involves facing your fears through virtual reality. You can use VR headsets, apps, or other technology to face your fears, such as heights, flying, public speaking, spiders, or other anxiety trigger. 
  • Inoculation therapy: This type of exposure therapy is for people who have recurring fears and anxiety. With this type of therapy, you slowly expose yourself to your fears in a safe environment and use positive affirmations to reframe your fears. 

Mindfulness Practices 

Mindfulness practices can help you calm your fight or flight response. There are different types of mindfulness exercises to see what works best for you. For example, you can do body scans. During this exercise, you focus on each part of your body, one section at a time. You can do this while sitting, lying down, or going for a walk.

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